Easy to pack lunches for toddlers and preschoolers


Looking  for easy to pack lunches for toddlers and preschoolers? Me, too!

Thank you to Juicy Juice for sponsoring this post. Chef Jeff Mauro has paired up with Juicy Juice to share some of his favorite flavorful and fun school lunch ideas, too.

packing school lunches

I love seeing all of the cute and creative lunches that people pack for their kids. They cut out fun shapes, draw pictures on their food, make pirates and animals and everything in between. But, I see them and I think, yeah, I’m totally not that creative at all. I’m sure my kids would appreciate it, but I just can’t get myself to do it. Plus, it always seems like so much work (I know, it’s probably not)!

juicy juice for lunch and swimming

We are over 7 years into packing school lunches, and they all make it a challenge! But, also keeping them easy and still enjoyable for the girls.

So, if somebody is looking for some easy meals to pack for preschoolers and even toddlers, I thought this could help, or at least give you some ideas.*

Easy Preschool Lunches

The preschooler has been a little more demanding with her lunches this year, but we’ve found some winners. Having compartmentalized lunch containers really helps. And, the silicon cupcake liners add a little more separation if you need it.

Bento Lunches for Toddlers/Preschool

{Mango with a grid cut on it, cutie/clementine, peas, left-over homemade baked chicken nuggets, cheese tortellini and GoGo squeeZ pouch}

Sometimes we go the totally easy route, pack a PB&J, a clementine, some goldfish and a Juicy Juice box (on Fridays). You can’t go wrong with a classic and don’t have to overthink lunches.

Easy preschool lunch

Other times, you get a little more adventurous.

Bento Lunch Boxes for Toddlers/Preschool

{Bagel with cream cheese, green beans, grapes, tortellini, applesauce}

Bento Lunch Boxes for Toddlers/Preschool

{green beans, tortellini, grapes, vanilla wafers, GoGo squeeZ Fast Fruit}

Bento Lunch Boxes for Toddlers/Preschool

{carrots + ranch, homemade pickled okra, bagel with cream cheese and jelly, GoGo squeeZ, cheese and whole wheat crackers}

Easy Toddler Lunches

I was definitely more worried about what to send an 18 month old to school with for lunch. I make sure everything is cut up so the teachers don’t have to worry about the size of the food and try to find things she enjoys. Not pictured in any of these lunches are cherry/grape tomatoes which she absolutely loves and/or black beans which I will also send.

Bento Lunch Boxes for Toddlers/Preschool

{cut up tortellini, goldfish crackers, green beans, halved grapes}

Bento Lunch Boxes for Toddlers/Preschool

{GoGo squeeZ appleberry pouch, cheese stick, cut up mango, goldfish crackers, peas, cut up tortellini in Easy Lunchboxes}

These make easy and quick lunches at home, too. Pack them with the other kids lunches and your little will feel like a big kid!

Bento Lunch Boxes for Toddlers/Preschool

Check out more of my easy bento-style lunches.

*My girls go to a nut-free school, so these lunches don’t have any nuts. Fortunately, we don’t have any food allergies, so it stops there.

Check out these great lunches my girls packed on their own for more ideas and a free morning printable.

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  1. I think you pack a very fun lunch, and healthy too!

  2. Will you please pack my lunch? You make it look so cute and organized.

  3. grandma pat says:

    you pack some great looking lunches. A far cry from your every day Turkey sandwich.

  4. What cute and fun lunches! Those pouches are just the coolest. They didn’t have anything like that when my kiddos were little (they are teens now).

    1. I know,there was nothing like this when I was growing up, either. And, I took my lunch in high school, too. I bet I would still appreciate it then:)

  5. Hey, I will take a lunch like this! 😉 I love that it’s so neat and sectioned off. Looks delicious and FUN to eat!

  6. we LOVE gogo squeez in our house! i can’t even tell you how many pouches we go thru in a month. even my hubby brings them for lunch !!!

    1. I’m secretly glad my husband hasn’t discovered them because I’m sure they would be gone even faster!

  7. We love GoGoSqueez here. OK, the kids like it, but I LOVE it. It’s my savior on busy mornings, or when I need a snack while I’m working.

  8. Your lunches are so cute! Way better than mine. i wish i could be one of those pinteresty theme lunch moms…but i am not.

    1. Ooh, I’m hardly a pinteresty mom:) I could never make the cute animals with accessories or the themed lunches. I was trying to show that they can still be a little cute without being super crafty:)

  9. I like the cupcake wrappers as separators! That is a really nifty idea that I must try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks. Yes, they are very helpful. These are silicon, too so that I can reuse them:)

  10. where do you get the containers to send yours in? and the plastic cupcake liner looking things? broxton is killing me with not eating… i need to try and maybe pack it different…

    1. I got the containers from Easy Lunch Boxes. The blue and pink ones I picked up from Target in their clearance section, but the others are my favorite and fit better in their “required” bags.

      The silicon cupcake liners (mine are hearts, but I’d recommend squares so they fit better together) are also from amazon:)

    1. Thanks..and they love it and eat it…and protein + dairy. So I call it a win:)

  11. Doesn’t have to be cute! Almost anything is better than what they’d be eating from the cafeteria! Love your lunches. Keep up the good work!

