10 Easy Toddler Lunch Ideas

One of the worst parts about having a toddler is…feeding them! Have you ever made a meal and they won’t even try it!? Or they take one bite and say “eww”!? It’s beyond frustrating and makes mealtimes some of the worst parts of your day. Now that summer is coming lots of kiddos are going to be home for that dreaded lunch time too! You’re going to need some new ideas, STAT!

Here are my favorite easy toddler lunch ideas. Most of these are just the main course so they’ll need some sides to go with them. Those are usually easy, though–slice up some fruit, grab an applesauce, or warm up some microwave veggies (have you ever seen these!? They’re the easiest things in the world!) and your meal is all set!

Let me know in the comments what your kiddos love to eat for lunch–we’re always looking for new ideas! And tell me your best story about their refusal to eat…because, after all, misery loves company!

1. Crescent Roll Sandwiches

We got the idea for these from my sister in law and they are some of our favorites to make! They’re so easy that once your kiddo is old enough they can even help you! You just need a tin of crescent rolls (we use the Annie’s brand) and whatever you want to put inside. We have made cheddar cheese & turkey, pizza (mozzarella & pepperoni) and mozzarella & turkey. You just have to unroll the crescent rolls, put the ingredients inside, roll it back up and cook it in the oven for the amount of time it says on the tin.

2. Quesadillas

Ryan loves many different variations of quesadillas. Sometimes we do just cheese, and other times we throw in turkey, chicken or taco meat. It’s also a good way to sneak some veggies in by adding peppers, onions, mushrooms, or any other veggie you have in the fridge. I also love using Street Taco tortillas because they are the perfect size for a toddler!

3. Hot Dogs

This is pretty self-explanatory but paired with some yummy veggies or Broccoli Tots they are the perfect meal for a toddler. Just make sure you cut them into bit size pieces–they are a very common choking hazard in young children!

4. Eggs/Omelette

This is another super simple lunch that can include most of the major food groups. I prefer to make omelettes because it’s so easy to throw in some meat, a veggie and cheese (I try to use leftovers from the night before so that it’s even easier). It cooks in less than 5 minutes and I make it with 3 eggs so that he can eat half today and have the other half for lunch tomorrow!

5. PB&J Pancakes

Pancakes is always a fun meal! Again your kiddo can help once they’re old enough and it usually makes lots of leftovers. To make it even more fun the next day I use the pancakes as “bread” and throw some peanut butter and jelly on it. It sounds weird, but trust me, just try it! To make the pancakes a little healthier I use Kodiak Cakes because they have more protein than regular pancakes.

6. French Toast

As you can probably tell by now, we love breakfast for lunch! French toast is the perfect lunch for a toddler because it has protein from the eggs and dairy from the milk you add to it. It can also be cut into strips so that they can easily feed themselves. With a quick veggie and/or fruit on the side it’s delicious and nutritious! And just like with pancakes, I sometimes put peanut butter and jelly on it and Ryan can’t get enough!

7. Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I love this because it tastes just like regular pizza but it also gives him a serving of veggies without even trying. Not only is the crust made with cauliflower but I also choose one that has veggies on top! It’s also perfect because I can make one pizza and we both have lunch for a few days! We love this one that comes frozen in a 2-pack from Costco.

8. Leftovers

Again, no explanation necessary. If they liked dinner, feed it to them again for lunch the next day! It doesn’t get much easier than that!

9. Deconstructed Sandwich

This is one of my go-to’s if I don’t have much time and/or I haven’t been grocery shopping in a while. It’s all of the stuff you would put into a sandwich, but without the bread! So a little lunch meat and cheese and I usually give some crackers on the side for a little crunch!

10. Grilled Cheese & Soup

Who doesn’t love this combo!? Grilled cheese is super easy to make (did you know if you put mayo on the bread instead of butter it gets crispier!?) and soup just adds a nice side to either eat or dip the sandwich into! Ryan hasn’t tried the traditional tomato soup but he loves chicken noodle, broccoli/ cheddar, and minestrone!

To My Friends…Thank You for Making This Easier!

When I first learned that my son, Ryan, has Down syndrome there were so many different thoughts going through my head. *Will he be okay?*, *Will he have friends?*, *Will he be included?*, *Will he be happy?*

After we found out that he was otherwise healthy, one of the biggest concerns I had was about the support we’d receive. I have a great group of friends but this is something we had never experienced before so I didn’t know how everyone would handle it, including me. It’s a lot to deal with when you find out your child has special needs; you definitely need your support system to help you through it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn’t change a thing about him, but having friends that love and support us makes it so much easier. 

So to my friends (and family)…thank you for:

Loving and including Ryan

One of my biggest fears was that Ryan wouldn’t have meaningful relationships with my friends’ kids because he was different than them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. My friends are amazing at loving and including Ryan. He is invited to every play date and party and while he is there they make sure he is treated just like everybody else (if not better!) Everybody comes over and makes sure Ryan is doing okay and if he can’t participate in something (because he hasn’t reached the milestone yet) they make sure he has something else that he can do. He loves being around people and it is so fun to see him interact with the kiddos and other adults.

Always asking about him and his development

Along with Ryan’s diagnosis comes weekly therapies (occupational and physical) and extra doctor’s appointments. My friends always seem to remember to ask about how he is doing in them and what he has accomplished during them and it really means a lot. Sometimes I don’t feel like having OT and PT every week. I feel like the house always has to be clean and some days it just really disrupts his schedule. I know he needs it and he is thriving because of it, but it can honestly get really frustrating. When my friends ask how it’s going or cheer because Ryan met a new milestone, though, it really reminds me of my priorities and eases my frustration.

Still sharing your kids’ accomplishments

Another one of my fears was that my friends would feel bad bragging about their kiddos to me. I didn’t want the fact that Ryan was reaching milestones later deter them from telling me all the cool things that their children were doing. Luckily, my friends are very open and let me know when a new milestone has been reached. And just like they celebrate with us when Ryan succeeds, I love to celebrate with them!

Going to fundraisers

One of the most generous ways my friends have found to support us is to donate to the Down Syndrome Guild. Whenever there are events that we invite them to, they show up without question. Our first event was for World Down Syndrome Day last year. I invited everyone on a Monday (when it was on Wednesday) and somehow we had over 30 people show up just to support Ryan. It was so amazing to see and really made us realize how lucky we are to have these people in our life.

Having the difficult conversations

Most of my friends’ kids are under 5 so I’m not sure we have crossed this bridge yet, but it is definitely coming. Eventually (probably sooner rather than later) their kiddos are going to realize that Ryan is different. They’re going to ask why he looks different or why he acts different than other kids his age. I know this isn’t going to be the easiest conversation for them to have and I want to thank them in advance for having it. And I know their kids will be just as supportive and kind as they all have been because they’re all amazing moms (and dads) and are raising amazing kids.

Ryan is one lucky little boy to have you all in his life and I am one lucky woman to have you all as friends.

So…thank you from the bottom of my heart!