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
Crudite sticks (carrot, celery, pepper, cucumber)
Salad with favorite dressing
Sugar snap peas
Baked banana chips
Shredded carrot salad
Frozen peas or mixed veggies
Ants on a log
Protein / Main
Hard boiled egg
Grilled chicken with pesto or sauce
Nut or seed butter
Rice and beans
Ground meat or alternative for tacos
Meat or bean burger
Banana bites with jam and nut butter or cream cheese
Cold pasta salad
Waffle or pancake strips/sandwich
Lunch meat roll ups
Soup or chili in a thermos
Sandwich, wrap, bagel
Hummus or bean dip
Loaded baked potato
Melon or pineapple chunks on a toothpick
Apple sauce or pureed fruit pouch
Apple/pear slices (with dippers!)
Freeze dried fruit
No sugar added dried fruit
When packing lunch for a child autism, stick to my easy formula: include 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 veggie, and 1 snack.
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!