15 answers

Non-Refrigerated Lunch Ideas

Hi mamas! My son (2.5) goes to a daycare twice a week. I have to pack him a lunch that doesn't require refrigeration. Nothing that needs to be heated up. The only thing I can think of is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I would love some other ideas since I know the day is coming when he is tired of the pb&j!
Thanks!

2 moms found this helpful

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Featured Answers

My son is now in 3rd grade but I'm still always looking for ideas!

Home made Lunchables are great - keep it simple for preschoolers tho- make them PB& cracker sandwiches instead of bread sandwiches.

I've done things like spread cream cheese and thin lunchmeat on tortilla, roll up and slice into circles. But that goes into an insulated lunch box with a small bottle of water that has had about 1/3 of it frozen in the fridge to act like an ice pack.

Veggies are best eaten when there is a small dipping container like ranch. Or salt for cucumber slices.

I do grilled cheese tortillas (quesadillas) and they are great. mm I think I'll go make me one for lunch right now! ;-)

More Answers

My son loves a Cinnamon and Bagel, Fruit Salad, Applesauce & Crackers and cheese, and even cold pizza in his lunch. I know you are concerned about keeping things cold but I have never had a problem packing turkey or ham sandwiches. Freeze yougurt and put in in the lunch box with a plastic spoon. It will keep things cold and still be a nice treat for you child! .

1 mom found this helpful

I feel stupid that I'm drawing a blank here. But, in the event something needs to be refridgerated (kept cold for a few short hours) I would put a frozen go-gurt or capri sun (or juice box) in the lunch. It would thaw by lunch and keep food cold. I do this when I send my son with (peeled) boiled eggs or ham and turkey rollups, ect....maybe a cheap (non toxic) ice pack would work too?

1 mom found this helpful

when my kids were smaller they took chicken nuggets, cooked hot dogs, lunch meats, sliced cheese or cheese sticks, applesauce cups, puddings, crackers, chips, go-gurts, fresh fruits like banana's, sliced apples and oranges and clementines. you can also put an ice pack in to help keep things cold.

1 mom found this helpful

There are ways of keeping cold things cold and hot things hot without the aid of a refrigerator or oven. Expand your thinking to include thermoses and "blue ice" style freezer blocks, which even come in kid-friendly shapes and patterns. Celery, carrot, and cheese sticks are nicer with a cold-boost, as is juice.

Think also about alternatives to the bread in sandwiches. I've used cucumber (Sliced cucumber spread with a soft cheese (i.e., boursin) and a slice of ham) and tortillas (cut into circles using a small cup).

I've had good luck with hard-boiled eggs. Peel the egg and put it in a baggie. Tape a salt packet to the bag.

Small yogurt cups can last for hours without refrigeration. Just don't forget the spoon.

A few other moms have already suggested this, so I am just adding my opinion to theirs - I would suggest getting an insulated lunch box in which you can pack an ice pack/blue ice block. I bought my 3 school age sons an insulated lunch box from Land's End, and when they get home from school, it is STILL cold inside. Best lunch box we have ever used - and we've used many! You can buy blue ice blocks at just about any store - Frys, Target, etc... That way you can pack a variety of things besides PB&J - because you're right...that will get old after a while! Without being able to keep it cold, your choices really are quite limited to pb&j, granola bars, and fruit and cereal bars. With an ice pack in an insulated lunch box, you are only limited by your imagination for what you can pack! Good luck!

My son's (21 month old) lunchbox has 2 compartments. I put an ice pack in the bottom compartment and his lunch in the top one. We have gone the route of homemade lunchables - meat, cheese, crackers, and fruit. I tried to give him a veggie too but I ended that futile exercise. I vary the variety of meat, cheese, and crackers. Fruit is a little more narrow in focus but unsweetened applesauce or bananas are the most common. His daycare has a strict NO PEANUT policy. When he moves up to the next room he will have a NO TREE NUT policy as well (classmate with tree nut allergy). Unfortunately, you may have to start getting him used to a non-peanut butter lunch in case he goes to a school which forbides it.

My son is now in 3rd grade but I'm still always looking for ideas!

Home made Lunchables are great - keep it simple for preschoolers tho- make them PB& cracker sandwiches instead of bread sandwiches.

I've done things like spread cream cheese and thin lunchmeat on tortilla, roll up and slice into circles. But that goes into an insulated lunch box with a small bottle of water that has had about 1/3 of it frozen in the fridge to act like an ice pack.

Veggies are best eaten when there is a small dipping container like ranch. Or salt for cucumber slices.

I do grilled cheese tortillas (quesadillas) and they are great. mm I think I'll go make me one for lunch right now! ;-)

Would it be possible for him to use a thermos? My children often take preheated ravioli, spaghetti, or various leftovers in a small thermos for their lunch. Or would he be able to carry an icepak in his lunchbox? Finally, it would seem to me a collection of wheat crackers with peanut butter or cheese slices along with fruit and veggie slices might make a well rounded lunch. It would seem the cheese could make it a little longer without refrigeration than lunch meat.

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