Looking for healthy school lunch ideas for picky eaters? These 30+ lunches for picky eaters are sure to spark your imagination and expand your picky child’s lunch menu options!
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Dealing with a picky eater can be a frustrating challenge, but sometimes all it takes is a little creativity and ingenuity to spark your culinary imagination! We’ve compiled 30+ mix-and-match school lunch ideas to help you build the perfect lunch for your picky eater!
My big boys went back to school last week, and this year they are both attending school all day long. That means that this year I get the dubious honor of preparing school lunches for not just one, but two picky eaters each day. Lucky me?
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School Lunch Ideas For Picky Eaters
In order to make my life a little easier, I sat down with these guys and compiled a list of all the foods that they might be willing to try at lunchtime. Naturally, they don’t agree on 100% of the foods on the list (honestly, they only agree on about 5% of them!), but at least it’s a start for those days when I’m running out of ideas! I thought it might be worth sharing if you also find yourself staring vacantly into the pantry before whipping up the gazillionth almond butter and jelly sandwich of the year. Variety is nice.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Now, before I start listing the foods, I know that some of you are going to say “This isn’t a list for PICKY eaters!” or “MY kid won’t eat half of the things you have listed on there!” Bear in mind that this is not a magical list that is suddenly going to make your child stop being a picky eater. It is simply a bunch of different easy lunch ideas that you may not have considered or tried yet. It is intended to inspire you and your child to try something new and to potentially spark other ideas that your child will agree to.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with a picky eater, it can be super helpful to look at a large list of options that might encourage and inspire you to break out of the rut of serving the same three foods all the time. Kids can be fussy eaters in many, MANY different ways (all three of my boys are very picky, and there are only about five foods that all of them can agree upon – I wish I was kidding!), so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the picky eater situation. Different foods are naturally going to appeal to different kids, so find the ones that your child responds favorably to and develop different variations that you can try out. Continue to offer your child new foods on a regular basis along with your good old standby options, and hopefully, you will soon be able to introduce some new alternatives into your lunchtime routine!
For my boys’ lunches, I use Easy Lunchboxes because they fit perfectly into kid-sized lunch boxes, and the divided portion sections eliminate the need for a bunch of different plastic baggies (less mess, less waste – yay!). Because we use the Easy Lunchboxes, our list of lunch ideas is actually made up of two different lists – one for the main compartment (entree) and one for the two smaller compartments (side dishes). Simply choose one item from the main list and two from the side list, and you can easily create a customized lunch that is sure to please your picky eater!
- Turkey and Cheese Tortilla Wrap
- Ham and Cheese Bagel
- Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter) and Honey Sandwich
- Cream Cheese and Cucumber Finger Sandwiches
- Cream Cheese and Jelly Tortilla Wrap
- Chicken Nuggets and Dipping Sauces
- Pasta – Ravioli, Tortellini, or Spaghetti with Sauce of Choice
- Hard-Boiled Eggs or an Egg Salad Sandwich
- Turkey & Cheese Crescent Rolls (or other meat/cheese combinations)
- Quesadillas or Quesadilla Tortilla Rolls
- Deli Meat and Cheese Kabobs
- Simple Breakfast Burrito – Scrambled Eggs, Cheese, and Bacon in a Tortilla
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Healthy Muffins (Banana, Apple, Zucchini, Blueberry etc.)
- Chicken Kabobs with Rice Balls
- DIY “Lunchables” – Deli Meat, Cheese, and Crackers
- Peanut Butter & Banana Graham Cracker Sandwich
- Mini Burger/Turkey Burger Sliders
- Breakfast for Lunch – Waffles, Pancakes, or French Toast
- Egg Rolls & Potstickers
- Build-Your-Own Mini Pizzas – English Muffin, Pizza Sauce, Cheese, and Toppings
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich Sticks
- Bagel Dog or Pigs in a Blanket
- Calzones/Pizza Pockets
- Fruit Nachos – This Way OR This Way!
- vMini Bagels with Jam, Cream Cheese, or Nut Butter
- Pizza Quesadilla
- Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
- Pinwheel Sandwiches
- Pita Bread and Hummus
- Fruit – Strawberries, Bananas, Grapes, Blueberries, Melon, Pears, etc.
- Veggies – Carrots, Celery, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, etc. with a Side of Ranch, Peanut Butter, or Hummus for Dipping!
- Whole-Grain Goldfish
- Cheese – String Cheese, Babybel, Cheddar Cubes, etc.
- Raisins or Dried Fruit
- Dry Cereal
- Crackers – Graham Crackers, Ritz, Saltines, Club Crackers, etc.
- Cottage Cheese
- Nuts – Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, etc.
- Veggie Straws
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Heidi Kundin has captivated the hearts of millions with her colorful and inspiring approach to crafting, celebrations, and family fun. With over 15 years of experience, Heidi’s website has become a must-visit destination for those seeking quick and easy creative ideas and last-minute solutions. Her warm personality shines through her posts, inviting readers to join her on a creative journey that’s fun, rewarding, and achievable.