Healthy Lunch Ideas For 4 Year Olds

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You are looking for healthy lunch ideas for  4 year old? You’ve come to the right place! I’ve got some healthy lunch ideas which should keep your little one satisfied until it’s dinnertime!

Healthy lunch ideas for 4 year olds are something every parent wants. However, instead of focusing your efforts on trying to make your child eat a healthy lunch, focus on yourself.

Healthy Lunch Ideas For 4 Year Olds

Feeding your child healthy and easy kid-friendly meals can be a breeze! Check out our sample kids meal and snack ideas below for a preschooler!

Preschooler’s Eating Interests

Being four years old is such a fun age! Your little one is full of so many questions! This is a great time to get your child involved in preparing food because they are more interested in rules like food safety, and their attention span has lengthened. By age 4 your child will have further developed his or her feeding skills and will continue to expand his or her own food preferences.

At this stage, don’t worry so much about what your child “should” be eating. Instead, focus on making eating a pleasant experience. It’s okay if they eat more on some days and less on other days. Your child won’t starve because of it! Remember to encourage instead of forcing your child to try new foods. Always avoid bribing or using food as a reward, but you can try some of these non-food rewards to encourage healthy eating.

Include your child in family meals by encouraging him or her to select foods from whatever is being served to the entire family, rather than making a separate “kids” meal you know he or she will eat. Acting as a short-order cook only reinforces picky eating behaviors.

Tips for Healthy and Fun Kids’ Meals

  • Make eating fun! Use cookie cutters to slice fruit and sandwiches, or come up with fun names to make foods sound appealing.
  • Plan your weekly menu to include a variety of foods. Eating is more fun when it involves new foods and flavors.
  • Offer water as the primary source of hydration for your child. You can make water fun by adding cucumber or fruit slices for a colorful and healthy fruit infused water.
  • Encourage your preschool age child to track the colors of their foods using the Super Crew Color Tracker.
  • Set aside specific times for family meals. Eating with your child is a great way to bond and model healthy attitudes toward eating. Set meal times in advance, and make family dinners a priority.

Healthy Sample Menu with Meals and Snack for Preschool Age

Meal Food Servings from Food Groups

Breakfast

Cereal with Berries:

  • Cold whole grain cereal (1 cup if flakes or rounds, 1¼ cup if puffed)
  • ¼ cup berries
  • ½ cup skim milk or calcium-fortified unsweetened organic soy milk or coconut beverage milk*
  • 1 ounce grains
  • ½ cup fruit
  • ½ cup dairy*

Snack

PB and Banana:

  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or nut butter
  • ½ cup fruit
  • 1 ounce protein

Lunch

Turkey and Cheese Quesadilla:

  • 1-ounce nitrate-free sliced turkey breast
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese*
  • 2 small whole wheat tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes

Carrots Sticks and Dip:

  • ½ cup carrot sticks
  • low fat-ranch dip made with Greek yogurt
  • 2 ounce grains
  • 1 ounce protein foods
  • ¾ cup vegetables
  • ½ cup dairy

Snack

Pears and Yogurt:

  • ¾ cup plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt*
  • ¼ cup pears (chopped or pureed)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of flax meal or a few chopped walnuts or almonds (if your child does not have a nut allergy)
  • ¾ cup dairy
  • ¼ cup fruit

Dinner

Teriyaki Salmon Stir Fry:

  • 1-ounce salmon
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup broccoli
  • ¼ cup zucchini
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup milk*
  • 1 ounce grains
  • 1 ounce protein foods
  • ¾ cup vegetables
  • ¾ cup dairy

*Use low-fat or nonfat milk or yogurt, and low-fat or reduced-fat cheese ½

Needs from Each Food Group

The recommendations from Choose My Plate for a 4-year-old requiring 1200 calories include the following:

  • Grains: 4 ounces
  • Vegetables: 1½ cups
  • Fruit: 1 cup,
  • Dairy: 2½ cups
  • Protein Foods: 3 ounces

Preschool Nutrition Needs

Our guidelines for dairy are based on USDA MyPlate recommendations. However, some experts disagree on how much dairy is needed. It’s still not clearly evident if we need as many servings as recommended. Some experts recommend limiting dairy to 1-2 servings a day while boosting other calcium sources such as fortified juices and nut milk, sardines, anchovies, kale, collard greens, or bok choy. The best way to build bones is to consume adequate calcium and vitamin D, and get enough exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, in childhood and adulthood.

