10 Cold Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

In most homes, food can be a complicated topic. One child has an intolerance to milk, and the other could live off cheese sticks. It must be mindful of texture. The youngest does not like crunchy noises, while his sibling believes the louder the crunch, the better.

And it needs to be quickly made because no one has learned patience yet. Here are a few ideas that may help make lunchtime a little less complicated and more enjoyable for the whole family.

1. Froggy Sandwiches

Fun sandwiches make cold lunched for toddlers more entertaining

Many kids have a hard time wanting to eat any lunch meat other than bologna. When introducing different types of meat, try to make fun sandwich shapes to spice things up!

These fun shapes make sandwiches more child-sized and gets rid of the always complained about crusts.

To make Froggy Sandwiches, you will need olives or cherry tomatoes, two slices of whole wheat bread (or substitute), sliced pickle and toothpicks.

Start by cutting the crust from the slices of bread. Craft your basic sandwich with the frog’s tongue being the pickle slice and the olives or tomatoes being the eyes.

If you are feeling extra creative, make a bearded lizard sandwich with a lettuce beard! Try adding little touches like Ketchup or Relish eyebrows.

2. Pizza Monsters

Homemade cold monster pizzas are an easy and tasty lunch idea for toddlers

For many, pizza is a weekly occurrence! Since everyone has different tastes in pizza, try using pita bread or even bagel thins for the little ones, so that everyone can make their own.

Making Pizza Monsters allows the kids to help and let their personality shine.

The pizzas are made using medium sized pita bread or bagel thins, pizza sauce, shredded cheese or substitute, pepperoni, olives, and pepper rings.

Pepperonis are the eyes and peppers can be used for the mouth. The best part is that the kids can go crazy with the other ingredients.

3. Hummus

Hummus was once upon a time a hard sell for me as well, but over time it became one of my go-to lunch foods.

Especially now that there are SO many fun flavors, so the taste never gets boring.

Try using pita chips, carrot, bell pepper or cucumber slices, whole wheat crackers, and anything else that can be used to scoop.

4. Old School PB& J with a Twist

Tortilla wraps are another creative cold lunch idea for your toddlers

We all grew up on that old staple peanut butter and jelly. Tortillas can replace bread to make a more exciting sandwich.

Spread your peanut butter and jelly on one small tortilla. Then roll like a burrito.

You can even add raisins, craisins, sliced bananas as pictured or even thinly sliced apples for an added twist before rolling.

5. Sunflowers

Make lunch fun with designs on rice cakes is a great cold lunch for toddlers

If your child has an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts, my new obsession is with Sun Butter.

It tastes great and is even a bit healthier than the traditional peanut butter.

Making these fun Sunflowers are a great lunch idea and make trying something new that much more fun!

Sunflowers are made using 1-2 Tbsp. Sun Butter, apple cinnamon rice cakes, grapes or apple slices and blueberries.

Spread the Sun Butter thickly on one rice cake.

In the center place a blueberry. Then around the outer edge make a grape ring to be the petals.

6. DIY Lunchable

Lunchables are quick, convenient and have a variety of goodies. The typical Lunchable from the grocery store has crackers, lunch meat, and cheese.

Our Lunchables either have Ritz or whole wheat crackers, pretzels, pepperoni or deli meat, cheese, and fruit. I prefer this over pre-packaged Lunchables because everyone can choose things they will eat. I also add a treat like a bite-sized piece of chocolate or tube of yogurt.

7. Let’s Make It A Wrap

Wraps are a tasty cold lunch alternative that your toddlers will love

There are so many options for wraps making them one of the most uncomplicated sandwich alternatives for your child.

You can use any pairing of items that you would typically place in a sandwich, but it is a bit more fun to eat!

Get creative with your child’s favorite sauces too such as Italian or Ranch dressing, mustard, or even Tzatziki sauce made with Greek yogurt.

You can make everything from your traditional chicken wrap to a favorite sloppy joe wrap. Use whole-wheat tortillas or even lettuce.

8. Kid Kabobs

Kebabs are a great finger food to add to your toddlers cold lunch

Messes are one thing most kids seem to not grow out of. If you’re trying to reduce the laundry pile of food stains, it’s crucial to create neat and easy tricks to manage meals!

Kid Kabobs are relatively mess free and very customizable. Depending on the contents, I like to use kid-friendly kebab sticks (cut the pointed ends off to make them safe).

Make sure the foods you choose for the kabobs are easily skewered and bite size. Making kabobs can be a fun after-school activity where the kiddos can help! Just pre skewer the foods to make them easier to put on the (blunted) skewers and let them create their own Kabobs.

9. Springy Spring Rolls

Create your best spring rolls that are full of colorful fruit slices and veggies. Place thinly sliced pieces of mango or melon along with lettuce on the rice paper. Add slices of yellow, orange and green vegetables too such as red or orange bell peppers, shredded carrots, or cucumber.

10. Lunch Rolls

Finger foods for your toddler's cold lunch are sure to pleaseEveryone loves lunch meat and what kid doesn’t enjoy finger food! When at the store, try to find a nitrite free lunch meat.

You will need sliced ham, turkey or chicken breast, cubed cheese, veggies (ones that can be hidden well!), and toothpicks.

Place a small cube of cheese in the meat (or even string cheese sticks) and roll like a burrito. Finally, secure with a toothpick. Don’t forget to add a side of fruit or whole wheat crackers to complete the meal.

Get Creative with Cold Lunches

Meals can always be a chaotic and complicated time in the household, especially when everyone has a unique perspective on what they love or will never touch again in their little life!

Creative food options create opportunities to spend time together as a family crafting unique and fun food. Lunch may be cold in the box, but let’s make it warms our hearts.