5 Lunch Ideas for the Picky Toddler


Lunch Ideas

My 2 year old is a horrible eater.  “Picky” isn’t quite the right word to describe him – he loves things most kids don’t…like celery, spinach and broccoli.  But when it comes to meal-time foods, forget it!  Over the years, and with the help of professionals, we have had to work very hard to get him to eat enough.  He still won’t touch most things you might consider “normal” kid-friendly foods.  It’s frustrating, but usually very manageable with some planning and a lot of patience.

He recently started at a preschool and I found myself in quite a dilemma.  The school provides snacks for the kids, but you have to pack their lunch.  Oh, and it’s a nut-free school which means the major source of protein that my picky vegetarian will actually eat is out!  What is a mom to do?! Obviously, I jumped right on Pinterest in search of the perfect answer to my problem!  That’s normal, right? Unfortunately, I didn’t find many suggestions for picky eaters like him.  I remembered some advice from our nutritionist about thinking outside the box for meals and considering a week’s worth of food intake for a balanced diet, rather than each meal.  With those suggestions in mind, I racked my brain for things I knew he would at least consider eating.

Plan Ahead

  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Pita chips
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Broccoli
  • Pomegranate

I made my life a bit easier by creating bins of items I could just grab each morning and throw in the lunchbox without too much thought.  I don’t like to think too much before coffee – it’s dangerous for all involved!

Below are a week’s worth of picky-eater tested lunch ideas.  I also pack him some extra stacks and treats for before and after care.

Day One:

Lunch - Day 1
Lunch – Day 1

Whole wheat crackers, mozzarella cheese stick, yogurt, quinoa and blueberry pouch, yogurt covered pretzels, pomegranate seeds, and a strawberry milk.  {The pouch was not a hit so you will find it does not reappear during the week.}

Day Two:

Lunch - Day 2
Lunch – Day 2

Homemade whole grain pita chips, mozzarella cheese stick, yogurt, applesauce, yogurt covered pretzels, and a vanilla milk.

Day Three:

Lunch - Day 3
Lunch – Day 3

Cheese ravioli, sugar-free Jell-O, yogurt, animal crackers and a strawberry milk.

Day Four:

Lunch - Day 4
Lunch – Day 4

Leftover Chinese takeout rice and vegetable lo mein, yogurt, pretzels, goldfish crackers, and a smoothie.

Day Five:

Lunch 5

Scrambled eggs, sugar-free Jell-O, apple, yogurt, pretzels, cookies, and a milk.

The key is to find things that work for your picky eater.

What do you like to pack in YOUR child’s lunch?

Michelle P. is a full-time working mom who stays busy chasing after her 2 year old son, Kyran, with the help of her wonderful husband, Sam. She's a not-so-extreme couponer and an avid DIYer. Michelle is a graduate from the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!) and a Sigma Delta Tau alumni. You can keep up with her family's monthly challenges to simplify, organize, and stay on a budget at http://www.mskhappylife.blogspot.com/.