School Lunches for Picky Eating Preschoolers

I used to love when my father packed my school lunch. He took lunch making seriously. My meal would be balanced and filling, it had options – it was always better than the lunches packed around me and that made me feel proud. Every lunch included a small note or picture. I loved getting them so much! Packing my school lunches was one way that my dad let me know he loved me.

As a parent, now I do the same. I love packing Nori’s lunch. I love to know that during her day at school, she still gets to feel connected to me at home.

The guidelines for lunches at Noris school are that they must not include nuts or treats. We are also dairy free, so I can’t pack yogurts or cheeses, sadly, no bunny crackers either! That being said, I don’t pack too much variety, but honestly, what 4 year old loves variety? These little people watch the same movie thousands of times in a row! I pack what I know she will eat and won’t toss in the compost. School lunch is not a time to debut new foods or try and pack something your kid usually won’t eat. Since nori is super picky, I stick to some basic options:

Deli meat – Nori likes salami, ham and turkey

Spreads – jelly or sunbutter (her school is nut free). when making these sandwiches, i sprinkle hemp seed and chia in the middle of the sandwich to add some nutrients. nori doesn’t even notice.

Fruits – apples, pears, berries, peaches, to name a few – fruit is always a hit

Veggies – our top two are cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, but sugar snap peas, corn, carrot/celery sticks have also made appearances

Grain – crackers, Made Good granola balls, Kind Kids bars

Leftovers – her school will reheat one dish a week if you ask. also, some leftovers are good cold!

To drink, we keep rice milk at school and pack a cup for her to be served. Some days, she just drinks water!

We were using a cute purple Bentigo bento box, but Noris teacher said the way that the lid opened was too big for their table, so I searched Amazon and found these awesome containers called Easy Lunch Boxes and they are exactly that! I love them. Not too many compartments to fill, but enough to guide you through portioning out a lunch. They have several colored lids and I like that it’s a set of 5 so that I don’t have to wash tupperware every school night anymore. I have one for every day!!

Heres how I packed them this week.


Cucumbers, apples and grapes, turkey roll ups and a Kind Kids bar


Tomatoes and cucumbers, strawberries and pears, salami roll ups and Made Good balls


Simple day. Salami and mayo on wheat bread, apples and snap peas.


Leftover salmon cake, peaches and blackberries, tomatoes and cucumbers.


Banana, turkey roll ups, cucumber and tomatoes and Made Good balls.

I don’t know about you, but I love looking at these cute little lunches!! I know they’re nothing crazy, but they’re filled with the things that my daughter loves and it makes me happy that I’m able to do this for her. I look forward to when she learns to read, so that I can pack her sweet little notes along too!

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