12 answers

Lunch Ideas for Preschool

Hi moms,
I enrolled my 3 year old daughter in preschool and she'll be starting this week. I have to pack her a lunch bag. She gets up at 6-7am and still drinks about 12oz of milk right after waking up. She usually eats a pretty big breakfast around 9am and then maybe a snack before nap, around noon. Rarely she would have some soup or maybe a sandwich. She wakes up around 4-5 pm has a little snack and then dinner at 6-7 pm. I'm really happy with how much she's eating and I like her to have the main meal at supper with us. I could use some ideas since she's not use to have a big lunch, but still I would like to pack her something more then just a snack because she will get that around 10 am at the preschool. She's there from 9:15 to 1 PM.
Thank you

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Featured Answers

My 3 year old daughter goes to a french immersion preschool. At home, she is spoken to in 3 languages (english included). When she doesn't understand one, she will ask. After some time, she was able to sort out which language is which. Keep up with the different
languages, its a great tool.

For lunches, I normally do pasta, rice, some type of protein, and fruits.

Good Luck!

More Answers

I second the other responders advice regarding language confusion. Current research shows that multilingual children sort out their languages by the early primary years, and then tend to perform academically well ahead of their monolingual classmates. Perhaps you could contact someone in the linguistics department at Portland State for more information or a referral to different speech/language evaluator.

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T. - Lunch - I guess I would go with finger foods! It doesn't sound like she's a huge lunch eater, so probably crackers, apples, grapes, carrots, cheese, bananas...you get the picture. The one thing I would stay away from is peanut butter. Not that mykids don't eat it, they do! but a lot of preschools are becoming "nut free" from peanut allergy dangers.
Okay, just had to add my two cents about the language thing! My boys are also bilingual. We are a spanish/english speaking family. It's so great that your daughter is speaking two languages! 3 is VERY young to diagnose language confusion. It's extremely common to mix the languages, heck, I do it all the time! Sometimes I forget how to say something in English....and when I am stressed (car accident, cut off my finger..ect) I ONLY speak spanish. It's like my fall back language (which is hilarious since I am a native english speaker!). But, I just wanted to let you know there is nothing to worry about! In fact, when she is at home I would encourage you to only speak your native language and have her speak English in school. That way she wont forget them both.
Good Luck! L.

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My daughter likes crackers (salty or sweet), apple slices (put a little lemon on them to keep them from turning brown), Banana (just leave it whole), Cucumber slices, Celery... I also sometimes feed her rice with a vegetable or cereal (oatmeal with a dab of brown sugar and cinnamon) for lunch, she doesn't mind eating it cold. Cheese (string or pieces) and lunch meat (rolled up, without the bread) are also quite popular and a great source of protein.

I also have to chime in on the language confusion. My daughter is also raised bilingually and does the same thing,even though my daughter goes to daycare full time, because I work. I understand that this is a normal part of speech development in a bilingual child.

I would caution you to take "professional advice" regarding raising a bilingual child with a grain of salt. Unfortunately many speech therapists are not trained or experienced in working with bilingual children.
I would get a second opinion and advice from someone who has experience in working with bilingual children and whose goal is to help with language acquisition in both languages (unless you have changed you mind about that...).

One of my biggest concerns is that my native language is becoming too weak in my daughter, so we actually try to arrange for playdates with other families that speak my language to counteract her "English-heavy" daily routine.

Just as a side note: being bilingual myself, I will get the occasional bout of "language confusion" and say something to my husband in my native language or mix in English words when speaking to my mother, without even noticing. Gotta love the blank stares...it always makes for a good laugh!

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I was more wondering about what kind of speech evaluator told you about "language confusion"? In my Child Development classes I have learned that mixing two languages is a perfectly normal part of language development for a multi-lingual child. I know that 30 years ago the popular method was to have the school speak to the child in English only, but times have changed since the understanding of how language is acquired has changed.(If it is a school that engages in developmentally appropriate practices) At my center, we as teachers are encouraged to speak to the child in their home language as much as possible to build secure relationships with the children. I would get a second opinion with a language acquisition expert, which is quite different than a speech expert. Children all over the world grow up in multi-language homes and do just fine, 3 years old is way to early to diagnose an outdated practice like "language confusion", from everything I am learning in school now.

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A PBJ always did wonders for my son. I would give him one of those, always some kind of veggie (carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli), a cheese stick, and something to drink. It's pretty much a balanced meal at that point. They get their veggies, dairy, protein, grain, and fruit. :D

Wow, you're very lucky that your daughter still naps so well! My daughter gave up napping between 3 and 4 years old and has always been a grazing kind of eater, not really eating a big meal. She's been going to preschool for close to a year now and what we send for lunch is a bunch of hearty, healthy snacks. A typical lunch for her will be a "sandwich" consisting of a whole wheat tortilla rolled up with some turkey or ham and a slice of cheese cut up into 3 or 4 smaller pieces, and then 2 or 3 of the following: Babybel cheese rounds, yogurt tubes, applesauce, cut up fruit, goldfish crackers, granola bars and a bottle of water. We let her pick what she wants from those healthy choices when we pack her lunch before bedtime and most of the time she eats what she picks. Congratulations on this big step in your daughter's life. I know it's hard to let them go spend time with others, but the benefits of preschool are so wonderful, especially for only children. I feel that our daughter has grown so much socially as well as in her academic skills.

You don't say what the hours of the pre-school are. This will make a difference. If I understand your timeline, her afternoon nap is close to 3-4 hours in length? She's going to have a huge culture shock. I'd get a copy of the school's day and try to adhere to that schedule at home even on the days she's not at school. See what other kids are eating as she will want what they have. Most pre-schools are no more than 3 hours in length, so again, check with the school to see what their agenda/schedule is.


I don't mean to overlook our original question but I also have to agree with Betty about the speech thing.

When I was working at a daycare 4 years ago there was one little boy, 3-4 years old that was trilingual. He often would speak in a conglomeration of all three languages, especially when he first got there. By the end of the year it's wasn't so pronounced, but I was still amazed at this little man. He was articulate, sweet, and an all around sweetheart of a person.

I'd also suggest getting a second opinion. Your daughter sounds to me like she's a normal, bilingual 3 year old.

Hope this helps,

snacks for lunch are fine, they can be healthy and filling.

Crackers and cheese, carrots or pita and hummus, a pb & j sandwich, fruit, string cheese, turkey/cheese roll ups....

Baby Sign Language In A Bilingual Setting: How it helps http://babysignswithelizabeth.blogspot.com/2009/06/baby-s...


I am a little concerned that you are scared about letting her be with strangers...this is a very important part of development. i hope that you trust the preschool that you chose enough to not be scared about letting her go there! My 4 year old LOVES preschool, and I love the environment that he is in...

As for lunch suggestions...a half a sandwich cut into "sticks" (we like soynut butter and jelly or cheese...no meat in our house), cubes of tofu, edemame, cut up fruits and veggies, hummus and carrots or pite triangles, soup in a thermos with a straw...

My 3 year old daughter goes to a french immersion preschool. At home, she is spoken to in 3 languages (english included). When she doesn't understand one, she will ask. After some time, she was able to sort out which language is which. Keep up with the different
languages, its a great tool.

For lunches, I normally do pasta, rice, some type of protein, and fruits.

Good Luck!

Crackers and cheese, fruit, applesauce with plastic spoon, raisins, yogurt, meat and cheese sandwiches. Those are a few suggestions. Way to go on the long nap. So jealous since both of my kids stopped napping right at three years old and before that their naps weren't more than 2 hours long. You must love all that quiet time.

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