Healthy, kid-friendly, and ready in just minutes – these DIY Turkey Lunchables make packing lunches feel like a breeze! Homemade Turkey Lunchables are perfect for school lunches, road trips, and busy summer days on the go!
Medically reviewed and cowritten by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
One day last week, I found myself with a child who suddenly decided to protest all sandwiches of all varieties (ham, cheese, turkey, peanut butter, you name it). Unfortunately, this also happened the same week I decided to buy that giant double pack of turkey lunchmeat from Costco.
Naturally, I was determined to not let my giant haul of turkey go to waste. We had to find some different ways to prepare it, and fast! And that’s when it hit me – a mini version of a turkey sandwich, aka turkey Lunchables!
Simple and oh-so kid-friendly, these turkey Lunchables are actually quite fun to customize with your favorite sides and dips (and whatever needs to be used up in your fridge over the next week). I also love the amount of food you can put into a DIY Lunchable and still have plenty of leftovers for the week and beyond!
Feeding kids can be tricky! But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here you can find 40 Family Dinner Ideas, over 100 Kid Snack Ideas, great Hidden-Veggie Recipes, 30 School Lunch Box Ideas, and so much more! And for even more family-friendly recipes, check out my best-selling cookbook Little Foodies: Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste.
Reasons to Love Turkey Lunchables
- A toddler and kid favorite
- Easy to make – older kids can help put them together
- Customizable with favorite ingredients
- Great for school or packed lunches
- More budget-friendly than store-bought
- Easy to make gluten and dairy-free
Don’t Miss: if your kid loves lunchables, then be sure to not miss our popular DIY Pizza Lunchable!
- Turkey: we’re using low-sodium, deli-style turkey, but feel free to substitute another meat such as ham or roast beef
- Cheese: you could try slices of cheddar, swiss, provolone, even pepper-jack for a little kick
- Crackers: use multi-grain, whole wheat, or gluten-free, depending on your family’s needs
- Sides: so many options! We like to do a side of fruit, like grapes or a side of raw veggies (carrots or cucumbers), and sometimes a dip like hummus or guacamole.
Health Benefits of Turkey Lunchables: The health factor of your lunchable will depend on what you decide to include, but turkey is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and zinc. If you add cheese, you’ve got some calcium, fat, and protein. Round it out with some whole grain crackers, fruit, or veggies for some fiber and extra vitamins and minerals.
- Cut the veggies and fruit, and add to the lunch box. Add in the crackers and the treat.
- Cut the cheese into squares or a shape of choice. Add to the lunch box.
- Cut the turkey into slices, squares or a shape of choice. Add to the lunch box.
- Securely place the lid on the lunch box and place into a kids lunch bag along with a frozen ice pack.
- Gluten-Free: use a trusted brand of gluten-free crackers and gluten-free toppings.
- Dairy-Free: use a vegan sliced cheese
Turkey Lunchable Variations
There’s a lot of variety with these easy turkey Lunchables. Here’s a few ideas to mix it up!
- Swap out turkey for another deli meat, like ham, roast beef, or even pepperoni slices.
- Serve with pretzels or tortilla chips instead of crackers for the ultimate crunch.
- Include a healthy fat, such as guacamole or your favorite nut butter for dipping veggies or fruits.
- Spread a little hummus on a tortilla and top with turkey and cheese for a homemade roll-up.
- Include a small container of their favorite condiment (ie. ranch, ketchup, bbq sauce or even marinara).
What to Pack Lunchables In
Lunchables store best in containers that can keep the ingredients separate until you’re ready to eat, similar to a bento-style lunchbox, like these best lunchboxes for kids.
BEST OVERALL LUNCH BOX: OMIEBOX
We love the OmieBox because it has a built-in thermos that can be inserted into the lunch box for warm or cold foods that can be removed if needed. How brilliant is that? Plus, you can insert dividers in the 2 smaller sections to separate the food, and each section is leakproof.
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY LUNCH BOX: PLANETBOX ROVER
We have been using the Planetbox Rover for years, and we all absolutely love it! The Rover holds a good amount of food for both my 5 and 7-year-olds, and I know I can pack it with even more food as they grow. My girls love the fun magnets, the carrying case, and the small colorful pods you can add into the bento for small amounts of food. This lunchbox is made completely without plastic – it is made with only stainless steel and food-grade silicone.
BEST VALUE LUNCH BOX: EASY LUNCH BOXES
A very basic bento that comes in a 4-pack with different colored lids. This set of Bentos comes with the smallest price tag, and you can get all 4 boxes for under $20. This bento is a great size for both kids and grown-ups which means you can use them for the entire family. They aren’t made with the highest quality of materials (BPA-Free Plastic), but we have had our bento boxes for over 6 years, and they are still going strong. I think every family should have a set of these. They are also a great option if your kid tends to misplace everything in their life;).
BEST FOR YOUNGER KIDS: BENTGO (CLOSE RUNNER UP – INNOBABY BUS BENTO)
This is a great little lunch box for younger kids or kids who don’t eat very much. I loved that it is a compact, lightweight, and completely leakproof lunchbox. My kids loved the fun designs on the front. Plus, this lunchbox is super easy to open and shut for younger kids.
Additional Helpful Tools
What to Pack with Turkey Lunchables
So many foods pair well with these Turkey Lunchables. Here are several favorites:
- apple slices
- carrot sticks
- sliced cucumbers
- half of a banana
- mandarin oranges
- snap peas
- cherry tomatoes
- crunchy roasted chickpeas
- hummus for dipping
- nut and dried fruit trail mix
How to Serve to Toddlers
When serving to toddlers, this notoriously selective bunch might be more interested in eating items if they’re allowed to eat them individually (instead of a meat and cracker sandwich). Most toddlers also love to dip their foods. Consider packing a small container of hummus, nut butter, or even greek yogurt for dipping crackers, veggies, and fruits.
How to Store
You can store pre-made lunchables in the fridge for up to 4 days. If packing for lunches or traveling, keep the lunches chilled and prepare them just before serving.
- Lunchables store best in containers that keep the ingredients separate until you’re ready to eat, similar to a bento-style lunchbox. It’s a good idea to use smaller containers with a lid within the lunchbox, especially for dips or sauces.
- If you’ve got picky eaters, allow them to assemble their own lunchable creations, such as using a dipping sauce or eating the Lunchable components separately.
- Include older kids in packing their own lunchables for school lunches or trips. This is a great way to encourage independence in the kitchen and model healthy eating habits.
- No smaller containers to divide up your lunchable ingredients? No problem! Just use cupcake liners to create dividers in a seal-able container.
- Hate all the food scraps? Then you can just cut the turkey or cheese into squares which alleviates the cut out food scraps. Or you can use them with your dog for dog treats (which is what we do).
- 2-3 pieces deli turkey
- 1 slice cheese
- 10 crakcers
- 1/2 cup fruit of choice, chopped if needed
- 1/4 cup veggies of choice, chopped if needed
- 1-2 treats