Is your toddler a picky eater? Try these 25+ nutritious lunches for 2 year-olds that kids love and are EASY and PRACTICAL for parents to make! Post contains affiliate links.
You want to create healthy lunches for your 2 year-old, but they are so picky!
You’ve tried different tastes and textures.
You’ve tried bribery and rewards.
And your 2 year-old is still fussy about eating a healthy lunch.
You even tried all that cute Pinteresty stuff – Bento too – which only left you feeling irritated when your toddler wouldn’t eat.
All you want is for your toddler to eat a reasonably balanced lunch without it being a huge fight OR taking a huge amount of time to make.
Take heart mama, I’ve been there, and I have lots of toddler lunch ideas for you that are mom approved and loved by 2 year-olds.
25 Easy Lunch Ideas for 2 Year Olds That Are Picky
Here are several things to consider when making easy healthy toddler lunches:
- Are these practical and easy-to make? If you’re a busy parent, then you don’t want something that is overly involved and time-consuming, especially if your toddler decides they don’t like it and throw it on the floor.
- Can you eat it cold? Does it need to be rewarmed? If your 2 year old is eating meals on-the-go or at daycare, you may not want a meal that needs rewarming. We’ve got you covered!
- Will your child actually eat it or throw it on the floor? It can take up 7-10 exposures of a particular food before a child is willing to eat it. Likes and dislikes of foods are always evolving for kids.
Let’s dive into some examples (with photos) of actual lunch ideas that you can offer to your toddler – even if they are crazy picky!
We’ve checked all the boxes on many of our lunches:
- easy to make
- many can be eaten cold
- hidden fruits or veggies
Sandwiches, Roll-Ups and Wraps
Grilled Cheese Dippers (Hidden Veggies!)
The classic grilled cheese gets sliced into dippers that you can pair with tomato soup for a fun and delicious meal.
Sweet crunchy apples with creamy peanut butter, these apple and peanut butter sandwiches are an easy, delicious and healthy lunch.
Apple Cheese Wraps
Simple easy to make wraps with your toddler’s favorite cheese and deli meat. Add in a slice of apple for a perfect lunch.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Kabob
It’s all about the presentation! Take your child’s favorite nut or seed butter sandwich and dice it up. Then, alternate with fruit on a kabob stick for lunch.
Note: Cut off the sharp part of the bamboo kabob or use a chopstick for safety
Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups
These easy vegetarian hummus and veggie tortilla roll ups are a favorite speedy lunch and very easy for toddler hands to manage! They’re super portable and great for daycare or at home lunches for 2 year olds.
Veggie Taco Wraps
A traditional wrap is hard for little hands. These vegetarian taco wraps make it easy! Packed with protein from black beans and Mexican flavors, this recipe is a favorite.
Toddler Finger Food Lunches
These spinach pinwheels allow you to layer in vegetables with toddler lunches! Quick and easy to make with yogurt dough in under 30 minutes. Serve with raw veggies or fruit on the side.
Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Cakes
Lunchbox-perfect cheesy veggie quinoa cakes are gluten-free, whole grain, and filled with colorful, familiar veggies.
Fritters are a fantastic finger food for serving up different vegetables to toddlers. Their texture is perfect for nibbling on yet they are firm enough not to be crushed by those cute, chubby grips!
These can be made with any combination of different ingredients, so just throw in whatever you have in the fridge, or whatever your 2 year old loves to eat.
Ham and Mac & Cheese Lunchbox Muffins
These ham and mac and cheese lunchbox muffins will be the envy of the cafeteria. They’re a delicious way to use up leftover mac and cheese and pack perfectly into a lunchbox.
Easy Pizza Pinwheels
These easy pizza pinwheels are five-finger fun for the whole family! Super tasty and super versatile, you can load them up with endless combinations of sauce and toppings for everyone to enjoy.
Cute lunches for at home or daycare.
