I often get asked if cold lunches are okay to offer and what exactly to serve as a cold lunch in a child’s lunchbox. I personally don’t worry much about how hot or cold the food is once packed, let’s be realistic, once packed food does tend to become cold by the time its lunchtime. That’s how we all ate our lunches when we were kids, (cold chapatis and solidified noodles are some of my childhood dabba memories) that was part of the experience of carrying a dabba from home. That said, we can add some fun to cold lunches too. I hope these cold lunch ideas for kids inspire some lunch packing variety as you plan your weekly lunch menus.
My son always looks forward to what’s packed in the school lunchbox and happily eats what’s on offer because somewhere he too knows this food is mommy’s way of saying I love and care for you. My new eBook Easy Lunch Boxes features many of the recipes mentioned here and food combinations that can be enjoyed cold. If you liked the ideas here, do check that out too. I am sure your children will love the recipes as much as my son does.
Before I get to the cold lunch ideas, let me address some commonly asked questions on my Instagram page.
WHAT FOOD CAN YOU EAT COLD FOR LUNCH?
Wraps, rolls, sandwiches, cold pasta salads, pizza rolls, and Indian dishes such as idli’s, paniyarams, theplas, chilas are all perfect to be eaten cold or at room temperature too.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY KID’S LUNCH COLD?
When the lunchbox contains dairy, egg, or meat dishes I prefer to add an ice pack in the lunch bag to keep the lunchbox at a chilled temperature. Check out these cute kids’ lunch ice packs.
Let’s look at ideas for what to pack in your child’s lunch box that tastes good cold too.
33 EASY COLD LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS’ SCHOOL AND DAYCARE
These are all photos of real snack and lunch boxes my son takes to school. I like to prepare some side snacks for his lunch box on the weekends and plan our weekly lunch menu in advance so that all ingredients are ready in my pantry and fridge for preparing the boxes every day.
- Egg muffins, cucumbers, tomato, and mozzarella slices.
2. Banana bread, boiled egg, and orange.
3. Mushroom cheese wrap, cashews, and kiwi.
4. Ragi crepes, cashews, kiwi, and a banana.
5. Fish fingers, homemade mayonnaise, red grapes, and french fries.
6. Beans patty, french fries, and mango salsa.
7. Spinach muffins, cashews, and cherries.
8. Chicken meatball, tomato ketchup, lemon coriander quinoa, and an orange.
9. Bagel sandwich, sunflower seeds, banana, and a macaroon.
The bagel sandwich contains cream cheese, lettuce, and tomato slices.
10. Bean wrap, garlic-roasted broccoli, carrots, and grapes.
The bean wrap contains boiled mashed kidney beans, lettuce leaves, and a cheese slice with salt and pepper. Heat the wrap on a pan to melt the cheese before adding it to the lunchbox.
11. Beans sabzi roll, banana slices, and makhana.
12. Black chana salad, tamarind chutney, and grapes.
13. Pan-fried chicken, mushroom, peas, and green beans with rice, garlic-roasted broccoli, and pomegranate.
14. Chicken patty, strawberry fruit roll, and cheese crackers.
15. Chicken salad, guava, and millet crunchies.
The salad is made up of spinach leaves, pan-fried chicken breast pieces, chopped red and yellow bell peppers, and boiled chickpeas. I keep the salad dressing for this one simple with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and honey.
16. Chicken wrap, apple slices, and makhane (lotus seeds).
The chicken wrap contains pan fried chicken breast pieces, thinly sliced carrots, tomatoes and lettuce lreaves. For the sauce I added some real mayonnaise and honey mustard dressing.
17. Mediterranean pasta, pomegranate, and pumpkin seeds.
A simple cold pasta dish made with boiled penne pasta, mixed with chopped tomatoes, cheddar cheese and black olives. Add salt and black pepper to your taste.
18. Dosa fingers, beetroot salad, and banana chips.
The beetroot salad is made of boiled betroot pieces, fresh grated coconut and tadka (tempering) of mustard seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds.
19. Egg fried rice, french fries, and kiwi.
20. Egg omelet chapati roll, cashews, raisins, and cherries.
Note : Cherries are a choking risk food for under 5 year olds.This is a picture of a lunch box of my now six year old first grader.
21. Egg wrap, chikoo, and jackfruit chips.
The filling for the egg wrap is made by mixing boiled eggs with mayonaise, mustard, salt and pepper.
22. Spinach feta cheese wrap, cashews, grapes, and banana.
The wrap filling contains, feta cheese, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped spinach and some crushed pepper.
23. Hummus dipping lunchbox.
A simple lunch meal for busy days. Contains lightly toasted pita pockets, boiled chicken breast pieces, garlic-roasted broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and homemade hummus for dipping.
24. Hummus wrap, sunflower seeds, strawberries, and garlic-tossed green beans.
The hummus wrap contains, hummus spread on whole wheat chapati, chopped tomatoes, basil, black olives, salt and pepper.
25. Ragi wheat pancakes, peanut butter, honey, black grapes, and orange.
26. Peas patty, walnut chutney, grapes, walnut, and guava.
27. Pesto pasta, kiwi, and cheese crackers.
28. Peas potato wrap, sunflower, watermelon, and oranges.
Use wholewheat chapati or tortilla for the wrap. For the filling in the wrap, in a mixing bowl mash 2 boiled potatoes, 1/4 th cup boiled green peas, and add salt, black pepper, pizza seasoning, and oregano. Mix well.
When adding the filling first spread mayonnaise on the chapati and then add the filling, roll, and cut into easy-to-hold pieces.
29. Quinoa patty, pomegranate, cashews, and walnut.
30. Red bell pepper pasta, tomato, and banana
Recipe for the red bell pepper pasta in my ebook, Easy Family Meals.
31. Semolina appe, apple pieces, peanut butter, and black raisins
32. Strawberry peanut butter roll, grapes, cashews, and banana.
This lunch box idea is my take on jam nut butter chapati roll only instead of sugar laden jam we add strawberry slice on the chapati along with nut butter of choice. Its such a simple switch to reduce added sugar and my son loves this variation over jam-chapati roll.
33. Thalipeeth, garlic mushroom, grapes, and chutney.
Thalipeeth is a Maharashtrian savory pancak made from a mix of lentils, flours and spices. Here is a quick thalipeeth recipe for you to follow.
Pin this to refer to the next time you plan your child’s school lunch menu.
Related reading : Bento box lunch ideas for school kids
I hope you found some fun, interesting and healthy cold lunch ideas for your to try at home. Let me know in the comments below if you try any of these ideas.
Until next time!