15 Handy Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters at School or Home

Everyone has those days when they can’t seem to find a good lunch idea, and the options in your fridge are looking pretty grim. Luckily for you there is one food that goes with everything, from sandwiches to salads – soup! Here are 15 different soups you can make quickly so that no matter what’s going on school doesn’t have you down.

The “lunches for picky eaters adults” is a blog post that will help you figure out what to pack for your picky eater. It includes 15 lunch ideas that are both healthy and delicious.

15 Handy Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters at School or Home

Get these simple home or school lunch ideas for finicky eaters, which include a variety of no-cook, healthful alternatives that are very doable! 


Lunchtime may get dull when you have a finicky eater since you offer the same few dishes every day. You want your youngster to eat, yet switching things around might result in a disaster.

And, if your kid need a packed lunch for school, daycare, or even vacation, it may be even more difficult to locate meals that they will eat. Furthermore, as an occupational therapist, I’ve dealt with a number of families who have received well-intentioned but erroneous emails and phone calls expressing worries that their kid wasn’t eating enough or eating a good lunch.

(If your child’s school has had similar issue, please sure to read this post!)

While every fussy eater has their own preferences, there are certain similar themes, textures, and tastes that they like. These common themes are reflected in the meals listed below. 


However, my child is a VERY picky eater…

However, we must be realistic about the nature of fussy eating; anything new may set up alarm bells. And, if those alarm bells sound, children may refuse to eat their meal. As a result, it’s critical to pair any new lunch ideas, particularly school meals, with something they’re used to eating.

It may take many (or many) servings or sendings of new meals before they consume it. 

In the Picky Eating Blueprint, you may learn a lot more about how to assist your child.

The links below are affiliate links. See our complete disclosure for more information.


15 Simple School or Home Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Let’s start with some basic no-cook meals that are ideal for your child’s lunchbox but can also be prepared at home. You’ll discover a wide range of healthy selections as well as new foods to explore. Packing in a bento box type lunch box is a terrific method to keep items separate if you’re sending to school. Use a separate dish if serving at home.

Lunch for picky eaters #1: Cheese, meat, and crackers
  • Use pre-cut pepperoni and cheese sticks instead of sliced cheese and deli meat. Serve or pack crackers for them to use to build their own sandwiches. On the side, serve with pickles and chopped watermelon. 
Lunch for Picky Eaters #2: Bacon and Egg
  • Pretzels, sliced apples, and carrot sticks are served with sliced bacon, sliced hard-boiled egg, and pretzels. Picky eaters like crunchy meals, such as bacon, apples, and carrots, which are all healthful choices.   
Lunch for picky eaters #3: Turkey Sandwich
  • If the bread is toasted, picky eaters may be more ready to consume a sandwich. To prepare a sandwich, use turkey or ham and keep the rest of the components basic. Many finicky eaters would like it if you leave the mayo out. Serve with cucumber slices and halved cherry tomatoes that have been mildly seasoned. 
Lunch for Picky Eaters #4: Cheese Quesadilla



  • Add cheese to a tortilla shell on a heated skillet. To melt the cheese and crisp the outside, fold it over. Add some beans or leftover shredded chicken to the quesadilla if your finicky eater will eat it. Serve with mild salsa and sliced avocado or pre-made guacamole cups from the grocery store. 
Lunch for picky eaters #5: Peanut butter and banana sandwich



  • This sandwich was one of my son’s favorites while he was working through his fussy eating issues. It may be served open-faced at home. If you’re sending the banana to school, keep it separate. For added crunch, sprinkle some chia seeds on top of the peanut butter. Try to prevent the peanut butter from seeping out the edges as you cut it into halves. Picky eaters who dislike getting their hands dirty may refuse to consume it if it already seems to be sloppy.
Lunch for picky eaters #6: English muffin pizza
  • Slice a whole wheat English muffin in half, put spaghetti sauce on top, then top with mozzarella cheese. For a fast pizza lunch, melt the cheese in the microwave, stovetop, or toaster oven for a few minutes. 
Mac and cheese is lunch idea #7 for picky eaters. 



  • If you’re packing a lunch, your finicky eater’s favorite mac and cheese may be sent in a thermos or served on a regular basis at home. Serve with sliced pears and sweet peppers on the side. You may also make buttered whole wheat noodles without the dairy.
Lunch for Picky Eaters #8: Chicken Nuggets



  • Try Dino Nuggets if you’re attempting to encourage your picky eater to eat chicken nuggets. They’re created by Yummy and are extremely thin, which is important for fussy eaters. As long as your kid is beyond the age of two, serve with popcorn and fresh fruit like blueberries and strawberries.  
Lunch for Picky Eaters #9: Mini-Meatballs and Garlic Bread