10 healthy lunch ideas for kids

Knowing what to pack in children’s lunchboxes can be tricky, especially if they’re fussy eaters. However, if you choose fresh and colourful ingredients, chances are that what you make will be more wholesome and appetising.

You don’t have to spend too much time prepping either. From crunchy taco salad to pitta pockets, our recipes are easy to make and stuffed full of freshness and flavour. So, ditch the soggy sarnies and try something different.

1. Chicken taco salad

Sweet potato crisps on chicken salad in lunchbox

It’s healthy, it’s four of your five-a-day and it’s topped with crunchy crushed taco shells. Our chicken taco salad is perfect if you want to get some variety into your child’s lunchbox. A smattering of creamy avocado chunks and barbecued chicken upgrades this salad to a next level feast.

2. Pitta pockets

Pitta pocket with cucumber and cherry tomatoes

Looking for something to replace sandwiches? Our easy pitta pockets are the answer. Try pairing them with finger food like our crushed pea & mint dip with carrot sticks, or some snackable spiced almonds. These fuss-free pittas can be thrown together in minutes and are an easy low-fat option.

3. Peanut hummus with fruit & veg sticks

Peanut houmous in pot with vegetable and fruit sticks

Get dipping with our peanut hummus with fruit & veg sticks. This healthy, nutty dip has silky smooth tahini and a pinch of smoked paprika to make your chickpeas pop with flavour. Stir in some whole chickpeas once your hummus is blended for texture. With no cooking involved, this is an ideal midweek lunch for when you’re short on time. Fancy trying a different flavour? Discover more easy healthy hummus recipes, ideal for popping into lunchboxes.

4. Mini spinach & cottage cheese frittatas

Spinach and cheese frittatas in greaseproof paper

Our cheesy mini spinach frittatas are easy for little hands to hold, healthy and packed full of all-important greens. It takes just seven ingredients and a muffin tin to bake these marvellous marbled treats. Not a fan of spinach? Try making a batch of mini butternut squash frittatas at the weekend, ready for midweek snacking.

5. Stuffed Moroccan pitta

Pitta bread with falafel and houmous in hands with napkin

Hearty chickpea falafels, creamy hummus and crunchy red pepper stuffed into pitta pockets makes a simple veggie lunch the kids will want more of. Use shop-bought hummus and falafels if you need a quick fix. If you want to make your own, try our easy falafel recipe with a quick hummus.

6. Chicken, carrot & avocado rolls

Chicken and avocado tortilla wrap in lunchbox with orange

Lunch is all wrapped up with our simple, quick chicken tortilla rolls. Raid the fridge and put together the perfect mix of cheese, chicken and avocado for a midday hunger killer. For a packed lunch, wrap them in cling film and twist them shut to avoid spillage in school bags.

7. Tuna rice salad

Tuna salad with peppers and sweetcorn in dish

Ensure the kids are eating well with rainbow rice salads, designed with easy meal prep in mind – make the rice base in a batch and divide up for the whole family. Our healthy tuna-topped version provides a protein boost and for more grown-up tastebuds, there’s a feta and beetroot variation.

8. Turkey & pepper pittas

Turkey & avocado pitta pockets with soured cream

These snacky turkey pittas served with a dollop of soured cream and soft pieces of avocado make a dreamy lunch. Older kids may be up for a sprinkle of chilli flakes, too, along with peppers for satisfying crunch. If putting in a lunchbox, pack the soured cream in an extra pot so the pittas don’t get soggy.

