Preschool Lunch Ideas Handout

I use this container every day. I love the consistancy and routine of it for my daughter (she knows what to expect every day for lunchtime) and myself (I know I need to have some food in each section).

In my last post, I provided you with 5 tips for a better school lunch.  Here, I am putting my plan into practice.

I use this container daily for lunch. 

Most of the time, each section contains a specific food group.  I try to include a fruit, vegetable, and main (which has a protein and a carbohydrate, and typically a healthy fat).    Our school does heat lunches for the children, so if I need something heated, I usually put it in a small glass container, but I don’t use this option too frequently.  


Here are some of my favorite school lunch ideas.

Main Entree

This usually includes a protein and carbohydrate source (sometimes veggies too) and a healthy fat.  Occasionally this will resemble more of a meal, or sometimes I include the protein and carb separately.  Here are some ideas for each.

All in one:

Scrambled egg and a slice of cheese on an english muffin with strawberries, peas and garbonzo beans.

  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread or english muffin

  • Cheese quesadilla with beans

  • Sunflower butter and jelly on whole wheat bread (our school is nut free, any sort of nut butter would work here depending on restrictions of your school)

  • Vegetable stirfry with sausage, chicken or beans

  • Egg and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

  • Any leftovers from the night before! (like this curry

  • “Fried rice” with peas and egg

  • Quinoa salad with chopped vegetables

  • Pasta salad with frozen peas and carrots

  • Chili (like this lentil chili)

  • Healthy muffins (like these and these)

  • Veggie frittata

  • Veggie meatballs


Separate the protein and carb:

Sliced turkey and cheese with bread. Frozen peas and apple slices.

Protein Carbohydrate
  • Beans (chick peas, black beans, kidney beans)
  • Grilled or baked tofu (or premade)
  • Chicken strips
  • Turkey slices
  • Chicken salad
  • Other lunch meat
  • Scrambled egg
  • Hard boiled egg
  • String cheese or a slice of cheese
  • Chopped and sliced sausage
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fish like salmon, tilapia or tuna
  • Slice of whole wheat bread
  • Cous-cous
  • Quiona
  • Rice
  • Hamburger bun
  • Tortilla
  • Naan
  • Crackers
  • Pea crisps
  • Roasted slices of sweet potato or russet potato
  • Muffins
  • English muffin
  • Pasta
  • Ravioli



I try to include at least one vegetable at lunch time. A tip: make a list of the vegetables your child typically eats, and try to include these at lunch time.  Our two staples are tomatoes and cucumber (thank you Trader Joes!).  However, I vary when I can and try to sometimes include something new.  Keep in mind there are many ways to provide vegetables: fresh, cooked or frozen.

Fresh and chopped: 

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • Bell pepper

  • Carrot

  • Celery

  • Carrot

  • Snap peas


Chopped leftover lasagna and avocado slices with frozen peas, chick peas and a muffin

Roasted or steamed with spices and some oil or butter:

  • Carrot

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Aspargus

  • Zucchini

  • Beets

  • Kale chips


  • Peas

  • Corn

  • Edamame



My daughter tends to eat her fruit daily.  I love providing her with frozen fruit: lots of options (does not depend on seasonality), it helps keep some of the other foods cold and is thawed by lunchtime.

Fresh and chopped or whole:

  • Apple

  • Pear

  • Berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)

  • Grapes

  • Oranges

  • Watermelon


  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries

  • Mango

  • Pineapple


Healthy Fat

A healthy fat might be something separate from the rest of the meal (like avocado), or something that’s part of the prepared meal.  Including a healthy fat is great to help for filling and nourishing power on little tummies. 

  • Avocado slices

  • Oil from veggiesDressing or dip from veggies

  • Cheese

  • Nut butter

  • Yogurt