Need Healthy Lunchbox Suggestions for Picky 4 Year Old!

Updated on August 27, 2011
L.W. asks from Springfield, TN
10 answers

Hey Rockin' Mamas!
My son has just started at a new preschool where the majority of the children bring their lunch. There is a wonderful lunch selection available, but my son is asking to take his lunch (my sneaking suspicion is that he really wants to get a cool super hero lunchbox, but I digress...)

Anyway, he is a little picky in that he will not eat sandwiches, and he does not like PB&J. Are you kidding me?? What kid doesn't like PB&J!!! He loves carrots and ranch, those little "lunchables" with ham or turkey, cheese and crackers, baby corn (pickled), and well... that's about it. All the other foods he likes needs to be served hot, and would not be conducive to a lunch box item. I can't wait to hear what you all do for lunchbox contents!

He also must take a healthy snack everyday - which I normally do some sort of trail mix mixture (banana chips, craisins, dried cereal, crackers, dried peas, nuts, etc.)

Thanks in advance for your help!

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answers from Charleston on

Individual juice drinks, the part of a sandwich cut out with cookie cutters, banana chips, boiled eggs peeled. Ham or cheese cubes. Healthy home made muffins such as raisin bran muffins or banaba but bread.

My grandson is also a picky eater. He takes a plain peanut butter sandich in his lunch.

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answers from Denver on

Melissa is right... make your own "lunchables" by packing high quality cheese, crackers, pepperoni, etc. Also, if there are "hot" foods he likes, then get a thermos container. My boy would eat seven cheese tortellini (from Costco) every day if I let him, so the thermos is great. I make extra at dinner time, then in the morning pop some in the microwave to heat then pour into the thermos. By lunch time the temperature is perfect for him, and voila! a hot lunch.

Fresh fruit is always fun, too. When grapes are really big, I just slice them in half and for some reason my 4 year old thinks that's just the bees knees. Have you tried carrot/raisin salad made with ranch? My boy loves the little tupperware filled with that salad. And if your boy eats sandwiches at all, you can cut them up into different pieces, like four long strips or triangles. That also pleases my little guy because he never knows what configuration his sandwich will be in when he opens it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your kid isn't the only one, my son (who eats pretty much anything), also hates PB&J! :) We bought a funtainer food thermos. I fill it with hot water and let it sit for 15 minutes or so...while we are getting around in the morning. Then I heat up the food, dump the water and fill the container. My son eats early, but we have tested it and it stays warm for about 4 hours. This week he had fried rice, chicken nuggets and hot dogs.

Homemade lunchables are another option. It's a little healthier variety than what comes prepackaged.

I also love this site for ideas. There are some terrific "Out of the box" suggestions.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

Check out this web site: or also, or also for tons of suggestions for fun and healthy lunches.
Some are "kind of" sandwiches, but I bet they will not be perceived as sandwich.

Even if you don't go as far as making some of those adorable creations every day, I would also suggest that you make your own lunchables, that is so much more cheaper, and you can mix it up a lot more: different kinds of crackers or chips, different kinds of cheeses and lunch meat, many more different combinations possible.

And get a large opening thermos, and you can send hot foods with him, too. They will easily stay hot for a few hours until lunch time.

Have fun thinking a bit outside of the box, and with the fun presentation of the food you can find on those web pages, I would surprised if your son will not end up eating foods that he may otherwise refuse to even try.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Quesadillas, chopped up hot dog and bun, tortilla roll ups filled with ham and cream cheese, left over tortellini - those are hits for my four year olds. And don't worry about it needing to be served hot; you'd be amazed how many hot foods my kids will eat cold for lunch.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I agree with Senya. Buy the lunchbox and put his healthy snack in it! Then have him eat the lunch provided. Problem solved with far less fuss.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If there's a good selection of lunch already available, then by all means, indulge him in the new superhero lunchbox with just some carrots and ranch in it! Sounds like you don't need to worry much about him eating "healthy" stuff. My son wouldn't eat sandwiches, either, and I wouldn't buy those "lunchable" things. They're just the worst quality food possible, sealed up in fancy packaging, and they cost five times as much as good quality food you package yourself. I would just pack some sliced turkey and cheese in a baggie, and sometimes my son would eat it and sometimes he wouldn't, and he's about 6'4" now...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Hi! I have a picky 4 year old, too! I have the hot problem also so I pack salami (the only lunch meat she likes) or yogurt with ice packs. I also make wheat rotini noodles with a bit of butter and she will eat those cold. We do the carrots or other veggies (tomatoes or broccoli) and ranch, fruit, or cut up whole wheat pita bread. Tat only goes once a week so she doesn't get bored with my limited selection!

Tat does not like PB & J either! She will not eat sandwiches, period.

I wish I had more advice - good luck and I will be watching for other mamas to come through for you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I'd make my own lunchables - pack some whole grain cracker and slices of cheese, then add a pickle or carrots and some fruit. My kids don't like pb&j either but they do like jelly sandwiches.
We also have the thermos food container that keeps food hot till lunch. They sell them at Target and they have super hero characters on them ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

my on who is four years old likes strawberries and blueberries. he also likes sliced red peppers. yogurts are good also. keep trying different things and you will fined more things that he likes.

1 mom found this helpful
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