  • Smaller meatballs have a less mushy feel than big chopped up meatballs, which is ideal for finicky eaters. Here’s my go-to meal for finicky eaters. It’s also possible to make them gluten-free. Garlic bread is made by buttering bread, seasoning it with garlic salt, then toasting it in the oven. Serve with chilled peas and grapes that have been quartered.
Lunch for picky eaters #10: Cream cheese roll-up
  • On a tortilla, spread cream cheese and your child’s favorite deli meat, twist it firmly, and cut into pinwheels. Serve with a banana and almonds or sunflower seeds. 
Lunch for picky eaters #11: Mini quiche



  • Mini quiche may be found at your local grocery shop. Individually portioned quiche is available at Trader Joe’s, and bite-sized quiche is available at many other locations. Add some apple slices and snap peas.  
Lunch for Picky Eaters #12: Pita and Hummus
  • Quarter some soft flatbread with a large dish of hummus with cucumbers and carrots on the side for a lighter lunch. Cut the pita using cookie cutters to produce various shapes to add a fun aspect and captivate your finicky eater. Add a cheese stick or granola bar if your child has a large appetite.
Lunch for Picky Eaters #13: Wafflewich 



  • Do you own a waffle maker? Squeeze a grilled cheese sandwich within, then add deli meat or fresh spinach if desired. In Exploring New Foods with Fussy Eaters, you may read about how I made it work for my picky eater.
Lunch for Picky Eaters #14: Nacho Bar
  • Send shredded cheese, salsa, and taco meat in separate containers if preparing a lunch for school. If you’re making it at home, use those components to make a bar, which fussy eaters love. Add some melon or berries to the mix as well. 
Lunch for Picky Eaters #15: Sliced hot dog with vegetable straws
  • Your child’s hot dog should be sliced up and served with their favorite dip. Uncured hot dogs are an excellent choice. Serve with celery, orange segments, and vegetable straws. 

*If your kid is a fussy eater who insists on having food cooked a particular way or will only eat certain brands, read this article on food jags to help them break free from their restrictive diet.


Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Them


As promised, I’ve compiled a list of helpful hints to help you make the most of your new meals for your finicky eater:

1. Always provide one of their favorite foods – I’ve previously said this, but it’s crucial! A fussy eater must see at least one familiar meal or else they would respond as if they are looking at a dish of cockroaches. If you’d like a handy printable with even more food and meal ideas for finicky eaters, click here to have one sent to you.

2. Concentrate on materials that YOUR kid enjoys – Although your kid is unlikely to appreciate every lunch option on this list, you may make some educated assumptions about which ones will be the most popular if you consider what your child currently eats. If kids like noodles and bread, they may also enjoy other soft textures. If your youngster like crispy foods but does not eat meat, I recommend bacon.

3. Eat lunch with your kid – While this may not always be practical, making it a priority can benefit both of you. Instead of focusing on what they’re eating, focus on spending time together. Taking some of the strain off during meals may have a significant impact. Find out more about the Division of Responsibility approach.

4. DON’T EXPECT THEM TO EAT EVERYTHING – I know it makes our hearts melt when our children shovel food into their mouths and fill their tummies, but most meals, particularly with a picky eater, aren’t going to go down that way. This tiny adjustment in perspective may save you a lot of aggravation.

5. Use DIVIDED plates or divisions – This applies to children of all ages. While the fragrance of food is enough to have some picky eaters throw a tantrum, it’s also important to make sure that unfamiliar or new foods don’t come into contact with the meals they like. The concern that a crumb of anything new would contaminate and ruin their beloved dish, even if they can’t express it, is true.

My family has been using these split plates for years. They’re my favorite since they’re sturdy and feature deep basins that can hold a variety of things.

6. Take advantage of lunchtime – If your child eats away from home, ask your child or caregiver what some of the other kids eat on a daily basis. If your child sees other kids eating it, packing it for them can encourage them to try something new. For further information, see How to Pack a Lunch for Picky Eaters.

Click here for advice on how to convince your finicky eater to eat school meals. 

Leave a comment below if you have any questions or want additional ideas based on what your finicky eater is consuming!


More Assistance for Picky Eaters

You can do a lot to encourage even the pickiest eater to try new meals. Get a place in my free workshop for fussy eaters to discover my greatest suggestions as an occupational therapist:

Get a seat in 3 Keys to Turn Around Picky Eating by clicking here.


More Picky Eater-Friendly Recipes

Picky Eater’s Ultimate Guide to Healthy Snacks

Picky Eaters’ Unbelievably Easy Healthy Meals (+Free Printable)

Five Reasons Why Children Refuse to Eat

With a Strong Plan, You Can Overcome Your Child’s Oral Aversion.

Have you pinned this?

There are several suggestions and lunch options… You may want to look for it again! It’s a great idea to pin it on your parenting or cooking board:)

Bento box lunches are a great way to pack healthy food that kids will eat. They are easy to make and can be made in advance, so they’re perfect for picky eaters. Reference: bento box lunches for picky eaters.

  • cold lunches for picky eaters adults
  • school lunch for picky eaters
  • school lunch ideas for teens
  • school lunch ideas for picky eaters pinterest
  • kids school lunch ideas 2022