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Preschool lunch ideas

This post is sponsored through my partnership with Bitsy’s Brainfood

The smell of sharpened pencils, textbooks, and notebook paper is in the air. Back to school season has officially arrived! While I admit that there are days where I’m SO thankful for the hot lunch option, for the most part, I enjoy putting together Liv’s little meals to take to school with her. (She goes for a few half days each week.) My favorite time to pack her lunch is when we’re cleaning up the kitchen from the previous night’s dinner. I mix and match from some favorites, and pack it up so it’s ready to grab and go in the morning. I try to do whatever I can at night to streamline our morning routine. I thought I’d share some of her faves if you’re looking for lunch box inspiration this school year!

Preschool lunch ideas 1 of 1

Please keep in mind that I’m not a Registered Dietitian. Just wanted to share some of the ideas and combos that have worked in our family, and have also encouraged Liv to eat the rainbow. 

Some supplies:

Lunch box

Bento box or small containers

Water bottle

Cookie cutters or sandwich shapes (optional)

Cold pack

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THE MAIN COURSE

1) Sandwich it up!

Favorite combos:

Turkey and cheese with a little mayo and mustard

Peanut butter (sunflower seed butter may be a good option if your school is nut-free. Trader Joe’s has an awesome one.), banana and cinnamon

Cookie cutter sandwich 1 of 1

*Sandwich tip: switch it up by cutting the sandwich into a shape -we have a heart sandwich cutter that Liv loves- or rolling it into a wrap before slicing

Almond butter (or sunflower seed butter) and jelly

Grilled cheese

BLT with turkey bacon and avocado

2) Pizza. I’ll pack leftover pizza from dinner, or make her an English muffin pizza with marinara, cheese, and olives. 

3) Pasta. She loves gnocchi (from Trader Joe’s) with Alfredo sauce, and Annie’s mac n’ cheese bunnies. If you pack the pasta in a thermos, it will stay warm until lunchtime. 

4) Deli meat roll-ups. Take your favorite deli meat, add some cheese or fillings, and roll up. 

5) Little meat and cracker stacks. These are like build-your-own Lunchables. I’ll grab some crackers (Trader Joe’s has pita crackers that she loves), top with a slice of cheese and some turkey.

6) Breakfast for lunch: French toast sticks and banana-egg pancakes do extremely well. I’ll leave them dry and pack a small container with syrup for dipping. 

7) Quesadillas or bean burritos. 

FRUIT AND VEG: 

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but here are some faves!

8) Bananas. Sometimes I’ll slice lengthwise and add almond butter (or sunflower seed butter) and sprinkle with cinnamon

9) Berries

10) Apple slices: add a little lemon juice so they don’t brown.

11) Tropical fruits or melon they enjoy

12) Whole or stone fruit, sliced and top with lemon juice

13) Crudites and dip

14) Sweet potato or butternut squash wedges

15) Kale or zucchini chips

16) Soup. This will stay warm in a thermos.

17) Pouches

18) Homemade fruit leather

Cookie cutter veg 1 of 1

*Veggie tip: cut the veggies or fruit using small cookie cutters. I have these ones from Pampered Chef and they’re the perfect size for little hands. Liv won’t touch plain chopped zucchini, but if it’s roasted or cut into a star, she’ll devour it. 

EXTRA SIDES:

Preschool lunch ideas 1 of 1 3

19) A little string cheese or Babybel cheese

20) Olives (Liv adores these)

21) Trail mix (again, be sure check with the school’s nut policy. All of Liv’s preschools so far have allowed nuts.)

22) Energy bites (for nut-free, use seeds and sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter)

23) Pretzels or crackers

SOMETHING SWEET:

24) A chocolate kiss

25) Gummies or fruit snacks

26) Homemade granola bars 

27) Bitsy’s Brainfood cookies or cereal. These are an amazing option, especially if your school is nut-free. Their cookies are free of nuts and also produced in a nut-free facility. Livi especially loves the Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin cookies, and the letter shapes make it a fun way to infuse learning into lunchtime. She really enjoys picking out the letters she knows, and we’ll spell out simple words together. You can find Bitsy’s at Target (here is the store locator) in the cookie aisle. It’s exciting to have this healthy option available, which encourage and empowers kids to choose foods that taste good while providing a nutrient boost. 

Bitsy’s Brainfood kindly offered a giveaway for 20 (!) lucky readers to try out their amazing products. 

Simply enter via the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winners will be chosen and contacted on September 3.

xoxo!
Gina 

 This post is sponsored by Bitsy’s Brainfood. Thank you so much for supporting this blog and the companies who help to support our family. 

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134 Comments

  1. Melissa S. on August 26, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Love your lunch ideas, Gina.

  2. Catherine on August 26, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I admit I have no children (yet!) but I have tried and loved Bitsy’s! I saw a post about them here in the blog, of course! And I made my husband eat them too! My favorite was the Beet Chocolate Orange cookies. Love beets…love chocolate…love orange!

