20 Toddler-Approved Recipes with Tips & Tricks

kids daycare lunch ideas

As a parent, ensuring your toddler receives a nutritious and satisfying lunch while at daycare can be a daily challenge. Picky eating habits, dietary restrictions, and the need for portability can make packing lunches a daunting task. Fear not, fellow parents! We’ve compiled a collection of 20 delightful toddler lunch recipes that are not only kid-friendly but also easy to prepare and transport. From classic favorites to creative twists, these recipes are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. So, let’s dive in and explore these lunchtime delights!

1. Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Cream cheese or hummus
  • Thinly sliced veggies (carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.)


  1. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese or hummus onto a tortilla.
  2. Arrange sliced veggies in a rainbow pattern on top of the spread.
  3. Tightly roll up the tortilla.
  4. Slice the rolled tortilla into pinwheels.

Tip: Use a variety of colorful veggies to make it visually appealing and encourage your toddler to try new flavors.

2. Bento Box Lunchbox Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pita bread or mini pitas
  • Sliced deli meat or cooked chicken
  • Sliced cheese
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cucumber slices
  • Carrot sticks
  • Hummus or tzatziki for dipping


  1. Stuff the pita bread with sliced meat and cheese.
  2. Arrange the veggies and dip in separate compartments of a bento-style lunchbox.

Trick: Use fun cookie cutters to shape the cheese or veggies into interesting shapes to make it more exciting for your little one.

3. Fruity Yogurt Parfaits Ingredients:

Fruity Yogurt Parfaits
  • Greek yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Granola or crushed graham crackers


  1. Layer yogurt, berries, and granola/graham crackers in a small container or jar.
  2. Repeat the layers until the container is full.

Tip: Customize the parfait with your toddler’s favorite fruits and toppings.

4. Mini Breakfast Muffins Ingredients:

mini breakfast muffin
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Mashed ripe banana or applesauce
  • Mix-ins (blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.)


  1. Preheat the oven and prepare a mini muffin tin.
  2. In one bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Gently fold in any desired mix-ins.
  6. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Trick: Bake a batch on the weekend and freeze them for easy grab-and-go breakfasts or lunchbox additions throughout the week.

5. Cheesy Quesadillas

Cheesy Quesadillas
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)
  • Optional fillings (shredded chicken, beans, veggies)


  1. Sprinkle one half of a tortilla with shredded cheese and any desired fillings.
  2. Fold the tortilla in half and press gently to seal.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the quesadilla on both sides until golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  4. Let cool slightly before slicing into triangles or strips.

Tip: Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dipping.

6. Mini Bagel Sandwiches Ingredients:

  • Mini whole wheat bagels
  • Cream cheese or nut butter
  • Sliced fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, etc.)


  1. Slice the bagels in half and spread with cream cheese or nut butter.
  2. Top one half with sliced fruit.
  3. Sandwich the two halves together.

Trick: Use fun-shaped cookie cutters to cut the bagels or fruit into fun shapes for added excitement.

7. Veggie Sushi Rolls Ingredients:

  • Sushi rice (cooked and cooled)
  • Nori sheets (seaweed sheets)
  • Sliced or grated veggies (carrots, cucumbers, avocado, etc.)


  1. Place a nori sheet on a bamboo sushi mat or clean surface.
  2. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the nori sheet, leaving a small border on one side.
  3. Arrange sliced veggies in a line across the center of the rice.
  4. Using the mat or clean surface, tightly roll up the nori sheet around the veggies.
  5. Slice the roll into bite-sized pieces.

Tip: Serve with a small container of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce for dipping.

8. Hummus and Veggie Wraps Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat tortillas or wraps
  • Hummus
  • Sliced or grated veggies (carrots, bell peppers, spinach, etc.)


  1. Spread a thin layer of hummus onto a tortilla or wrap.
  2. Arrange sliced or grated veggies in a line across the center.
  3. Tightly roll up the tortilla or wrap around the veggies.
  4. Slice into pinwheels or leave whole for a handheld wrap.

Trick: Add a sprinkle of feta or shredded cheese for an extra protein boost.

9. DIY Trail Mix Ingredients:

DIY Trail Mix
  • Whole grain cereal (like Cheerios or Chex)
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • Pretzels or popcorn


  1. In a large bowl or container, combine equal parts of the desired ingredients.
  2. Mix well and store in an airtight container or bag.

Tip: Let your toddler help mix and choose their favorite combinations for a fun activity.

10. Banana Sushi Rolls Ingredients:

Banana Sushi Rolls
  • Whole wheat tortillas or wraps
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond, or sunflower)
  • Ripe bananas
  • Optional toppings (granola, honey, chocolate chips, etc.)


  1. Spread a thin layer of nut butter onto a tortilla or wrap.
  2. Place a peeled banana along the center of the tortilla or wrap.
  3. Tightly roll up the tortilla or wrap around the banana.
  4. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Serve with any desired toppings for dipping or sprinkling.

