Idea for Lunches for Preschooler

Updated on February 07, 2010
A.C. asks from Los Angeles, CA
13 answers

Hi all mamas, my son's preschool required the parents to provide lunch however, they will not provide heat up. I need some ideas what healthy lunch should be prepared for him with such limitation.

Thank you all for your help!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Here are some other conversations that have great ideas!

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answers from Los Angeles on

We had a similar predicament with our nursery age daughter. As mentioned we bought lots of interesting containers and small thermos with princess -- all the other kids ooh and aah which encourages the daughter to eat her lunch since she is thinking it is very special. We resorted to tortillas and spread just about anything on them, roll up, and slice -- she is involved each morning or night and we tailor it to her current interests -- sometimes it is mayonnaise and ham -- other times it is sliced cheese or other times it could be just PB with honey. We also will put cut up berries and pineapple in her thermos -- it is more interesting than apples. She loves the little clementines and is able to peel them herself now. We only buy greek yogurt since it appears much healthier and less sugar. We either get the ones where she determines if she will add the fruit or the small ones that are vanilla flavored -- we found eating the others she was not interested in other parts of the lunch. Frozen vegetables, esp broccoli florets are great; by the time it is lunch they are perfect snack temperature. Salad with olives and lettuce and a little cheese is yummy for her. If we are having better cuts of meat for dinner we will chop it up quite small for her and she eats that -- probably the healthiest since there are no dips etc on it. The thermos have worked great with soups - we buy the organic ones and will split it between her and the 7 yr old - add a little fresh chicken and heat - and it is perfect temp for that age by the time lunch comes along. The thermos have been quite valuable. Baggies of kashi cereal are a great snack as are a lot of the other organic type cereals and has enabled us to get away from cookies and chips which we find just distract the children from the healthier part of lunch and we have children that are appear to feel better and behave better since they are getting a better lunch. Snack time at school is packed with similar items since the teacher's now say the children tend to eat 2 lunches worth at school provided not filled with sugar and salt items.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Here's my answer from a similar question about school lunch(not pre-k but it still might help),

My son is in 2nd grade and doesn't like sandwiches, so I have to be really creative. I always put an ice pack in and only send cold food because it's almost 6 hours from when he gets on the bus to lunch time. I've bought several sets of cheap plastic containers, and just use the small sizes. I save & wash plastic forks from eating out and I don't have to worry if he throws them away.
I usually send a juice box or a reusable water bottle.
He likes cold noodles or spaghetti, and I'll add parmesan cheese, black olives, and chopped ham. Sometimes I'll send crackers and a can of tuna and he'll eat the whole thing. He likes cheese sticks or the yogurt with toppings. Canned green beans, corn, beets, or frozen peas and carrots. I found some tiny containers at the dollar store to put salad dressing in to go with carrot sticks, celery, raw broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes. Fruit cup, sliced apples with cinnamon, or a small can of fruit salad. I usually include a ziploc bag of raisins, walnuts, pretzels, pita chips, cookies etc. in case he's still hungry. I don't mind adding a pre-packaged dessert now and then so he can compare lunches with his friends. (His lunches look so healthy the teachers don't stress if he eats dessert first)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

Check out this website:

It's great, easy and healthy. I don't know how much stuff she prepares that wont require heat up, but I'm sure you will find several recipes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I found with my daughter a really good thermos because she wasn’t big on sandwiches unless it was PB&J, cream cheese and jelly or peanut butter and honey. In the thermos I would put just about anything warmed up…pasta, stir fry, soup, etc. When I sent her with warm food I would make sure not to add anything that needed to stay cold like yogurt. I would pack trail mix, banana, cliff bar, pretzels… stuff like that. She also likes cold pasta with feta & broccoli so with that you can send with an ice pack. You can get a really good insulated lunch bag from You can pack veggies with dip or any fruit. I make cut up peaches with blueberries or apples with cheese etc. It’s fun to get creative. My son loves celery with peanut butter or cream cheese, peas & carrots, tomatoes with avocado and turkey slices with whole grain crackers.

If you have a really good insulated lunch bag, a GOOD thermos and tight tupper ware, you can do just about anything but be careful with meats. Also buy an ice pack for the cold foods.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Peanutbutter/honey sandwich, quesadilla, ham or turkey slices with cheese, fruit, carrots, humus with pita chips, theses are just a few. You can also put mac & cheese, pasta or rice dishes in a thermos. They will stay warm until he/she eats lunch. Just don't pack a lot because they do not have a lot of time to eat and too many choices in one lunch makes them not eat as much. And if you pack treats, you can be guaranteed they will be eaten first, so limit sweets to very small amounts. Hope this helps



answers from Los Angeles on

Great healthy ideas are:
Cold pasta salad,
tortilla wraps,
banana bread with jam,
cheese and crackers
nuts & granola
of course, fruits and veggies
protein bars,
protein shake
Whole grain rice with veggies (my kids love salsa on rice)

It is SUPER important to plan for your day. STAY AWAY FROM PACKAGED snacks. They are full of C.R.A.P. (caffeine, refined sugar, additives and preservatives)... You are in charge of the nourishment of the body. Take that job very seriously and it will be to your children's benefit for their entire life.

you can get a wonderful ebook at called FOOD RULES! Get it for your family, it will help.

Family Success Coach



answers from Dallas on

Having little tupperwares or a container with several compartments helps make the lunches fun. I put a veggie in one, so I need a fruit in the other, grain in the other, and so on.



answers from Washington DC on

I send my daughter to preschool with a sandwich , a piece of fruit such as a banana , apple slices , some grapes or strawberries , a yogurt and some crackers. You can do all sorts of fillings in sandwiches , it doesn't have to always be PB&J . It could be ham , turkey , cheese , egg , tuna. To vary it a little send bagel or croissant instead of a sandwich.



answers from San Diego on

We go through that at my daughter elementary school program she attends when school is not in session. Since my daughter is a picky eater, its a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets (cooked that morning), chicken noodle soup in a thermos, plain pasta, yogurt drinks with a cold pack, apple slices, or some kind of fruit.



answers from Los Angeles on

Foogo (aka Thermos) makes a model for toddlers that keeps foods hot for about 5 hours and cold for about 7 hours. You can buy it at Babies R Us, Target, almost anywhere. Perfect for a warm lunch and they can eat right out of the jar, close it up and bring it home for washing. Plus it is made out of stainless steel so it is very durable, no glass sleeve. I also have small plastic tupperware type containers that have a small freezer pack in the top...I use them to hold small container of hummus, sliced up ham or turkey, and cheese with crackers. A favorite lunch/snack for my toddler. It's also great for fruit salad and yogurt.



answers from Los Angeles on

Are you concerned about Peanut Butter? I know some places will not allow it. Trader Joe's sells a sunflower seed butter and other nut butters that aren't peanut. I haven't tried those, but friends of mine love the sunflower one. You just use it with jelly or honey like you would with PB. Looks like you've gotten some great ideas...I'm going to borrow some!

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