Baked Ravioli Recipe
This recipe was inspired by a dish from a local restaurant, but these are baked not fried. Super fun for toddlers to grab and dip.
Pro tip: Add some pureed veggies into the marinara sauce.
Quinoa Salad with Yogurt and Strawberries
Any quinoa salad can be thrown together in a pinch! Add in some beans and diced veggies and you’ve got a nutritionally complete toddler lunch.
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Feel free to add in some diced spinach to this recipe for an added veggie punch. 2 and 3 year olds love to dip these, and again, add in some hidden veggies to the dipping sauce.
Pizza Pasta Salad
A delicious and super easy pizza flavored pasta salad recipe. Ready in less than 15 minutes and perfect for lunch boxes, picnics or a simple at-home lunch!
Easy Fiesta Bowl for Toddlers
These fiesta bowls make for an easy and delicious weekday lunch for toddlers, kids and you! So easy to customize these bowls with whatever ingredients you prefer or have on hand.
Easy Bento Lunch for Toddlers
Pasta with mixed vegetables and shredded chicken, topped with butter and parmesan cheese. Add sides of avocado, oranges, raisins and crackers.
Simple Homemade Lunchable
Turkey, cheese, avocado, and strawberries. Sometimes you just need to make a homemade lunchable!
Healthy Muffins, Waffles and Pancakes with Hidden Veggies
I love using these in a lunch box or at home because they do not need to be rewarmed! These are practical and easy-to-make and hit the veggie checkbox without added time or stress.
Spinach Muffins for Toddlers
These are the superhero of the muffin world, full of hidden fruit and veggies, absolutely no refined sugar with the bulk of the sweetening coming from bananas and just a little maple syrup or honey.
Blueberry Avocado Mini Muffins
These blueberry avocado mini muffins are loaded with fruit, healthy fats, and whole grains. Their mini size makes them perfect for small baby and toddler hands. Yum!
Apple Banana Oat Muffins
These easy and healthy baby apple banana oat muffins combine banana, applesauce, oats, and your choice of add-in like blueberries or small pieces of chopped apple. The batter comes together in a blender and the muffins freeze wonderfully.
Spinach Banana Waffles
Toddlers, kids, and even “picky” eaters will love these deliciously green Spinach Banana Waffles because they taste like a sweet banana muffins.
Berry Granola Frozen Yogurt Bark
Your kids are going to love this frozen yogurt bark – it’s a perfect spring or summer treat and is healthy enough to serve as a quick lunch!
Mini Pumpkin Pancakes
These homemade mini pumpkin pancakes are so light, fluffy, and a great way to use canned pumpkin! Plus they are the perfect size to pack into the lunchbox!
What to give a fussy toddler for lunch?
I’ve read A LOT of information on creating healthy lunches for toddlers.
It can feel very overwhelming reading things like macros and micromanaging nutrients.
Because if you are a busy parent, the last thing you have time for is counting macros for a toddler.
Am I right?
So I’m here to make it real simple and practical for you.
Think long-term sustainable – these ideas will help your child develop a healthy relationship with food all the way into adulthood.
Main Dish Suggestions
A toddler only needs 13-19 grams of protein per day. This is EASY to accomplish! So there is no need to fuss over your child eating meat if they do not want it.
- 1/4 cup beans with 1 oz cheese (12 grams of protein)
- 1 hard boiled egg (6 grams of protein)
- 2 oz cup lentil pasta (13 grams of protein)
- 2 oz ground turkey meatballs (15 grams of protein)
- 1 slice whole grain toast with mashed avocado (4 grams protein)
- 1 slice whole grain toast with nut / seed butter (6 grams of protein)
So you can see really fast how little you should stress about toddler protein intake with a main dish. They are absolutely getting enough with very little effort.
This is typically more of the sticking point with 2 year-olds — getting them to eat enough vegetables. Offer them in all sorts of different ways:
- Mixed in
- Baked in
Consider using the “Get Alone With The Vegetable” technique I talk about in how to get your toddler to eat vegetables.
