When it's time to pack your child's lunch for preschool, you don't want to go overboard. An older child can usually enjoy a snack from a lunchbox. But for preschoolers, containers should be easy to open (such as small plastic bowls with lids).

Include plastic utensils if you plan on adding soup or something else that can't be eaten with just their fingers.

Pasta Salad

If your child likes pasta, there are plenty of options available. One is a tortellini salad with peas or carrot slices. This salad is fun because the shape of the pasta is a little different.

If you don't add sauce to the pasta, the child can pick it up with their fingers. If so, consider tortellini with cheese inside.

Add a piece of fresh fruit, a fresh salad with lettuce, and other items that the child enjoys. A small cup of dressing can be included as well.

Rollups

These items are ideal for toddlers, as you can make them with almost any ingredients. Turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, or even peanut butter and jelly are great for rollups.

Add pretzels, apples slices, or carrot slices for a fun meal. One of the benefits of this type of meal is that there are usually enough options to create a different kind of rollup every day of the week.

Homemade Lunchables

You've probably seen Lunchables (packages of cheese, crackers, and meat) in the grocery store. You can make your own at home with a plastic container that has sections.

Place a stack of crackers, a stack of cheese slices (round or square), and a stack of the child’s favorite kind of lunchmeat (pepperoni, ham, or turkey) in the container. And you can include treats, such as grapes or even animal crackers.

Pita Wedges

Instead of a sandwich, you can make a pita wedge with the same ingredients. The wedge is easy to hold, as it’s shaped like a small pocket. All of the items that are used for the pita can be stuffed inside (such as lettuce, a tomato slice, ham or turkey, and cheese).

You can make a fun pizza pita by using mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and pizza sauce. A cream cheese spread with raisins and ham will provide a different, healthy taste.

 

Fresh Fruit Tray

If your child isn't in school for a long time during the day, consider making a simple lunch of fresh fruits. Try using a different blend of fruits during the week (such as strawberries,  blueberries, bananas, and/or cherries). Then add graham crackers and a small container of yogurt (to use as a dip).

Fun Sandwiches

Get a few of the plastic shapes for sandwiches, and create a fun sandwich for a lunch or two. A fun ocean lunch is peanut butter and jelly in the shape of a fish, fish-shaped crackers, and blue Jell-O.

Try to make a lunch that blends with the topic that the child is learning during the week (such as animal shapes if they’re learning about a farm).

Granola

This option is a healthy treat that’s easy to enjoy. Make your own granola with cereal, raisins, and other dried fruits. Vanilla wafers and strawberry slices can also be packed with granola.

Tortillas

If your child likes tacos, prepare one the night before. Then heat it in the morning before you leave. Sliced chicken with shredded cheese usually work best.

If the child is able to easily open containers, then consider putting the ingredients for the taco in small bowls. Then the toddler can make the taco at lunch.

Leftovers

The meal from the night before can be turned into a wrap for the child. Or it can be packaged in individual bowls. Use this idea if you only have a small amount of food left over and the child enjoys that meal. Marinated chicken, pasta, or a meatloaf sandwich are ideas for good leftovers.

Italian Meal

A fun Italian lunch includes breadsticks, string cheese, and marinara sauce. You can make your own breadsticks with pizza dough, a bit of Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt. Pepperoni slices can also be added to complete the Italian meal.

Biscuits

A biscuit is just the right size for a preschooler to enjoy. Cut the biscuit in half. Then put the items that are used in the biscuit in separate containers. One idea is pulled pork and shredded cheese. Watermelon, cantaloupe, or peaches would be ideal for this fun lunch in the spring or summer.

English Muffins

An English muffin is a healthy option, and you can easily create a breakfast-y lunch for the child. If you include an egg, consider making the muffin for the child, instead of keeping the eggs separate. Bacon slices or Canadian bacon can be used, along with cheese slices. A cup of yogurt can also be added to the lunch.

Seafood

If your child likes shrimp, make sure it’s fully cooked before you send it them. A bit of cocktail sauce, pineapple chunks, and bagel chips are ideal for completing this fun lunch idea.

Simple Yet Savory

Sometimes, the child might not have a lot of time to enjoy lunch. But they still need something filling to get through the day. So banana or zucchini bread with cream cheese will provide plenty of carbohydrates. Raisins, grapes, and other fresh fruits can complete this meal.

Summary

When you're trying to come up with lunch ideas for preschoolers, you want to consider the ease of opening the containers. And remember to pack lightly, so that food isn't wasted.