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Preschool Lunch Ideas & Tips

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

When planning a lunch for preschool, it is important to keep in mind that children at this age have smaller appetites and may have picky eating habits. Remember to try foods several times, using different preparations before giving up on them entirely.

Here are some ideas for a balanced and kid-friendly lunch:

Sandwiches: Use whole-grain bread and fillings that your child likes, such as turkey and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or hummus and veggies. A fun twist on the classic sandwich, is to send quesadillas, mini hamburgers or sandwich rolls.

A hot food storage container with Elsa.

Pasta: Once and a while it's nice to have a hot lunch. Kids love spaghetti and macaroni and cheese.

Sending it in a thermos, like this one, is a great option for keeping it warm.

Soup: Another option to send in your child's thermos is soup. Classics like chicken noodle and tomato are favourites at this age. Stew is also a great option.

Stir-fry: Make a simple stir-fry with vegetables and protein, like chicken or tofu, and pack it with rice.

Meatballs: Cook up some meatballs and pack them with a side of vegetables or pasta.

Just like some food items need to be kept warm, others benefit from being kept cool. Try out some kid-friendly ice packs.

Fruits and vegetables: Slice up some apples, carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers and serve them with a dip like ranch or hummus. You can also include some fresh fruit like grapes, berries, or mandarin oranges. Kids at this age absolutely love fruit and the options are endless.

Cheese and crackers: Cut up some cheese into bite-sized pieces and serve with whole-grain crackers.

Yogurt: Look for low-sugar yogurt options and pack some fresh fruit or granola on the side for your child to mix in. Yogurt with chocolates or other sweets are delicious, but should be reserved for special occasions.

MOM HACK: When sending drinkable yogurts with horrible foil tops, try putting them inside a water bottle you can seal. That way, they aren't wasted or spilled.
A yogurt container, a plus sign and a waterbottle.

Hard-boiled eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and can be made ahead of time and packed in a lunch box.

Snack mix: Combine some whole-grain cereal, pretzels, and dried fruit for a fun and crunchy snack. If your school allows, you can also mix in some peanuts.

Additional Tips:

  • LABEL EVERYTHING. When a preschooler is learning to take care of their things, more often than not, stuff gets left behind. Having everything labelled helps teachers return them to their owners.

  • Remember to keep portions small and offer a variety of foods to keep your child interested and engaged.

  • Don't forget to pack utensils and napkins.

  • You can use small picks to make eating small snacks more fun.

  • It has also become popular to buy cutters to make sandwiches and fruits more appealing.

  • Make sure the food is packed in a way that your child can practice independence when packing and unpacking their lunch.

  • Make sure that it is packed in a way that will keep it warm (or cold) until lunchtime.

  • It's also important to check with your child's school about any guidelines or restrictions.

Our favourite containers:

A hot food storage container with a rocket.

Food storage containers with a unicorn.

Food storage containers with strawberries.

Food storage containers with red lids.

Food storage container with a fox on it.

Our favourite lunch boxes:

  1. SKIP HOP Narwhal Lunch Box Skip-Hop quality allows for washing and durability. These lunch boxes are super cute, but they are on the small side. So depending how much food you are sending with your child, you might want to check if all their containers fit. This is also a great option as a second lunch box, sometimes students require additional food and snacks if they are staying at after-school activities.

  2. 3 Sprouts Llama This insulted lunch box has a handy water bottle pocket and a shoulder strap to help students get it from point A to point B.

  3. FlowFly Unicorns and Rainbows This lunch box has a front zippered pocket, as well as an inside, zippered mesh pocket - which can be used to store utensils or an icepack.

  4. VASCHY Insulated Lunch Box This option has two compartments to keep lunch and snacks organized. It also has a shoulder strap for easy carrying.

  5. THERMOS SPIDERMAN Lunch Box Thermos is known for its great-quality when it comes to food storage, and you can never go wrong with Spiderman.

  6. SUPER MARIO BROS. Lunch Box Mario is always a great option, but he has recently become even more popular with the recent release of his new movie.

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