16 Lunch Box Ideas for Preschoolers (No Reheating)

Lunch box ideas for preschoolers should be nutritious, appealing, and easy for little ones to eat independently. Consider including a variety of food groups to ensure a balanced meal. When I am packing my toddler’s lunch box, or any meal for that matter, I make sure to have at least one item from these main groups:

  • Protein like meat, dairy, fish, nuts
  • Complex carb like a whole grain or beans
  • Fruit
  • Vegetable
  • Healthy fat

When preparing these lunchbox ideas, be mindful of food allergies and daycare or school guidelines. Keep portions manageable for little appetites, and encourage your child to try a variety of foods to promote a balanced diet.

Here’s what I always have on hand for school lunches:

  • Fresh fruits – bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples
  • Vegetables – cucumbers, peas, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Crackers – I like Simple Mills brand
  • String cheese or snack-pack sized cheeses
  • Tortillas – I like Siete brand
  • Breads – I like Dave’s Killer Bread brand
  • Nut butters – peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
  • Chia jam
  • Snack bars – I like Skout and Cerebelly brands
  • Cheese puffs – I like The Good Crisp brand
  • Pouches – I like Serenity Kids brand
  • Pastas – emergency butter pasta or pesto pasta always a win!
  • Jarred pasta sauce – I like Rao’s brand
  • Pizza sauce – I like Rao’s brand
  • Apple sauce – I like Thrive Market brand
  • Dips or sauces – hummus, sour cream, ketchup, guacamole

It can seem daunting to remember all of the above on a day to day basis, so I’ve compiled a list to inspire you to come up with easy lunches to pack! You can also refer back here any time you get stumped or hit a rut. All of the toddler meals below are healthy, don’t need to be reheated, are super easy to pack, and toddler approved!

Toddler lunch box idea #1: Vegetable Chicken Nuggets

These chicken nuggets are full of vegetables and yumminess. Serve with a small container of ketchup or another favorite condiment! Pairs well with roasted veggies like brussel sprouts and fruit. Find the recipe here!

Toddler lunch box idea #2: Vegetable Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is great for lunch boxes because they serve so well cold or room temp! Paired with some deli Turkey meat for more protein and fruit.

Toddler lunch box idea #3: Hot Dog Bites and Rice Balls

My toddler loves hot dogs hot or cold and I always serve with some ketchup to dip! Balance the meal with some rice balls, roasted broccoli and fruit. For dessert, I included a date with peanut butter!

Toddler lunch box idea #4: Turkey, Cheese and Avocado Sandwich

Toddler lunch box idea #5: Fried Rice

Fried rice is a great school lunch option because it is delicious when served cold as well! Use up any vegetable and protein you may have for a filling and delicious lunch. Try my kimchi and beef fried rice or crispy pork belly fried rice recipes!

Toddler lunch box idea #6: Homemade Uncrustable Sandwiches with Peanut Butter and Chia Jam

Chia jam is a healthier alternative than the old jelly because it uses only natural sugar. Serve with some deli Turkey meat for extra protein!

Toddler lunch box idea #7: Quesadilla

Toddler lunch box idea #8: Breakfast for Lunch

Smoothie, banana spinach pancakes and some puffs to enjoy a B for L!

Toddler lunch box idea #9: Turkey, Avocado and Cheese Roll Up

Toddler lunch box idea #10: Honey Dijon Chicken Tender Wrap

Veggie pasta salad, roasted sweet potatoes and some fruit like blueberries round out this perfect meal.

Toddler lunch box idea #11: Zucchini Orzo

This is so easy to make and you can add any protein or veggie that you’d like. Find the recipe here!

Toddler lunch box idea #12: DIY Pita Pizzas

Fun way to get your littles involved in making their own lunch! Pack some mini pitas along with pizza sauce in a small container and shredded cheese in another. They can dip in sauce or add the toppings to the pita!

Toddler lunch box idea #13: Cream Cheese Roll Ups

Toddler lunch box idea #14: Mini Banana Pancakes

Another B for L delight! These yummy bites are perfect for a fun lunch or snack. Find the recipe here!

Toddler lunch box idea #15: Pizzadilla

Is it a pizza? Is it a quesadilla? It’s a pizzadilla. Combining the best of both worlds, this delicious meal is sure to be a lunch time hit. Add some ground or rotisserie chicken for more protein! Find the recipe here.

Toddler lunch box idea #16: Turkey and Hummus Sandwich

Hummus is a great addition to any sandwich!

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