10 Meat-Free Toddler Lunches

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A list of 10 easy and simple meat-free toddler lunches. Try these vegetarian lunches with your toddlers for a different source of protein.

My own toddlers are not vegetarian, but they don’t eat meat at every meal. Most toddlers are not huge fans of meat and many struggle to eat it because of factors like texture, toughness, chewiness, and if we’re being honest meat can look a little intimidating!

I’m sharing 10 vegetarian meat-free toddler lunches based on what my toddlers actually eat for lunch each day. Even if your toddler does eat meat, these are simple toddler meals that would make a great addition to your meal rotation.

Please consult your doctor before making any major changes to your toddler’s diet. This post contains my own opinions plus research i’ve independently conducted, but it should not be used as medical advice.

Do Toddlers Need to Eat Meat?

Meat can be a healthy part of your toddler’s diet, but they don’t need to eat meat, especially not at every meal. If your toddler doesn’t eat meat (or doesn’t eat much meat) because of personal choice, religious reasons, or any reason at all, rest assured!

Toddlers don’t need to eat meat. Meat contains many important nutrients like iron, protein, and vitamin-B12, but there are vegetarian options to help them obtain these nutrients as well. If you are intentional about serving your toddler a healthy well-rounded diet they don’t need to eat meat to be healthy.

How Much Protein do Toddlers Need per Day?

Most toddlers only need about 12-18 grams of protein per day. If your toddler eats dairy foods, they likely get all or nearly all of their daily protein needs from dairy alone. Below are some common toddler foods and the amount of protein they contain.

Toddler FoodProtein per serving
Greek Yogurt17g
Black Beans (1/2c)8g
Milk (1c)8g
String Cheese7g
Peas (1/2c)4g
Oats (2/3c)4g
Protein content of popular toddler foods

Toddler Feeding Supplies

Toddlers don’t need any special feeding supplies to eat their meals, but sometimes having the right tools can make a huge difference! Here are some of my favorites for my two toddlers:

  • Pillowfort Plates: these are our favorite plates that you will see in all our pictures. They are affordable, durable, and come in cute colors.
  • Annova Toddler Silverware: we got this set when my oldest turned 2 and we use them every single day. They are a great set when you are ready to move up from plastic utensils. They are the perfect size for toddlers and have a cute toddler-friendly imprint.
  • Munchkin 360 Cup: this is our favorite open trainer cup. Its great when you are ready to move past sippy or straw cups. It’s leak proof and my toddlers still get excited when I bring this cup out because its so cool to use.

Meat-Free Toddler Lunch Ideas

Meat-Free Lunch 1

Toddler Lunch Idea #1

Veggie Tots. Sweet potato or cauliflower tots (like these ones from Green Giant) with ketchup for dipping. I like to make these in the air fryer! Side of whole milk string cheese, black beans, and avocado.

Meat-Free Lunch 2

Meat-Free Lunch Idea #2

Veggie Corndog. A meat-free corndog (like this one from MorningStar Farms) with a side of ketchup for dipping and mandarin oranges. For younger toddlers you can also pull it off the stick and slice.

Meat-Free Lunch 3

Toddler Meat-Free Lunch #3

Snack Plate. Toddler snack tray with whole wheat crackers, grapes, whole milk string cheese, avocado, and blueberries. Try to make your own and add all your toddler’s favorite healthy snacks. For more snack ideas check out this post: 50 Toddler Snack Tray Ideas

Meat-Free Lunch 4

Meat-Free Lunch Idea #4

Broccoli Littles. Potato veggie cakes (like these ones from Dr. Praeger’s; they also make a spinach and sweet potato version). Crackers with cheese (Laughing Cow Cheese Dippers) and strawberries.

Meat-Free Lunch 5

Meat-Free Toddler Lunch #5

Avocado Toast. Whole wheat bread toasted and then topped with smushed avocado, side of grapes and whole milk string cheese.

Meat-Free Lunch 6

Toddler Lunch Idea #6

PB&J. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut with sandwich cutters to make it more fun for your toddler. Side of raspberries, chopped nuts, and whole milk string cheese.

Meat-Free Lunch 7

Meat-Free Lunch Idea #7

Broccoli & Cheese Roll Up. Tortilla heated on a frying pan (or in the microwave) with melted cheese and broccoli, then tightly rolled up. I like to cut in half for my toddler but you could cut into bite sized pieces or leave whole. Side of strawberries and kiwi.

Meat-Free Lunch 8

Toddler Lunch Idea #8

Broccoli Eggs & Cheese. Adding veggies like peppers, cauliflower, or broccoli to scrambled eggs is an easy way to add in an extra serving of veggies. Served with a side of avocado cut with food cutters and grapes halved.

Meat-Free Lunch 9

Meat-Free Lunch Toddler Lunch #9

Pasta. Regular wheat pasta or pasta made wit veggies like Birdseye SteamFresh Rotini Marinara. Try pasta with butter, red sauce, pesto, or even served cold like pasta salad. Side of cucumber and pineapple.

Meat-Free Lunch 10

Toddler Lunch Idea #10

Mac & Cheese. Macaroni and white cheddar cheese (I like Annie’s Homegrown Mac & Cheese) with peas stirred in. Mac & cheese is another easy option for adding in extra veggies in your toddler’s meals. Try peas, carrots, spinach, or broccoli.

What non-meat meals do your toddlers like? Let me know in the comments below!

You might also like these related posts:

10 Vegetarian Meat-Free Toddler Lunches