    1. You are my lunch packing idol:) Thanks! And, yes anything is better than that food….it’s so nasty!

  12. Thanks for the tortellini idea. I’ve been struggling with how to get some protein in the kiddo’s lunch because she’s suddenly decided she doesn’t like lunch meat, cheese, or nuts in her lunch.

    1. Oh the tortellini is a huge hit here, so definitely give it a try! You could also put a little container of marinara/sauce in there for dipping, too. They’ve just been off the sauce lately, so I haven’t pushed it.

  13. i really love the cupcake holder idea. very cool! I’m trying to realy make sure I have i have variety for my little man for school this year.

    1. They really help with the ability to make another compartment..and the cute factor.

  14. Looking good mom! I’ve always thought that I’d never be able to make those other creative kind of lunches either. I just want to throw things in a baggie and be done with it!

    1. But these are totally doable! Really. And, I think it might be faster because I don’t have to find and open a million baggies:)

  15. Love these healthy lunch ideas as my kids are picky eaters and i am always trying to get more fruits and veggies in their diet!

    1. I think it’s all about the presentation. And, having them help pick/pack the lunches, too.

  16. Your lunch ideas are honest-to-goodness perfect! I know how hard it can be to find the right kind of food that’s both nutritious and appetizing for toddlers, but it seems you’ve found plenty of different combinations that make lunch fun and exciting. I love the idea of a small amount of leftovers + easy to eat snacks like cut fruit and veggies, crackers, and maybe a prepackaged GoGo Squeeze or Applesauce. The cupcake molds make nice compartments–a great idea when you’re looking for a way to fit everything in a small container. I don’t think you’re lacking any creativity in the way you pack the lunches at all. It’s very practical yet healthy! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m definitely trying…and we still experiment with new things, too!

      The cupcake molds really help with making sections and making it more fun (they seem to think so:)

  17. those are all great ones! I’m always looking for new ideas for what to put in my daughter’s lunch.

    1. Thanks! I still feel like it’s a struggle every day, but we’re all getting better at it.

  18. These are all good lunch options, especially the GoGo squeeZ.

    1. I have such a hard time finding fruit that can be cut up that won’t get all nasty and brown on them, too.

  19. I love these lunches , with the emphasis on fresh ingredients!

  20. Yum. I have seen these but haven’t tried them yet. I think mine would suck them dry in no time also.

    1. There’s a definite chance of that. They are really good:)

  21. I love these ideas! My son doesn’t take a lunch {he’s half day} but these would even be great for home!

    1. Definitely..I bet he’s super hungry when he gets home, so it would be nice to have it all packed up and ready to go.

  22. I love this idea. Though I don’t have to pack lunches for my girls yet, I love the idea of pre-making everything and having them ready whether it be for an after school snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner. The portion sizes are great and all the foods are healthy. Cant wait to try this.

    1. Yes, I’ve done the same for snacks for a longer road trip, or even packing lunches for the car. It helps a ton.

  23. I see tortellini is a favorite 🙂 We actually just had it for dinner last night, and I never thought of including it in lunches chilled – great idea!

  24. These are some excellent kid lunches! I give my daughter GoGo squeeZ pouches for her school snack, she loves them.

  25. These are some fabulous ideas and not just for toddlers! I never would have thought to send tortellini in a lunch, but it’s perfect for those little fingers.

  26. these are great lunchboxes! I like the variety of foods

  27. DESIREE H says:

    My kids LOVE those GoGo Squeez’s!! 🙂
    Looks like a great lunch.

  28. Brenda Haines says:

    Thanks, I really needed some new ideas for my 2 year old son.

  29. Love the idea of plain tortellini! I never thought of that. We love applesauce packets here too… so easy. 🙂

  30. Davinder B says:

    There’s some good ideas in here, and a couple of bits of inspiration I might use when packing my own lunches for work!

  31. Julie Wood says:

    I love the lunch ideas!!We love the GoGo squeeZ pouches and easy finger foods for the little ones! Thanks for sharing!

  32. nicole dziedzic says:

    I love the cupcake silicone cups to put the snacks in, great idea to separate thing in the lunch box.

  33. Natalie F says:

    Great ideas, I would even eat these lunches. I would have never thought of the tortellini, but my kids would love that.

  34. Are all of these lunches served cold or cool? I am having a hard time with what to pack because at our daycare they will not heat up anything.

    1. Yes, they are all served cold or cool. They take them in insulated bags. They aren’t allowed to heat anything up at school, either. We have had luck with Thermoses sometimes, but they tend to be a pain for me, so I try to avoid them.

      Surprisingly, the tortellini/ravioli are pretty good cold!

  35. Delirah M says:

    The tortellini is a great idea! 😀

    1. It was kind of an unintentional theme, right? I packed them in lunches today and it reminded me of this post….then the preschool teacher told me how awesome the lunches are (again)!

      I highly recommend them, though. They take like 3 minutes to cook, too!

  36. These look awesome…. Then I decided to see what’s kids would actually eat. It pretty much stopped at the squeeze porches and nilla wafers…(thank goodness for a school that provides lunches). I’m impressed your girls eat so well!

    1. **what my kids would eat*** (autocorrect on the part that makes no sense)

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