Here are a bunch of simple recipes you can use for packing preschool lunch! Since Little Boy started going to preschool, we have had to send in his lunch (almuerzo). This is more like a very large snack that they have around 11 a.m. To clarify, here’s a brief overview of when meal times fall.
Meal Times in Mexico
Breakfast (desayuno) is eaten before school at 7 or 8 a.m. Comida, the main meal of the day is eaten at around 3 p.m. While dinner, cena, is something light like tacos, and that’s eaten at about 8 p.m.
Ok, back to lunch. Little Boy’s school sends us a monthly menu of suggested meals so that the children are all eating the same thing more or less. It seems that to go along with the suggested menu, many parents send highly-processed store bought foods.
For my own son I have taken it as a challenge to try and stick with the menu while making the dishes from scratch. Here are some of the most successful healthy preschool lunch recipes I have made based on the first month’s menu.
Healthy Preschool Taquitos
- Corn tortillas
- Refried beans
I took a shortcut buying homemade corn tortillas and refried beans from our mini-market (but with time these are easy enough to make from scratch).
- Heat the tortillas so that they are super soft- on the griddle or just in the microwave.
- Fill with beans and cheese and roll tightly. It is easiest to keep them together if you fill your baking pan.
- Brush a tiny bit of oil on top in the crevices between the taquitos.
- Bake at 350 until they are golden.
*I also made variations with leftover fish, chicken and salsa. Pretty much anything goes.
Healthy Preschool Jello Recipe
- 1 Tbsp (or 1 7gram envelope) gelatin
- 1 1/4 cup juice
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- Put 1/4 cup juice in bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top.
- Leave it for a few minutes to inflate (“bloom”) and mix it up.
- Add boiling water and stir, stir, stir, until all of the gelatin is dissolved.
- Add in remaining 1 cup of juice. Pour into containers and let set in fridge over several hours.
*I used 100% grape juice and it came out perfectly.
Healthy Preschool Chicken Nuggets
- chicken breast
- bread crumbs
- oil for pan frying
- Cut chicken breast into small “nugget size” pieces.
- Bread in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
- Pan fry in a little oil.
*For Little Boy I just used just the yolks and it came out just fine.
Healthy Preschool “Larabars”
- 1 cup pitted dates, densely packed
- 1 cup cashews
- In food processor, blend nuts until the largest pieces are no more than a quarter inch.
- Take them out, and spread dates on bottom, pour cashews on top, and anything else you want to add.
- Process until it all turns into a giant ball.
- Optional: Fold in extra ingredients. We love them with dried cherries or blueberries and sometimes a little bit of lemon rind. If you want to make into granola bars, take out the “giant ball” and fold in by hand toasted oats, raisins and anything else you want.
- Then roll out. I prefer to put it in wax paper folded in half and roll the paper to avoid a sticky mess.
- Keep them in the fridge for minimal stickiness
- Cut into bars after chilling.
More Simple Recipes
Here are a couple more recipes that you could easily make ahead of time. Make a big batch and stick them in the freezer! Then just rotate the options to fill your preschool lunch box.
For visual ideas, check out this post full of healthy school lunches!