Easy Lunch Ideas for Kids On the Spectrum

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The never-ending struggle that every parent has faced: what am I packing my children for lunch?

Packing lunch gets even trickier when you’re packing for a child with autism who is a very picky eater.

To keep packing lunches as easy as possible, I suggest sticking to a formula. For every lunch include 1 protein, 1 fruit, at least 1 veggie, plus an fun snack item. I encourage families to create a list of kid-approved options for each category to consult before meal-packing time. Check some of my ideas out below and make your own to post it to the fridge or inside the pantry for easy access.

But before we start packing, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite lunch boxes and lunch tools.

Best Lunch Boxes

Below are some ideas for each category to get you started. Add your own ideas and, of course, adjust for any allergies or special diets.

Autism Lunch Ideas

The Never-Fail Lunch Box Planner

choose 1 from each category for a well-rounded healthy lunch that is picky eater approved

Veggies

  • Crudite sticks (carrot, celery, pepper, cucumber)

  • Jicama

  • Salad with favorite dressing

  • Cherry tomato

  • Cucumber slices

  • Carrot coins

  • Leftovers

  • Sugar snap peas

  • Baked banana chips

  • Shredded carrot salad

  • Coleslaw

  • Pickled veggies

  • Frozen peas or mixed veggies

  • Kale chips

  • Guacamole

  • Dried seaweed

  • Ants on a log

Protein / Main

  • Hard boiled egg

  • Grilled chicken with pesto or sauce

  • Nut or seed butter

  • Rice and beans

  • Yogurt

  • Sausage

  • Ground meat or alternative for tacos

  • Meat or bean burger

  • Banana bites with jam and nut butter or cream cheese

  • Meatballs

  • Tuna/salmon/chicken salad

  • Fish sticks

  • Cold pasta salad

  • Waffle or pancake strips/sandwich

  • Lunch meat roll ups

  • Soup or chili in a thermos

  • Sandwich, wrap, bagel

  • Caprese kabob

  • Oatmeal

  • Hummus or bean dip

  • Edamame

  • Meat/cheese/tofu kebab

  • Falafel

  • Loaded baked potato

  • Leftovers

Snacks

  • Rice cakes

  • Favorite crackers

  • Pretzels

  • Roasted chickpea snack

  • Popcorn

  • Pita chips

  • Fruit gummies

  • Trail mix

  • Granola (bar or loose)

  • Yogurt raisins

  • Tortilla chips with salsa

  • Mini muffin

  • Low-added sugar snack bar (love these and these)

  • Date balls

  • Nuts and/or seeds

Fruit

  • Berries

  • Melon

  • Mango

  • Peach/plum slices

  • Grapes

  • Melon or pineapple chunks on a toothpick

  • Apple sauce or pureed fruit pouch

  • Sliced banana

  • Fruit leather

  • Apple/pear slices (with dippers!)

  • Clementines

  • Freeze dried fruit

  • No sugar added dried fruit

  • Cherries

 

Recap

When packing lunch for a child autism, stick to my easy formula: include 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 veggie, and 1 snack.

Homework

Write a list of your child’s safe foods from each category (protein/main, fruit, veggie, and snack food). From there you’ll have an easy mix and match list to pack healthy lunches that your child will actually eat!



The exact approach that have helped my clients see immediate results - in one easy-to-read guide.

Do you have yours yet?


 

Even More Meal Guides for Your Autistic Picky Eater