Hey! You’re reading my lunch ideas for 2 year old daycare article. I’ve been writing a bunch of these lately and got tired of typing it every time, so I decided to make this. These are all things that can be eaten by children in the 2 year old daycare age range.
Your 2 year old daycare student might not like the same kind of food as yours. Here are some lunch ideas for your 2 year old daycare student.
Lunch Ideas For 2 Year Old Daycare
Packing lunches for daycare, preschool or anywhere on the go present a whole new challenge for feeding toddlers. We figure out how to create healthy, yummy meals at home but packing lunches to go can be confusing at first. It doesn’t have to be though! These 12 toddler lunch ideas for daycare or preschool will give you some ideas for packing easy lunches for your little ones.
Related: 5 Steps to Take the Stress out of Lunch! (Weekly Make Ahead Lunches)
When Miles started camp this summer, he got really excited about his new lunch box and picking out some of the items he was going to have. I would give him simple choices- like bananas or strawberries, carrots or cucumbers, etc. They don’t have to be elaborate meals. Just get a few foods in each food group at your weekly grocery trip and rotate them around for the week.
**Make sure you scroll to the end of the post and download your own list of easy lunch ideas! Has over 50 items you can reference to create even more yummy lunches.
- Aim for a Balanced Meal- Each lunch doesn’t have to be perfect, but it helps in figuring out what to include if you think about having something from each food group and making it as colorful as possible. They won’t always include everything and that is okay, but aim for a protein, grains, dairy, vegetable and fruit to round out the lunch.
- Include your Child- Have them help with lunch preparation. It can be in the simplest way as making a few easy choices or actually helping make items like sandwiches. Don’t include lots of things they have never seen, but once in a while I like to add something new along their favorite. And I don’t give up after the first day!
- Be Patient and Relaxed- Don’t take it personal if it doesn’t all go well. But lunch won’t always come back completely eaten. They may not even touch their vegetables- but that doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow! Repeated exposure to certain foods usually helps a child be more comfortable and give it a try. It is a long term process, little by little they start to eat different foods. The quantity isn’t a perfect science either- their hunger will also change daily based on how active they were or how large their breakfast was.
BEST TODDLER LUNCH BOXES
You do not have to get a special lunchbox. I personally have loved these and my son Miles in particular gets really excited about taking them for lunch. You can use tupperware or any container, but I have loved these for a few reasons. The compartments just make it so easy to include different food groups. It only requires one container instead of multiple. And they don’t leak! Easy for them to eat out of and easy for us to clean- win, win.
YUMBOX Original Bento Lunch Box– I’ve loved these- the design is really cute and functional. The bottom of the container is labeled with the different food groups to help you organize your meals. They are also lightweight and easy to wash.
Bentgo Kids Lunch Box– My other favorite. They are more suited for sandwiches than the Yumbox, so I usually grab one of these if I am putting something bigger in their lunch. It is a little heavier, but it fits in our Pottery Barn lunch bag a lot easier than the other.
12 TODDLER LUNCH IDEAS FOR DAYCARE OR PRESCHOOL
1) Cream cheese, bell pepper and olive pinwheels, carrots with hummus, salami and raspberries.
2) Tuna salad with crackers, tomatoes, olives, green apples and HappyTot yogurt.
3) English muffin pizza, popcorn, snap peas, pineapple with Annie’s chocolate bunnies.
4) Turkey, salami and Babybel cheese with crackers, carrots with ranch, blueberries and greek yogurt with honey.
5) Hard boiled egg, pretzels, red bell peppers, hummus, grapes, greek yogurt with honey and blueberries.
6) Cheese quesadilla, avocado, salsa, red bell peppers and blueberries.
7) Banana, peanut butter pinwheels, cheese cubes, cucumbers, Happykid granola bar, strawberries and trail mix.
8) Pasta salad, cubed chicken breast, carrots, bananas, GoGo applesauce and Annie’s chocolate bunnies.
9) Chicken, cheese and tomatoes tacos, avocado, salsa, Annie’s cheese cracker bunnies and RXBar.
10) Turkey and cheese sandwich, tomatoes with ranch, clementines and almond/cranberry trail mix.
11) Avocado sandwich, red apple, cucumbers, trail mix and graham crackers.
12) Whole grain waffles with maple syrup, hard boiled egg, Gouda cheese strips, kiwi and yogurt with granola and strawberries.
Toddler Lunch Ideas (No Reheat Required!)
1. Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches
Let’s start with the basics: a good turkey and cheese sandwich! This is always a win and go-to for a healthy and easy toddler lunch idea. Pair it with sliced cucumbers and clementines for a yummy meal!
2. Avocado Egg Salad
Make this avocado egg salad in the morning and have it both for yourself and your toddler at lunch. Paired with whole wheat toast and fruit, this makes for a delicious and wholesome toddler meal. No reheating required!
3. Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes
These higher-protein Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes are a great way to add nutrition to your toddler’s lunch. Pair them with a hard boiled egg (or scrambled eggs) for a lunch they won’t resist!
4. Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice
As long as it’s kept cold, this recipe doesn’t have to be reheated and little ones tend to LOVE it! Adjust the recipe to your toddler’s taste buds and pair with fresh fruit for a make-ahead lunch recipe and toddler lunch idea that everyone in the family will love.
5. Spanish Rice & Beans
You can’t go wrong with rice and beans! Add a whole wheat tortilla (cut into pieces, if necessary) and plain yogurt for an easy, quick toddler lunch.