Trick: Use different nut butters or add a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra flavor.

11. Caprese Skewers Ingredients:

  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese balls or cubes
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze or dressing (optional)


  1. Thread tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves onto skewers or toothpicks.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic glaze or dressing, if desired.

Tip: For extra protein, you can also include cubes of cooked chicken or turkey on the skewers.

12. Mini Frittatas Ingredients:

Mini Frittatas
  • Eggs
  • Milk or water
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced veggies (spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven and grease a mini muffin tin.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk or water.
  3. Add the shredded cheese, diced veggies, and seasonings, and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake until the frittatas are set and lightly golden on top.
  6. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.


    Trick: You can make a big batch of frittatas on the weekend and reheat them for quick lunchbox additions during the week.

13. Tuna or Egg Salad Boats Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pita bread or mini pitas
  • Tuna salad or egg salad
  • Sliced veggies (cucumber, tomato, lettuce, etc.)


  1. Cut the pita bread in half to form a “boat” shape.
  2. Stuff the pita halves with tuna salad or egg salad.
  3. Arrange sliced veggies on top or on the side.

Tip: Add a sprinkle of shredded cheese or a dollop of hummus for extra flavor and nutrition.

14. Fruit Kabobs Ingredients:

  • Assorted fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, melon, pineapple, etc.)
  • Wooden skewers or popsicle sticks


  1. Thread the fruit onto the skewers or popsicle sticks, alternating different types of fruit.
  2. Serve with a yogurt-based dip or nut butter for dipping, if desired.

Trick: Use fun-shaped cookie cutters to cut the fruit into interesting shapes before skewering.

15. Pizza Lunchables Ingredients:

Pizza Lunchables
  • Whole wheat English muffins or pita bread
  • Tomato sauce or pesto
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced veggies (peppers, mushrooms, olives, etc.)


  1. Toast the English muffins or pita bread.
  2. Spread with tomato sauce or pesto.
  3. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and desired veggie toppings.
  4. Pack the components separately in the lunchbox, along with a small container for any extra sauce or pesto.

Tip: Let your toddler assemble their own mini pizza at lunchtime for a fun and interactive meal.

16. Baked Sweet Potato Fries Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and desired seasonings (cinnamon, paprika, etc.)


  1. Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into thin fry-shaped strips.
  3. Toss the sweet potato fries with oil and seasonings until well coated.
  4. Arrange the fries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake until tender and crispy, flipping halfway through.

17. Turkey and Cheese Rollups Ingredients:

Turkey and Cheese Rollups
  • Sliced deli turkey or cooked turkey breast
  • Sliced cheese (cheddar, Swiss, etc.)
  • Whole wheat tortillas or wraps


  1. Place a slice of turkey and cheese onto a tortilla or wrap.
  2. Tightly roll up the tortilla or wrap around the turkey and cheese.
  3. Slice the rollup into pinwheels or leave whole.

Tip: Add a schmear of cream cheese or a slice of avocado for extra flavor and creaminess.

18. Cucumber Sandwiches Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Cream cheese or hummus
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • Optional toppings (dill, lemon juice, etc.)


  1. Spread cream cheese or hummus onto two slices of bread.
  2. Layer sliced cucumbers on one slice of bread.
  3. Add any desired toppings, like fresh dill or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Top with the other slice of bread to make a sandwich.

Trick: Use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwiches into fun shapes for added excitement.

19. Yogurt Parfait Popsicles Ingredients:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh or frozen fruit (berries, mango, etc.)
  • Granola or crushed graham crackers
  • Popsicle sticks or molds


  1. Layer yogurt, fruit, and granola or graham crackers in popsicle molds or small cups.
  2. Insert a popsicle stick into each mold or cup.
  3. Freeze until solid.
  4. Unmold and pack in the lunchbox with an ice pack.

Tip: You can make these parfait popsicles in advance and store them in the freezer for easy lunchbox additions.

20. Zucchini Bread Sandwiches Ingredients:

  • Homemade or store-bought zucchini bread
  • Cream cheese or nut butter
  • Fresh fruit (sliced bananas, berries, etc.)


  1. Spread cream cheese or nut butter onto two slices of zucchini bread.
  2. Layer fresh fruit on one slice of bread.
  3. Top with the other slice of bread to make a sandwich.

Trick: For extra protein, you can add a thin layer of sliced deli meat or cheese to the sandwich.

With these 20 delicious and nutritious toddler lunch recipes, you’re sure to have a variety of options to keep your little one’s lunchbox interesting and satisfying. Don’t be afraid to get creative and involve your toddler in the preparation process – it can make mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone. Happy packing!

Picture of Kidzoot Team

Kidzoot Team

Parenting tips and tricks from experts with years of experience in child rearing. Get practical advice and fun activities to enjoy with your kids from our team of parents and educators.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *