Lunch Ideas for Healthy Kids and Toddlers
A few weeks into summer and we are almost wishing for back to school time. With a constant barrage of “I’m hungry” you can feel like a short order cook. Active kids, especially playing outdoors in the summertime, need to refuel. Lunchtime is an important time for them to refuel their growing and active bodies and get the nutrients they need.
Between summer activities keeping kids (and you) moving, it’s easy to reach for the same lunch over and over again. But having the same go-to summer lunches day after day can get boring. And a lack of variety may mean a lack of nutrients. Healthy lunch ideas for kids don’t have to be tasteless or time consuming. To give kids the nutrients they need to keep playing at their best, pack them with healthy snacks and healthy foods for kids’ lunches when heading off to summer camps.
Make your kids plate the MyPlate way
You may have seen MyPlate growing up and chances are your kids will see it in school, too. Depending on your personal dietary preferences, MyPlate can be a great starting place for packing healthy kids lunches and snacks. Try making half your plate fruits and vegetables at most meals and snacks. Add a bit of protein, some grains, and calcium rich foods. Putting a little thought into the separate food groups, or parts of your child’s lunch, can help make sure it’s a complete meal.
Protein is what gives our body the building blocks to make muscle, repair cells from playing or exercise, and so many other vital functions. Protein, when paired with a fiber rich food, also helps toddlers and kids stay feeling fuller, longer. Protein is necessary for every age group but especially growing kids. Protein foods include beans (like chick peas or black beans), nuts, seeds, lentils, fish, eggs, poultry, beef, or pork. Some grains are also rich in protein, such as quinoa!
Half of our grains each day should come from whole grain sources. Whole grains are foods like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and popcorn. Whole grains are more nutrient rich than their refined grain counterparts (white bread, white rice). Whole grains contain more B vitamins, which are important when our body is creating energy for our little ones to play all day. Whole grains are also fiber rich. When paired with a protein food, they help kids and toddler feel fuller longer. It also helps keep their digestive tract healthy.
Some easy swaps for refined grain to whole are:
- Flour tortilla to corn tortilla
- Chips to whole grain rice cakes
- Club style crackers to wheat crackers
- White rice to brown rice
Fruits and Veggies
Summertime and it’s the best time of year for fresh, flavorful fruits and veggies! Everywhere you turn there are strawberries, cherries, watermelon, cucumbers, peaches, peppers, and tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables provide a huge variety of nutrients that help our body in a huge variety of ways. From night vision, to healing cuts and scrapes,to keeping our bodies regular - fruits and veggies do it all. If you’re prepping lunch for toddlers or kids, get them involved. Take them to the farmers market and let them pick out a new fruit or veggies to try that week in their lunches. When ripe, fruits and vegetables are delicious eating plain or as a snack. You can also blend them into smoothies or top them with dips. Remember - half of lunch should be fruit and veggies. All forms count - frozen, canned, fresh, or dried!
Healthy lunch ideas don’t have to be hard
You know the basics of a healthy lunch for kids and it doesn’t have to be complicated to put that knowledge into practice. A little planning and prepping goes a long way! Pick one day a week to look at the calendar, check out the family’s weekly schedule. Think:
- What meals do you need to plan for?
- Who will be eating them and what do they like?
- What foods do I have that I need to use or what food do I need to purchase?
- Find some time to prepare foods before you get into the rush of the week.
- Put meals together in bento boxes or prepped containers to make serving throughout the week easier.
Our favorite healthy lunch ideas
- Try something novel and fun- using toothpicks or skewers, alternate a cheese cube, grape, turkey slice, cucumber. Make it your own with your child’s favorite fruit, veggie, or protein.
- Spread nut butter on a whole grain tortilla, place a banana on the peanut butter side and roll it up. Serve with cucumbers or celery for a crunchy side.
- Make a quick quesadilla with cheese, black beans, and salsa. You can also add corn, peppers, or your favorite veggies. Serve with strawberries or peaches on the side!
- Hard boiled eggs, veggie chips, and fruit puree chia pudding is a great protein and fiber rich lunch that will keep kids full of the nutrients they need!
- Use roasted chicken to make quick and easy chicken salad, quesadilla, or a chicken sandwich. We serve our Chicken and Cheese sandwich with veggie chips and tasty dried apple rings.
- Even toddler lunch box ideas can be simple. No need for animal shaped sandwiches. Try offering a variety of dips for veggies, nuggets, or crackers. Salsa, tzatziki, hummus, or yogurt based ranch are all great, nutrient rich choices.
Healthy lunch ideas, easy, with Yumble
With Yumble, there’s no planning and no prep required, just easy lunch ideas for kids. Simply select the meals your child would enjoy and then enjoy your free time from not prepping lunches. Meals are delivered on a weekly basis and they’re ready-to-eat as soon as they hit your doorstep. All you have to do is refrigerate, heat, and let your kid’s devour their healthy, tasty, lunch.
Tasty and Healthy - we’ve covered it all.
Give yourself a break from the planning, prep, and worry of ticking all the nutrient boxes. WHen you choose Yumble for lunch, you know you’re serving a healthy lunch for kids. Made with high quality ingredients like whole grains, hidden veggies, and lean protein, Yumble meals give your child everything you would give them if it was homemade. But with Yumble you have more time to enjoy time with your little ones.
Different dietary preferences? No Problem.
We understand that every body works differently and may react to foods differently. That's why we made it easy to identify common allergens and avoid them in our lunches. Dairy Free? No problem. Egg free? Vegetarian? Soy free? Gluten Free? Picky Eater? We cover them all. You’ll find all our meals are clearly labeled so you can find the healthy lunch for your kid that works best for their body.
Note: we are nut-free but do not have a nut-free certification. Therefore we cannot guarantee cross-contamination. To learn more, be sure to check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
Looking for an easy way to get healthier lunches ready during the week? Yumble is the children’s healthy meal planner that does the hard work for you. We deliver fresh, delicious, fully prepared kids’ meals right to your door. Pick a plan that works best for your family, choose your weekly meals, and Yumble takes care of the rest. No cooking required! Ready to save time & serve nutritious meals? Interested in our food delivery service for easy, healthy lunches? Click here to get started!