This list of over 100 muffin tin meal ideas for kids has creative, simple ideas (cold and hot) for a healthy at-home lunch. Great way to expose children to different foods - all from a muffin pan serving tray!

over 100 muffin tin lunch ideas for kids.

It's summer around here, which means I'm getting the question "what's for lunch?" about 6 times a morning. 🙂 When my kids are at home for lunch, one of my absolute favorite ways to feed them is a muffin tin lunch.

kid foods in a muffin tin.

The Idea of Muffin Tin Meals

The idea of muffin tin lunches is so simple. There are 12 containers in a muffin tin - since I have 2 kids, I fill all 12 containers with 6-7 different kinds of foods (there are 6 tin options out there for one child). I usually pick 1 or 2 of the ideas from each list below to make a balanced and really fun lunch for the kids (if you want to pick 12 different ones, go for it - that's just way too much work for me).

From there, the kids absolutely get to pick what they do (or do not) eat. Especially with my very picky youngest, we sometimes struggle with healthy ideas that kids will actually eat. One of the best solutions I've found to picky eating is exposure, exposure, exposure - the more a child sees a food on a plate, the more likely he/she is to try it. This has been a great way to do just that!

kid foods in a muffin tin.

How to Find Ingredients

I really usually just serve whatever we have in the house, trying to balance out the meals as much as possible. You'll see in a minute that I have three main categories for muffin tin lunches - meat/cheese/protein, crackers/carbs, and fruit/veggies.

I also like to fill 1 of the muffin tins with some kind of dessert option. An important thing I've learned from accounts like is to not mystify or make desserts off-limits. Teach kids that they're supposed to be limited, but don't make them some "forbidden fruit." This helps ward off sugar obsessions and prevents and kind of food shame/guilt. Giving kids smaller desserts and allowing them to choose when they're eaten has been great in our house - it's taught my kids how to trust their own hunger/fullness signals and that desserts aren't "bad," they just need to be moderated.

kid foods in a muffin tin.

This is also a great way to limit snacking. We have a rule in our house - from lunch time until their quiet time (around 2), if they want a snack and they didn't finish the muffin tin, they have to get something from there to eat. You wouldn't believe how much this has limited after-meal snacking in our house! Since they know that they might as well eat what they'll need while they're actually at lunch, I'm cutting down on afternoon snacks so much.

Muffin tin lunches are like charcuterie boards for kids. They absolutely love eating this way! My kids seriously get excited when I pull out the muffin pan for a lunch. Also, they're so easy - you can literally transform anything you have in your home into a fun lunch for kids.

Related: if you're in need of an easy weeknight dinner with tons of flavor, check out my Greek Sheet Pan Chicken or Pork Chop Sheet Pan!

kid foods in a muffin tin.

Over 100 Muffin Tin Meal Ideas for Kids

Meat/Cheese/Protein Ingredients

  • Pepperoni
  • Salami
  • Ham (rolled into "scrolls")
  • Cut Hog Dogs
  • Lunch Meat
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
  • Hummus
  • PIstachios
  • Cheddar Cheese Chunks
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Cut Cheese Quesadilla
  • Fish Sticks
  • Beef Jerky
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Peanut Butter (to dip fruit or crackers)
  • Sweet dip option - Yogurt Fruit Dip (Mix ½ cup plain yogurt with 2 tablespoon vanilla pudding mix)
  • Savory dip option - Yogurt Ranch (Mix ½ cup plain yogurt with a half of a pack of ranch dressing mix)
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Peanuts
  • Bacon Slices
  • Steak Bites
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Laughing Cow Cheeses
  • Pork Skins
  • Ham & Cheese Pinwheels
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Popcorn Shrimp
  • Turkey Sticks
  • Baked Cheddar Bites
  • PB&J Bites (just quarter a PB&J Sandwich)
  • Sliced Sausage
  • Almonds

Cracker/Carb Options

  • Pretzels
  • Baked Chips
  • Goldfish
  • Saltines
  • Graham Crackers
  • Pasta Salad
  • Chex Mix
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Granola Bites
  • Wheat Thins
  • Fig Bars
  • Mini Pancakes
  • Water Crackers
  • Cheetos
  • Mini Rice Cakes
  • Croutons
  • Cereal
  • Veggie Sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Cooked Pasta
  • Sliced Waffles/Pancakes
  • Pita Bread
  • Multi-Grain Crackers
  • Animal Crackers
  • Lavash Bread
  • Triscuits
  • Mini Muffins
  • Cheese Balls
  • Cheese Crackers
  • Trail Mix
  • Sweet Potato Chips

Fruit/Veggie Options

  • Raisins
  • Carrots
  • Apple Slices
  • Grapes
  • Chickpeas
  • Snap Peas/Edamame
  • Cauliflower
  • Pickles
  • Asparagus
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Pineapple Chunks
  • Kiwi
  • Mixed Berries
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Banana Slices
  • Pears (canned or fresh)
  • Celery Sticks
  • Green Beans
  • Watermelon
  • Bell Pepper Slices
  • Dried Fruit
  • Edamame
  • Raspberries
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Frozen Mango Chunks
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumber Slices

Dessert Options

  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Mini Cookies
  • Chocolate Hummus
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Jelly Beans
  • M&Ms
  • Chocolate Sauce for dunking
  • Chocolate Covered Nuts/Pretzels
  • Toffee Bits
kid foods in a muffin tin.

Give muffin tin lunches a try in your home this summer - I think the kids and adults will love this method!

xo, Leslie - signature at the end of blog post.

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