12 Healthy Toddler Lunch Ideas
Making a quick, easy, and healthy lunch for your little one just got so much easier! These 12 Toddler Lunch Ideas are fun and balanced meals that will be devoured by your toddler in no time at all!
We’re going to make these quick, easy, and healthy toddler lunches with a little help from Beech-Nut, my favorite brand of store-bought baby food!
What Should Be Included in a Healthy Lunch for Toddlers?
Toddler lunches can be tricky!
Kids at this age are notorious for being picky eaters and they’re also great at changing their minds 3 seconds before you put their plate down in front of them.
Sometimes they’ll devour their entire plate in 3-seconds flat only to ask for another snack an hour later. Other times they’ll take one itsy-bitsy bite of food and declare they are full.
So, when it comes to toddler lunches, I aim for quick and easy options made with a variety of healthy foods to meet their nutritional needs. When I’m brainstorming toddler lunch ideas I always include:
- Protein: chopped chicken, canned beans, meatballs, eggs, yogurt
- Complex Carbohydrates: whole grain sandwiches breads, pasta, and crackers
- Fruits and Vegetables: aim for one serving of each, and try to include a variety of colors. Be sure to diced into small pieces!
- Healthy Fats: avocado, nut butters, cheese, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts and seeds
12 Quick and Easy Toddler Lunch Ideas
These 12 lunches for toddlers are tried-and-true meals that I serve Ellie and Parker on a weekly basis.
Left: Chopped pieces of roasted chicken, black beans, and shredded cheddar cheese; chopped blackberries; warmed peas with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of cumin. For dessert, a Beech-Nut Coldpuree pouch of pear & apricot puree.
Right: Carrot puree + cream cheese sushi sandwich rolls; just apple puree (or applesauce of choice) with a smiley face; chopped cucumber.
To make Sushi Sandwich Rolls: place a piece of bread (I used whole wheat) onto a cutting board. Flatten the bread with your hand or a rolling pin as flat as you can get it without tearing holes into the bread. Cut off the crusts and trim bread into a rectangle. Spread roughly 1 teaspoon whipped cream cheese onto the bread and then layer 1 teaspoon of just banana, carrot & cranberry puree (or your favorite jam) on top. Place the bread on the cutting board and starting with the short end, tightly roll the bread up into a sushi roll. Cut into equal pieces and serve.
Left: Hidden veggies grilled cheese; macaroni rings with meat sauce (or soup of choice); blueberries (cut in half for younger toddlers).
To make Hidden Veggies Grilled Cheese – take 2 pieces of whole wheat bread and spread butter on one side of each piece (the outside) and then spread roughly 1 teaspoon of just spinach, zucchini and peas on the other side (the inside) of each piece of bread. Layer 1-2 pieces of sliced cheddar cheese on top of the bread with the puree on it and lay the other piece of bread with the puree side towards the cheese. Grill sandwich in a medium skillet on medium heat for 3 minutes, flip and heat for 3 more minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is brown. Let cool slightly, cut into slices and serve. The green puree almost completely disappears into the bread, so kids will never know it was there.
Right: Chopped turkey meatballs with citrusy sweet potato dip; chopped steamed broccoli with sea salt; chopped strawberries; and a banana, cherry & beet smoothie.
To make the Citrusy Sweet Potato Dip – stir together 1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise) and 2 teaspoons of sweet potato, orange & pineapple puree until well incorporated.
To make Banana, Cherry & Beet Smoothie – add the contents of 1 banana, cherry & beet coldpuree pouch, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of ice, 1/4 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice) and 1 teaspoon of honey (optional) into a blender and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Makes 1 toddler smoothie.
Left: Sliced pita, carrots, cucumbers and red peppers with carrot hummus and raisins.
Right: Surprise peanut butter banana quesadilla, chopped purple grapes and sliced sweet peppers.
To make Surprise Peanut Butter Banana Quesadilla – spread 2 teaspoons of natural peanut butter (almond butter or seed butter also works) onto half of a medium flour tortilla. Slice half of banana and place the slices evenly on top of the peanut butter. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of just apple & blackberry puree (or favorite jam) over the bananas and peanut butter. Fold the tortilla in half and cook in a medium skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes, flip and cook for 3 more minutes or until brown on both sides.
Left: Cream cheese fruit crackers,, warmed corn with a pinch of paprika and chopped avocado with a squeeze of lime juice.
To make Cream Cheese Fruit Crackers – spread whipped cream cheese on top of your toddler’s favorite crackers. Dollop a teaspoon of banana, blueberry & avocado coldpuree pouch (or your favorite jam) on top and serve. You can keep the rest of the pouch for a healthy snack later on in the day.
Right: Butternut squash mac and cheese + peas, apple ring with cinnamon and orange sections. I used this veggie cutter to cut the flower into the apple.
To make Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese + Peas – prepare the noodles from a normal size box of mac & cheese (this is our favorite brand). Follow the instructions for making the cheese sauce except only use half of the package of cheese powder and instead add in 2 heaping tablespoons of just butternut squash puree. I sprinkle the leftover cheese powder onto homemade popcorn for a fun mom snack:). Stir in the noodles and 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas and serve. Wanna make it homemade? Here is my very popular recipe for homemade Butternut Squash ‘Mac & Cheese’.
Left: Mango rice + edamame, roasted beets with nutmeg and pretzels.
To make Mango Rice with Edamame – In a small skillet over medium/low heat, whisk together 2 tablespoons just mango puree, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch of garlic powder. Add in 2 cups of cooked rice and 1/2 cup shelled edamame and stir until everything is incorporated. Feel free to add in some leftover chopped eggs into this recipe for a more authentic fried rice dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Fast Tip – I always keep a bag of frozen pre-cooked rice in my freezer for fast meals like this one.
Right: Cubed cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg with pepper, green bean and turkey roll-ups, pumpkin yogurt and chopped raspberries.
To make Pumpkin Yogurt – spoon some Greek yogurt into a small bowl or section of the plate. Place a cookie cutter (any shape works here) into the yogurt and gently press down. Spoon in just pumpkin puree and push around the puree until the entire cookie cutter shape is covered. Gently remove the cutter. Any puree or jam will also work in this recipe (recipe for easiest homemade jam can be found here).
Right: Chopped falafel and feta, chopped pineapple and sliced snap pea. And a banana, carrot & cranberry coldpuree pouch for dessert.
MORE EASY + HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS AND TODDLERS:
- 8 Healthy Toddler Breakfasts
- 36 Healthy School Lunch Recipes
- 10 Allergy-Friendly School Lunches
- 10 Easy + Healthy School Lunches for Warm Weather
- Kale + Spinach Quesadilla for Toddler + Kids
DID YOU TRY ONE OF THESE HEALTHY TODDLER LUNCH IDEAS? I WANT TO SEE YOUR YUMMY CREATIONS! SNAP A PIC AND SHARE IT HERE ON PINTEREST.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Beech-Nut Baby Food, but 100% of the opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Baby FoodE!
Get the recipe: Carrot Hummus & 11 More Toddler Lunch Ideas
- 1/4 cup plain store-bought hummus
- 2 tbsp just carrot puree, or any of your favorite veggie baby food purees
- In a small bowl, mix together the hummus and carrot puree until well incorporated.
- Spoon onto toddler plate and serve with a variety of dippable foods - soft pita wedges, carrots, broccoli, etc