6. Healthy Chicken Broccoli Pasta Casserole
While this meal is great warmed up, it can also be served cold in your little one’s lunchbox! Make this chicken broccoli pasta casserole the night before and pair it with fresh fruit and veggies.
7. Shredded Barbecue Chicken
Anyone else’s toddler REALLY obsessed with “dipping” sauce? Shredded chicken, a healthy barbecue sauce or a yogurt based ranch dressing, sliced peaches, and sweet potato “fries” (aka roasted sweet potatoes cut into a french fry shape) make for a next level toddler lunch they can be proud of!
8. Easy Protein Waffles Recipe
Your little one will feel like they’re getting a treat for lunch while still getting loads of nutrition! Pair these protein waffles with scrambled eggs and berries for a delicious breakfast for lunch.
9. Creamy Salmon Pasta
This creamy salmon pasta is dairy-free and delicious! Pair this main dish with hummus and soft veggies for an easy toddler lunchbox idea.
10. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
You really can’t ever go wrong with a classic grilled cheese paired with fresh fruit and hummus! So easy and a toddler fave.
11. Greek Yogurt Pancakes
The best pancakes made with plain, high-protein greek yogurt! Pair with scrambled eggs and banana or berries for an easy toddler lunch idea that they’ll love. You can even add extra yogurt on top!
12. Margherita Pita Bread Pizzas
What toddler doesn’t love pizza? These pizzas are incredibly easy to make and perfect for a little one’s lunch box. Pair with hummus and steamed carrots for a yummy toddler meal idea!
5 TODDLER LUNCH IDEAS FOR DAYCARE (NO REHEATING REQUIRED)
TODDLER LUNCH IDEA #: EGG AND CHEESE MINI MUFFINS
These easy to make egg muffins are good at room temperature or heated (and they work well to make-ahead). I love them since they have a veggie tucked right inside! Include whole grain crackers or pita bread, some fruit, and perhaps some beans or simple veggies along side.
KIDS LUNCHBOX IDEA # VEGGIE MUFFINS
These Sweet Spinach Banana Muffins, Carrot Cake Muffins, Savory Veggie Muffins, or Flourless Cocoa Muffins with protein and hidden veggies are a perfect lunch option. They’re a balanced meal all on their own and are easy to enhance with a side of yogurt or a cheese stick, a piece of fruit, and maybe a little cubed chicken, turkey, or ham.
EASY LUNCH IDEA # TORTILLA ROLL UPS
Spread Sunbutter or other favorite nut butter onto a soft flour or whole grain tortilla and top with a banana or whole-fruit jam. Roll up and slice. Add thawed edamame, puffs, clementine, or another favorite fruit and veggie alongside. Or, try spreading on cream cheese, add a piece of sliced turkey, and roll up into a simple wrap.
KIDS LUNCH IDEA #HAM AND CHEESE BOX
Pair diced ham with shredded cheese and a whole grain bread or muffin as a sort of toddler-friendly sandwich. Add simple produce options such as thinly sliced cucumber and clementine to round it out. (You can use a different lunch meat or shredded cooked chicken or turkey if you prefer.)
TODDLER LUNCHBOX IDEA #SANDWICH BREAD SPIRALS
Roll soft whole grain sandwich bread flat and thin with a rolling pin. Spread on cream cheese and jelly, nut butter and jam, mashed sweet potato and nut butter, hummus, mashed beans and salsa, or herbed goat cheese. Slice and serve as spirals with simple sides like fruit and yogurt to round things out.
DAYCARE LUNCH IDEA #LEFTOVER PANCAKE OR WAFFLE SANDWICHES
The next time you have pancakes on the weekend, double the batch and place leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Spread nut butter (use Sunbutter if lunch needs to be allergy-free) or cream cheese and jam or honey between for a simple, but unexpected sandwich. Add halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, cheese, or berries on the side.
TODDLER LUNCHBOX IDEA # YOGURT AND GRANOLA
This is one of our favorite toddler lunch ideas, especially when it seems like we’re out of food! Layer granola (remove any big clumps or whole nuts) over yogurt. Add simple sides like fruit and tomatoes. The granola will soften a bit as it sits in the thermos to ensure it’s easy to chew.
TODDLER LUNCH IDEA #OVERNIGHT OATS WITH YOGURT AND BERRIES
There’s no reason you can’t do breakfast for lunch—and you could spoon this yogurt and oat mixture into a reusable pouch if it’s blended smooth if you think that will be easier for your toddler. Include sliced fresh veggies like halved cherry tomatoes, fresh snap peas, or shredded carrots or leftover roasted veggies, whole grain crackers, and/or some beans or shredded meat for added protein. (And this Applesauce Overnight Oats recipe can actually be stirred together in the morning and it will be soft enough by lunchtime—if you don’t think to do it the night before.)
EASY LUNCH IDEA # SNACK BOX
Add cheese (slices, cubes, or string cheese); meat (cut up deli meat, leftover shredded chicken or beef); thawed frozen peas or corn, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots; cut grapes, berries, melon, or another favorite fruit, to a lunchbox. Put in a few crackers or a favorite dry cereal and call it good with a simple, and toddler-pleasing snack lunch!
KIDS LUNCHBOX IDEA # SOFT-ROASTED CINNAMON CHICKPEAS
Pair these flavorful beans with whole grain crackers, diced veggies, cheese, and a piece of fruit for a simple snack lunch. (Or pair with leftover rice, shredded chicken, and roasted veggies.) They’re a little salty, a little sweet, and are packed with easy-to-eat nutrition.