  3. Meredith on August 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Oatmeal raisin cookies!

  4. Jenny McDaniel on August 26, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I’d love for my kids to try the sweet potato oatmeal cookies. They love cookies and it’d be great to give them a healthy cookie 😉

  5. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on August 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    The sweet potato oatmeal raisin Smart Cookies sound like something my little guy would love!

  6. Genna on August 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Would love to try any! Sweet potato cookies sound extra tasty!

  7. Camee on August 26, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I Would love to give my daughter the sweet potato cookies! Thank you for this post and giveaway. I struggle with switching up my daughters lunches so this was perfect!

  8. Emily on August 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I’d love to try the oats and raisin cookies!

  9. Kristen on August 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Fixing my son’s lunch is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love cutting his food into little shapes. It’s become so routine now that I’ve gotten used to the extra effort. It’s funny how just being a little bit creative gets my kiddo to eat things he otherwise wouldn’t touch.

  10. Kristin on August 26, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    We love the oatmeal raisin cookies and they’d be prefect for my little guy’s preschool lunches!

  11. Laura on August 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Saw these the other day. Cant wait to try them with my toddler.

  12. Megan on August 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve wanted to try the Bitsy’s cereals (we love cereal for a snack in our house but so many lack any nutritional value and contain artificial colors and preservatives I try to avoid). I haven’t found them near me yet but I keep looking! I’m sure my daughter would love any of the snack crackers too, especially the letter shapes

  13. Brittany on August 26, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Ooooo would love to try those cookies!

  14. Kaitlin on August 26, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Sweet potato oatmeal cookies!

  15. Audra D on August 26, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Great lunch ideas!! I would love to try the chocolate cookies or the cereal.

  16. Bianca on August 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    the bitsy chocolate cookies!

  17. Laura G on August 26, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Can’t Wait to try those cookies myself!

  18. Joanna S. on August 26, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    The chocolate one sound delicious.

  19. Beckie on August 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    The cereals look amazing!

  20. Leah H. on August 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    The Banana Squash Squares look great!

  21. Melissa on August 26, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you so much for these ideas! We’re heading into kindergarten this year, and it’s nice to have some different ideas than sandwiches!!

  22. Jeannie on August 26, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Would love it if my 19 mos old son who is allergic to tree nuts can try bitsy brain food since its nut free. I’m always looking for safe snack options. Thx for this post.

  23. Sara on August 26, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Orange chocolate beet. My daughter starts kindergarten this year, these suggestions will come in handy.

  24. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on August 26, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Haha, I totally love their squash cereal 😉

  25. Erin M. on August 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    My nephew would love the sweet potato oatmeal cookies!

  26. Lindsey Giles on August 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I am Excited to try their fruit and veggie cereal.

  27. Jen on August 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    The oats and raisin option would be a favorite

  28. sarah r on August 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Sweet potato oatmeal raisin!

  29. Amanda on August 26, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I really want to try the bitsy’s cereal!! Looks so good!

  30. Molly on August 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve been meaning to pick some up for my toddler’s lunches! He just started preschool and I pack his lunch everyday…no small feat trying to mix it up and find enough different foods he enjoys!

  31. Rebecca on August 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    My son has a peanut allergy and his preschool is nut free. We love the Bitsy Brainfood cookies! They will be his birthday treat for the classroom! Thanks for making a healthier alternative for our peanut free kiddos!

  32. Andrea Munoz on August 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I bet my kids would love the sweet potato ones 🙂

  33. Stephanie M on August 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    The Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin cookies sound super yummy!

  34. Debbie on August 26, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try these!

  35. Sarah on August 26, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Such cute ideas 🙂

  36. Sarah on August 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I love that the cookies are shaped like letters. My son would love to find those in his lunch box! I would pack some for me too. 🙂

  37. jeanne on August 26, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    The cereal!

  38. Vicky N. on August 26, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Yum! Can you pack my lunches?

  39. Shannon on August 26, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Love these ideas for my 3 year old!

  40. Stephanie on August 26, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    The cookies all sound yummy!

  41. Julie on August 26, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Great ideas!

  42. Kristin on August 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    My son loves bitsy’s cookies and I totally agree with your daughter, star shaped anything always tastes better

    (I’m excited to try the oatmeal raisin cookies but don’t tell my guy)

  43. Olivia H on August 26, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I would love to try the chocolate beet ones! What a neat concept.

  44. Mary on August 26, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    These products look great!

  45. Lauren on August 26, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Yum! The orange chocolate beet sound good! Thanks for the great ideas!

  46. Michelle on August 26, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for the lunch ideas!

  47. Samantha D. on August 26, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    I’m definitely excited to try out the letter-shaped cookies! My daughter is really into the ABC’s right now and very not into eating fruits and vegetables so maybe this will be a good way to begin winning her over 😉

  48. Maureen on August 26, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I’d love to try the sweet potato cookies!

  49. Layla on August 26, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    The chocolate cookies sound good. Thanks for the lunch ideas!

  50. ShanNon Brady on August 26, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    any of The chocolate cookies!

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