Healthy Lunches for Preschooler with No Fridge and No Microwave

Updated on July 30, 2012
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
14 answers

Title says it all! My son goes to a preschool with no fridge and no microwave. I need healthy lunch ideas. Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

You should get an insulated lunch box and put a freezer/ice pack in it. That will keep anything cool you want to - esp one that is big enough to line the whole bottom of the lunch box.

As far as microwave, I don't think any schools offer microwave options, esp preschools, but if you want to keep left overs warm or something, a thermos will do the trick.

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answers from San Francisco on

Most schools don't offer refrigeration or microwave.
Just pack your son's lunch like you would pack for a picnic or a play date at the park. If things need to stay cold, use an ice pack. If you want something to stay warm put it in a thermos!
You can pack ANYTHING he likes to eat: sandwiches, pasta, veges, fruit, cheese or leftovers, really just about anything.

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answers from Austin on

If you have a cold pack, there is a never ending variety of things your child can eat.

Left over homemade pizza slices (yes, kids will eat it cold)
Cheese and crackers, with fruit.
Peeled boiled eggs with melba toast, fruit
Sandwiches with nut butters, or meat or cheese.
Pita bread again see above
Cold chicken leg
Ants on a long.
Ants on a log. (Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins)
Lettuce wraps
Chinese dumplings

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answers from Washington DC on

We never had a fridge or microwave as a kid, either.

Pretty much anything you'd take on a picnic could be packed for him. Just use a thermos when you need it to be hot and an ice pack when you need it to be cold. Juice boxes or boxed milk for a drink, fruit and veg, yogurt, sandwiches, crackers, cheese....for meals.

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answers from Kansas City on

For most preschoolers there is only about 2 hours between the time they get to school and the time they eat, so really, they don't even need a freezer pack, but if having one would make you feel more comfortable, then get one.

Target usually has nice skinny ones in the $1 section during back to school time, in fact I think I just saw some there last week. Or you can get a harder plastic one, usually shaped like something, for a few dollars in the lunchbox section.

For my presschooler she is not allowed to have nut products at school so I usually pack a mini bagel with either cream cheese or jelly. I put little bowls of raisins, dried fruits, crackers, string cheese, yogurt cups, veggie booty, etc.

Other main course options are cold grilled cheese, jelly sandwiches, hummus and veggies, lunch meat, cold mac and cheese, and cottage cheese.

I rarely put a cold pack in my daughter's lunch and I haven't had a problem yet.

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answers from Detroit on

Do they allow peanut products or does he have a peanut allergy? I would just do stuff that doesn't need to be refrigerated or heated up to be eaten. Peanut butter sandwich (if allowed), fruit (I figure it's not refrigerated in the store so it doesn't have to be kept cold in the lunch, especially if it is refrigerated at home), carrot sticks, celery sticks, applesauce, granola bars, juice boxes or water. Also, my daughter's lunch box comes with a pouch for a ice pack - I just put a frozen ice pack in there and it keeps everything cool enough. You can do that for things that really should be kept cold, like dairy products and lunch meats. My daughter's day care doesn't have a microwave either - there is a fridge but not big enough to hold every kid's lunch, so they do ask parents to pack an ice pack with the lunch to help keep it cool.

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answers from New York on

No ideas but I'd suggest getting containers now and packing food in them for your child to eat at home. It'll get him use to opening them on his own and eating whatever is contained in them. My granddaughter wasn't eating her lunch and it was because she couldn't open the containers and was too shy to ask the lunch room aid for help.

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answers from Seattle on

I can't actually think of anything that needs a fridge or microwav.

I usually did dinner leftovers for preschool lunches.

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answers from Lakeland on

Pick up some thermos containers so that the food will either stay warm or cold. It's not like it will be sitting all day and go bad.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I bought frozen already cooked chicken nuggets (dinobites) and frozen already cooked edamame (trader joes, costco). Put into an insulated lunch bag frozen and by lunch they should be good to go. Actually you should do a test run- a few times my daughters chicken nuggets were still a bit frozen. You can also fill a container half way with milk/juice and lay it sideways in the freezer, then the next morning fill the rest of the way with liquid- keeps the lunch cold and doubles as ice pack. Quesadillas do fine at room temp. Baby carrots. Sliced apples. Banana. Avocado. Sandwiches with hummus as a spread. If your bag is good and cold you can due ham, turkey or egg sandwiches.

If you use an ice pack, put it on top of whatever you're trying to keep cold and make sure the items are contact (don't just throw the ice pack into the bag). Sometimes putting your food items into baggies helps keep them colder than if they are in hard containers- they are in closer contact with the ice pack.

You can also premake lots of sandwiches and freeze them (ever see those frozen PB&Js?) all at once and just grab what you need in the morning.

My daughter was always helped in preschool with her containers. It was great because the teachers knew not to open the "treats" until the healthy food was eaten. I actually didn't want her to practice opening them since I used these containers for a variety of things I didn't necessarily want her to have!

Hope this helps!


answers from Dallas on

As a teacher I see a lot of.... thermos with noodles, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc. Insulated lunchboxes with the snacks of carrots, nuts, peanut butter, yogurt, etc.

Make sure he can bring peanut products. At our elementary school, there is a peanut free table for the children with the allergies.


answers from Seattle on

Your preschooler will soon be in elementary school with no fridge or microwave either! I have cold packs. I bought a bunch of them at our local store for $1.50 each and I throw them in the lunch to keep things cold. I also use it for picnics and such during the summer.


answers from St. Louis on

I bought one of those small 10 oz thermos that you can keep food warm in for hours. I plan on putting meatballs, spaghetti, noodles, ravioli, chicken nuggets, etc in there. My daughter and I also will go shopping and I'll let her pick out a few things she wants (fruit snacks, pudding, etc). I like the idea of making sure she can open the items because I know my daughter cannot open go-gurt or pudding so I'll put that into a container she can open. Good luck mama!



answers from Los Angeles on

Use cold packs, or send things that can be eaten at room temp. This website has tons of lunch ideas:

EDIT: Also like her page on Facebook. She posts pictures of what she sends for school lunch. It's pretty awesome.

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