Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

Submitted by Jenifer on May 23, 2013

Whether your child is at home during the day, at daycare or at school, it’s important to ensure that he has a healthy filling lunch to keep him going. Kids need energy in the form of a nutritious lunch to keep their minds alert and to avoid the afternoon slump in energy that naturally occurs. Toddlers also tend to get cranky and fussy if they are not fed well at regular intervals so make sure you pack a tasty meal when planning your family menu.

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Thanks to numerous cookbooks available as well as several Internet sites devoted to recipes and childcare, you can now find any amount of lunch ideas for your toddler. From vegetarian or non-vegetarian to vegan, lactose intolerant to gluten-free, there are ways and means to give your kids the tasty lunch they deserve.

When packing a lunch box for your toddler, remember that variety is the name of the game.


Kids get bored easily and having the same old peanut butter jelly sandwich day after day can just be frustrating. Instead fill their lunchboxes with different colors and shapes by experimenting with various colored veggies and sandwiches and healthy cookies cut into fun shapes. Stay away from ready to eat meals and snack boxes as far as you can. These are usually filled with additives and preservatives and are unnecessarily high in calories as well. Rather choose fresh fruit and vegetables for the crunch and taste.

Following are some easy options to keep your toddler happy to open his lunchbox everyday:

  • Egg salad sandwich – An egg a day is essential for your child’s mental and physical development. Make it yummier by whipping up a simple and low-fat egg salad sandwich. Simply chop up a boiled egg or two and mix in some Greek yoghurt. Season well and slather between brown bread slices or tuck into a pita bread with lettuce and veggies for a filling lunch.
  • Fruit sandwich – Tired of the same old sandwich fillings? Why not try fruit the next time around. Slice up some bananas and add to a peanut butter sandwich to increase the nutritional values. Or try a cream cheese spread with fresh berries between two slices of bread.
  • Hummus – A small tub of humus along with crunchy batons of fresh vegetables such as carrots, peppers and corn are an ideal lunchtime snack. High in protein and low in fat, it will give your toddler the required burst of energy in the afternoon.
  • Smoothies – No one said that lunch couldn’t be drunk instead. Blend a fresh smoothie with loads of seasonal fruits, some yoghurt and honey to sweeten. Pack in a small thermos so that it stays cool till lunch.
  • Wrap and Roll – Pita breads or store bought tortilla wraps are ideal for small hands. Fill them with healthy low-fat cheeses, salads, grilled chicken pieces or tuna fish for a filling treat.
  • Sweet treats – Homemade muffins or low-fat cookies are healthy alternatives for a lunch box dessert. Fresh fruit with a yoghurt dip is also a firm favorite among young children.
  • Pasta – All kids love pasta. Make yours the evening before and load up on the fresh veggies and cubes of cheese. Make it less messy by skipping on the heavy tomato based or creamy sauces that could cause spills and upsets.

Let your child get involved in his lunchbox and allow him to help you pack and choose what goes in. The more interested kids are in what they are about to eat, the more likely it is that they will eat it. Teach your kids the importance of healthy eating and nutrition along the way as well. Remember it’s never too early for good habits!

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