10 School Lunch Ideas for kindergarteners and even older kids. These school lunches are easy to make, healthy, nut-free, kid-friendly, and the perfect way to start the school year.
In this post, I'm sharing healthy lunch and snack ideas including Indian, vegetarian options that are wholesome, nutritious, colorful and even a picky eater would love to eat!!
My older one started kindergarten last year and so did our journey with school lunches.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen the lunch boxes that I packed for her. It got so much love there that I decided to consolidate some on this space.
We all need inspiration when it comes to kids' lunch boxes, don't we?
Below you will find the lunches we loved during kindergarten. For more inspiration, check Back To School Lunch Ideas.
Table of contents
- What to pack for Kindergarten lunchbox
- Best Lunchbox for school
- Lunchbox Planning Tips
- Easy and Healthy School lunchbox ideas
- 1. Mini Uttapam
- 2. Avocado Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwich
- 3. Leftover Dal Paratha
- 4. Paneer and Peas Pulao
- 5. Pizza Pinwheels
- 6. Instant Buttermilk Pancakes
- 7. Instant Wheat Dosa with Veggies
- 8. Ravioli
- 9. Palak Paneer Paratha
- 10. Pav Bhaji
- Snack Ideas
- 1. Chicken Nuggets and Berries
- 2. Chocolate Banana Muffins
- 3. Yogurt and Fruits
- 4. Hummus with Carrots
- 5. Boiled Egg and Fruits
- More Lunch ideas for school
- More Snack ideas for school lunch
What to pack for Kindergarten lunchbox
For Kindergarten, pack a school lunch that is nutritious, easy to eat, finger foods, small portions, a variety, and most importantly food that your kid likes.
One of the biggest changes for most kids starting kindergarten is the time limit for their lunch. In addition, they have a distraction to talk and play with their friends without a mom yelling to finish their lunch so having familiar and easy food truly helps!!
Initially, both you and your child will be exploring so do a few trials and see what works for you. The idea of a school lunch should be easy and less stressful for both!
Best Lunchbox for school
For kid's lunchboxes, opt for ones that are easy to open, simple design, lightweight, and preferably that they wouldn't outgrow.
Depending on your preference, choose either an insulated lunch box that keeps food warm or bento-style which allows packing a variety of food (but doesn't keep it warm).
There are tons of options available now but personally, we prefer stainless steel ones over the plastic kind. They have held up really well over the years and are dishwasher safe which is a lifesaver.
I strongly advise you to let the kids practice and familiarise themselves with the lunchbox prior to their school starts to make it easy for them.
We use LunchBots Bento Trio Large Stainless Steel Food Container for main lunch and for snacks or smaller meals LunchBots Trio II Stainless Steel Food Container.
Lunchbox Planning Tips
Plan school lunches with weekly meal planning and if possible make it an extension of your dinner. For example: if you are eating rice for dinner make extra and then stir fry it in the morning or night before for lunch box.
Involve the kids in the planning. It makes it easier and they tend to eat their lunchbox better. Listen to their needs and where possible provide alternatives.
Prep ahead to save time in the mornings. I prefer to pack a lunch box in the morning but do any prep required at night or over the weekend.
Pack a colorful lunch, after all, we eat with our eyes first, don't we!! If your kid doesn't like raw veggies, add them to cooked food. Most kids might eat cooked veggies that are part of a meal vs packed separately.
It's all about balance. In addition to providing healthy options like fruits and veggies, reward with some kind of treat (small portions) where possible to maintain that balance.
Adjust portion size to your kid's appetite and preference. Kindergarten may need smaller portions compared to a 4th grader and so on.
Pack what works best for you and your kiddo. Every kid is different, some eat everything whereas some are picky. Some like bread, some don't, some like cheese, some don't, some like their food warm while some don't mind it cold. You get the picture!! Adapt and adjust accordingly.
Disclaimer: I'm by no means an expert or a nutritionist. This is just our lunch box journey that I'm sharing with you all. Hope it helps give ideas for packing your kid's lunches!!
Easy and Healthy School lunchbox ideas
Here are some easy, healthy, nut-free kindergarten lunches which work for preschoolers and older kids too. They are made with simple Ingredients but loaded with nutrition which is key to keep kids happy, full, and energized during school time.
1. Mini Uttapam
Onion tomato uttapam with coconut coriander chutney and chocolate-coated sunflower seeds as a sweet treat.
2. Avocado Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwich
Avocado cream cheese sandwich, baby carrots, and cucumbers with hummus and coconut chocolate rolls as a sweet treat. Love these snack-size hummus containers from Costco.
3. Leftover Dal Paratha
Dal paratha (wholewheat flatbread made with leftover lentils) makes an easy nutritious meal. Packed with tomato ketchup for dipping and sliced mini cucumbers.
4. Paneer and Peas Pulao
Matar Paneer Pulao with Grapes and pomegranate, cookies as a sweet treat
5. Pizza Pinwheels
Pizza Pinwheels with loads of cheese and veggies. Packed ketchup and mayo mix for dipping, chocolate-filled vanilla wafer as a sweet treat.
6. Instant Buttermilk Pancakes
Eggless buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, applesauce, and sliced strawberries.
7. Instant Wheat Dosa with Veggies
Instant Whole Wheat Vegetable Dosa, savory pancakes (dosa) made with whole wheat flour, and added carrot, tomatoes, and onions with lots of cilantro. Packed with cucumber flowers and heart-shaped Belgian cookie.
Spinach and Cheese Ravioli (from Costco) sauteed with corn, peas, and lots of Parmesan cheese. Packed with dye-free chocolate-covered sunflower seeds from Traderjoes (these are our new favorite treats) and Strawberry.
9. Palak Paneer Paratha
Palak Paneer Paratha ( spinach and cheese stuffed whole wheat flatbread), ketchup for dipping, and Belgium cookie as a sweet treat.
10. Pav Bhaji
Pav bhaji rolls - roast dinner rolls in some butter, add cheese, and layer bhaji (made it a bit dry by cooking it longer). Packed with black and green grapes and chocolate-filled vanilla wafers as a sweet treat.
Here are some easy snack ideas for those snack breaks before and after lunchtime.
1. Chicken Nuggets and Berries
Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets (store-bought or homemade baked chicken nuggets), strawberries, and blueberries.
2. Chocolate Banana Muffins
Eggless Chocolate Banana Cake baked as muffin without nuts, Clementine, red grapes, and cheese curls
3. Yogurt and Fruits
Strawberry flavored Yogurt, raisins mango, white cheddar corn puffs
4. Hummus with Carrots
Baby Carrots with Hummus, orange slices, blueberries, and Edamame puffs.
5. Boiled Egg and Fruits
Boiled Egg, baby banana, and mango cubes
More Lunch ideas for school
More Snack ideas for school lunch
Hope you enjoy these healthy School lunch ideas for Kids !! If you give this recipe a try, please rate by clicking stars ⭐️ on the recipe card. Thank you ❤️! You can also follow me on Facebook | Instagram to see what’s cooking in my kitchen!!
School Lunch Ideas for Kids
Update Notes: This post was originally published on Jan 27, 2019, but was republished, with tips in Aug of 2021.