Category Archives: nutrition

HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS FOR TODDLERS & PRESCHOOLERS

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written by Jen #supermom

Sending your toddler or pre-schooler out for the day and need to pack a lunch?  So over making PB&J sandwiches?  I am personally going through this now, as my 3 year old is at daycare 4 half days a week, and I need to provide lunch.  I cannot bear to give her the favorite (PB&J of course) more than once, MAYBE twice a week.  That being said, she’s also a bit of a picky eater and I’m always looking for new healthy options that she will actually consume.

As this seems to be a popular topic among many moms in this situation, I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’ve received from friends near and far:

* Wraps (vs sandwiches) – cheese and/or deli meats or avocado and hummus.  Cut wrap into pinwheels for fun!

* Another more exciting version of your typical sandwich – cut it with cookie cutters!  (After all, presentation of the food is quite a bit deal to the little ones)….and eat the remains for your snack (isn’t that we always end up doing anyway)?!

* Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pasta in a thermos with turkey meatballs or veggies

* Tomato soup and a grilled cheese

* Hummus or Guac with Veggies and Pita to dip

* Black beans and rice

* Quesadilla with beans and spinach, or cheese and avocado!

* Rolled slices of turkey, rolled sliced cheese and whole wheat crackers

* Yogurt and berries with a half sandwich

* Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese

* Use leftover roasted chicken and add mayo, sweet cranberries and crunchy celery to make a yummy wrap or sandwich

* Falafel patty in a pita with lettuce, tomato and plain yogurt

* Veggie burger with pita & dip of choice

Sides:

* Corn, peas, chickpeas…fun small round things!

* Frozen yogurt squeezers (will be thawed out but still cold by time lunch comes around)

* Chopped up veggies: cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, peppers

* String cheese

* Hard boiled egg

* Fruit salad

* Grapes

Here is some helpful advice in regards to planning for the week’s lunches:

  1. Stock up on non-perishables:  Almonds/cashews, raisins, whole wheat crackers, beans, bread sticks, granola, rice cakes
  2. Make certain things ahead of time (on Sunday perhaps): Hard boil eggs, falafel patties or sandwiches the night before.  Roast a whole chicken so you have it to cut up for sandwiches!
  3. Have a  variety of proteins, carbs and fresh fruit on hand.  I always shop for Sunday night delivery so we are loaded up and ready for the week ahead.

So far I’ve had many days when I pick her up and almost the entire lunch has not been touched, other days it’s been entirely gobbled up.  I think this is completely unavoidable, no matter what is offered!  It just depends on her mood, and I am never exactly sure what she’s in the mood for. Or perhaps it has more to do with what is going on around her at the time (she is so easily distracted)!  Anyway, I hope this list of suggestions will at least empower you to try new things…and who knows, perhaps your child will fill find a new favorite and you’ll come home with more empty lunch boxes!