9. Green bean & penne salad

Green bean pasta with salad in lunchbox with fork

This speedy pasta salad with a healthy tomato and basil dressing counts as three of your five-a-day and is sure to perk up any lunchbox. It’s a colourful recipe that blows beige sandwiches out of the water. Top up with rocket and basil for extra greens.

10. Chicken & tzatziki wraps

Chicken and salad on wraps on board with herbs and chicken skewers

Give the kids a taste of summer hot off the griddle pan with our chicken & tzatziki wraps. Wrap up your chicken and pepper chunks with a healthy spread of tzatziki and a handful of baby spinach for a filling, picnic-style lunch.

Toddler Lunch Ideas Even the Pickiest Eaters Will Love

toddler lunch ideas Baked Mac And Cheese Bites Recipe

 BAKED MAC-AND-CHEESE BITES

Macaroni and cheese is always a good idea, but when it comes in a portable, pre-portioned package, it’s even better. Since the leftovers store beautifully, you’ll even have lunch for a few days.

toddler lunch ideas Baking Sheet Quesadilla Recipe

 BAKING SHEET QUESADILLAS

Instead of making a bunch of individual quesadillas, save time by making one big one and cutting it into manageable squares. (Bonus points if you can sneak in a veggie or two.)

toddler lunch ideas meal prep creamy pasta salad broccoli recipe

 MEAL-PREP CREAMY PASTA SALAD WITH BROCCOLI AND RAISINS

Our advice? Make the raisins optional.

toddler lunch ideas blt pasta salad recipe hero

 BLT PASTA SALAD

What’s the secret to getting your kid to eat romaine? Toss it with lots of fun, ruffly noodles and a bunch of bacon, of course.

toddler lunch ideas turkey spinach pinwheel meal prep recipe

TURKEY SPINACH PINWHEELS MEAL PREP

Kiddo hates turkey? Swap in ham or chicken. No-go on the spinach? Skip it. These easy lunchboxes are endlessly adaptable—pick whatever fruit and veggie they like.

toddler lunch ideas Crispy Cauliflower Tacos Recipe

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER TACOS

Good news: Crispy cauliflower looks a lot like chicken nuggets. Start ’em on taco Tuesday early.

toddler lunch ideas homemade fish sticks recipe

HOMEMADE HEALTHY FISH STICKS

They’re even easier than the ones you buy from the freezer section.

toddler lunch ideas sandwich on a stick recipe

 SANDWICH ON A STICK

Cute? Check. Fun to eat? Check, check. We think all sandwiches should be served on a stick.

toddler lunch ideas Veggie Sushi Recipe

VEGGIE SUSHI

This is just practice for when your kid graduates to the real thing. (OK, maybe they’ll start with California rolls).

HEALTHY MAC AND CHEESE

Since every meal can’t possibly be smothered in cheese sauce (believe us, we’ve tried), this one has a secret: It’s made with butternut squash instead.

toddler lunch ideas baked chicken tenders

CRISPY BAKED CHICKEN TENDERS

Wanna know a secret? There’s zero frying involved. We knew there was a reason you loved chicken tenders.

toddler lunch ideas peanut butter apple cinnamon sushi rolls recipe

PEANUT BUTTER APPLE CINNAMON SUSHI ROLLS

His two favorite food groups in one fun-to-eat package.

toddler lunch ideas ham egg and cheese breakfast quesadillas recipe

HAM, EGG AND CHEESE BREAKFAST QUESADILLAS

If you can have breakfast for dinner, you can have breakfast for lunch. These ham and cheese quesadillas take only 30 minutes to make, and they even have a little broccoli snuck in there for good measure.

toddler lunch ideas roasted broccoli grilled cheese recipe

ROASTED BROCCOLI GRILLED CHEESE

Broccoli sneaks its way in again, this time in a kid-friendly (and healthy-ish) spin on grilled cheese.

toddler lunch ideas Avocado And Black Bean Pasta Salad Recipe

AVOCADO AND BLACK BEAN PASTA SALAD

Because even your three-year-old isn’t immune to the appeal of corkscrew-shaped pasta.

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