Healthy Preschool Lunch Ideas, Menus & Snacks
Obesity is everywhere today. There are more under nourished children today due to a lack of healthy snacks & proper food recipe considerations. Many children are sent to schools either hungry, without food or with sugar rich foods first thing in the morning. We need to nourish our kids with better food choices.
Nutritious eating can be fun for everyone, including your kids! A healthy, nutritious diet is essential to keep your preschoolers, toddlers and children full of energy and well nourished while they grow and develop.
Eating proper healthy pre k snacks & food recipes will make your children feel great, provide more healthy productive energy, as well as improve their concentration and individual dispositions while they grow and interact with other active, healthy children.
Nutritious food and snacks are the foundation of proper development both physically and mentally. Always try to think healthy or add to foods and snacks to add value.
10 Add-in Lunch Menu Ideas for Preschoolers
Each snack listed below is not a full complete lunch. These are healthy snack/treats you can use to compliment any lunch and also to add variety.
What am I going to make for lunch? I think that’s the most popular question as the school year begins for your children.
Here are some tips that are healthy and quick to make for your preschoolers, and young children, to fill those hungry little tummies while giving them the energy they need to get through their active day. These snacks can be used as daycare lunch menu ideas as well.
Lunch Idea #1– Wraps. I find wraps are so much easier to prepare than a sandwich is. Here’s what you do:
Buy small whole wheat wraps. Spread a thin layer of mayo or butter, lay your child’s favorite meat on top of the mayo or butter, spread whatever condiments they like on top and roll into a tight log.
Cut width-wise on angles. Your children will think it’s so neat eat their sandwich in a cool new way.
If your child likes cheese, you can even do a cheese log for a surprise one day. Shred marble cheese into the wrap and follow the wrapping and cutting directions above.
Lunch Idea #2– Fall approaches quick with the new school year. To keep them full throughout the day, pack their lunches with hearty, stick to their ribs, snack ideas. Example: Buy oatmeal based cookies, buy granola and oatmeal based bars. For a special treat, make hearty oat based squares or even trail mix, nuts and bolts, etc. (simple recipes can be found on our recipe pages).
Lunch Idea #3– Pack a yummy soup in a thermos and add cheese and crackers as a side.
Lunch Idea #4– For a surprise on an exceptionally chilly day, send a thermos with some nice warm hot chocolate they can enjoy with their lunch.
Lunch Idea #5– Instead of a sandwich everyday, change it up by sending some of their favorite meat rolled up in a baggie with a side of some yummy seasoned bread sticks and some cheese.
“Healthy daycare lunch menus and snacks for your kids can be nutritious and delicious for children!”
Lunch Idea #6– Send some super fast cheesecake for your child as a special dessert. Spread one graham cracker with cream cheese, spread some strawberry jam on the cream cheese and top with another graham cracker. There you are—-cheesecake to go!
Lunch Idea #7– Change up your child’s lunch easily by mixing up different food on different days: One day pudding, one day have yogurt, one day have fruit bars. Your child won’t be bored with their lunch and they will look forward to checking what they will get each day.
Lunch Idea #8– Sending veggies and dip doesn’t have to be an all-night chopping job. Choose one veggie per day. Slice up some cucumber one day and send with a small container of dip.
The next day send carrots. The next day send broccoli. Then the next week try a fruit and dip one day, and another kind the next day.
As adults we forget how simple we can make things. Your child doesn’t need every kind of fruit or vegetable at every serving. As long as they eat healthy every day, you can keep it simple by sticking to one fruit and vegetable at a time. A popular dip I find that kids really enjoy is as simple as ranch salad dressing.
Lunch Idea #9– Ever try bagels with cream cheese for lunch? We don’t need to send meat with every lunch we make. Cream cheese has protein and it is hearty enough to keep them full and will provide them with the energy they need to get through the afternoon.
Some hit combinations are:
- Cheese bagels with herb and garlic or plain cream cheese,
- everything bagels with onion or plain cream cheese,
- plain bagels with pineapple or plain cream cheese,
- blueberry bagels with strawberry or plain cream cheese,
- whole wheat bagels with light cream cheese,
- poppy seed, or sesame seed bagels with any of the cream cheeses listed above.
A bagel can help make preparing lunch a snap once or twice a week. A great compliment with bagels are watery based fruits and veggies. (grapes, cucumbers, oranges, clementines, watermelon, celery, peaches, etc.)
Lunch Idea #10– Never forget to send along with your child a small water bottle.
Milk and juice are nutritious and delicious for our children to consume, but when they get playing, their bodies will be asking for water. They should have time to take a sip of it before or after recess when they go to their cubbies.
If your child attends daycare, ask to keep a water bottle with your child’s name on it in the fridge and ask that they make it available to your child throughout the day.
If you are an at home day care provider, make sure you ask children throughout the day if they would like to have a glass of water. Especially after periods of physical activity.
*Added Bonus Healthy Lunch Idea:
If you don’t like spreading mayo or butter on your child’s sandwiches because of the high fat content, try spreading a thin layer of cream cheese on the bread instead. It is delicious and is so much lower in fat than the spreads mentioned above.
Today, there are much better healthier choices and you can compare the ingredients if you are watching fat etc.
It also adds variety to sandwiches if your child enjoys the different flavors they offer with cream cheese. Be adventurous with food, experiment, it’s so much fun!
*Of course for daycare and home care settings, you would omit thermoses, baggies and other packed lunch utensils as you would be providing the food directly to the children at lunch time.
PROTEIN RICH KIDS SNACK IDEA:
Requirements For This Healthy Preschool Snack:
- cream cheese or peanut butter (or both)
- olive slices
Have chopped celery sticks on the table. Ask the children if they would like their celery filled with either cream cheese or peanut butter. If they don’t want any filling, don’t force it. Ask if they would like to decorate their cream cheese with olive slices or peanut butter with raisins.
Do the same as above with crackers. Great choices for crackers are Ritz, Breton, and/or Graham Crackers. Makes a Great, Healthy and Fun Snack for kids.
**Have fresh juice, milk or water available to drink.
More Great Resources for Lunch & Snack Ideas:
If you are a mom/parent and you are stuck for preschool lunch ideas and snack ideas, or maybe something fun and new for your preschoolers or family, you are in luck. With resources like instagram and pinterest today online, it makes it easy to find new ideas. Check out this page #healthylittlelunchbox for images of prepared lunches and snack ideas for kids from a mom/dietician.