When it comes to vegetables, I would focus MORE on as much variety as possible OVER volume. When it comes to healthy gut in kids to adults, the single most important factor is plant diversity.
Fun Fact: Kids aged 2-3 years should eat 1 – 1.5 cups per day of vegetables.
You can easily get 1 cup of vegetables in a toddler per day with just ONE smoothie.
Find recipes here: Kid-Friendly Smoothies With Vegetables
Dairy has become a cultural staple in many Western diets; however, it is quite inflammatory to the human body. So I’ll leave it up to your best judgment on whether you’d like to include it in your 2 year-old’s lunch.
That being said, here are some appropriate serving sizes of dairy for toddlers:
- 4 ounces milk (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 ounce cheese (1 inch cube)
- 3 ounces yogurt (~1/3 cup)
- Apples, bananas, peaches, nectarines, pears (thinly sliced)
- Cherries, grapes, plums (sliced or smushed and pitted)
- Orange, pineapple, mango (sliced into pieces)
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
- Dates, prunes (pitted, cut up)
- Raisins or cranberries (be mindful of added sugars)
Plant diversity is king! So the more variety of fruits you can offer your child, the better.
Consider how you serve it – best lunch boxes and trays!
These are my 5 all-time favorite ways to serve lunch to a 2 year old.
Spoiler alert: You probably already have one of them in your home!
Silicone Ice Cube Trays
These are so perfect for toddler lunches. Simply put small amounts of food in each compartment. Kids love it. Too many compartments? Cut the tray in half.
Silicone Baking Cups
Make eating fun by separating veggies, snacks and fruits in a kid’s bento lunchbox. Picky 2 year olds love the vibrant colors. The best part? These can also be used to make the muffin recipes listed above. We also use these for any dips or sauces that are included with lunch.
Stainless Steel Lunch Tray
Stainless steel will not stain, harbor orders, rust or crack. And of course, it’s BPA free. Small compartments help picky eaters feel less overwhelmed and keeps food from touching. There are many varieties of this type of plate, including some that are shaped like a truck.
Adorable Leak-Proof Bento Box
Keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free during transport – Includes 2 kid-friendly latches that are easy for small hands to open and close. All BPA food-grade plastics. I find this just a excellent for at home use too.
Rainbow Stainless Steel Tray
Comes with a lid making it easy for on-the-go lunches are dining at home. I find kids are simply more drawn to plates that are colorful and inviting. This checks all the boxes you’d get from stainless steel but adds the color element.
Print this free printable checklist.
This post comes with a free printable checklist to help with picky eating! Let your kids challenge themselves to circle all the fruits and vegetables they’ve tried. Plus, get an “Eat the Rainbow” placemat for mealtimes.
Here is a sneak preview!
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly newsletter!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator. Check things off as you go and don’t forget a thing!
Want more on 2 year-olds?
- 2 Year Old Not Listening? Try This Remarkable Tip
- Frustrated With 2 Year Old Discipline? Try These Ideas
- The 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule That Works Every Time
- 2 Year Old Sleep Regression – Quick Tips for Busy Parents
- 50+ Best Simple Games for 2 Year Olds and UP
- The Ultimate List of Board Games for 2 Year Olds
Want more on picky eating?
- Simple Mealtime Hack to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables
- What and How Much Should a Toddler Really Eat
- 9 Quick and Clever Mealtime Hacks for Busy Moms
I've created a free email series just for you!
If you are struggling with feeling happy in motherhood, let me help you streamline your family's daily routines so you can enjoy your family life without the stress. Yes, really. I've seen my routines work time and time again for parents. I know it can work for you too.
This free email series will help you:
- Free sample routines for your child
- Best morning routine tips and tricks your kids will actually follow
- All-time favorite parenting hacks for getting more cooperation at bedtime
- Step-by-step guide for using a printable daily schedule with kids
Leave a Comment