For most parents coming up with lunch ideas for toddlers is a considerable challenge. I have to admit that I am one of them. I try to mix ingredients and make the perfect launch for my daughter, but doing it every single day can be pretty exhausting. It is likely possible that you will wake up one morning and realize that you have run out of ideas.
Well, the fact is that our toddlers like simple, fun things. When I have started to think about trying new ideas for food for my daughter, I have realized that the only rule I have to respect is to mix food in a way to get the healthy and fun combinations. Health food is ultimate demand from my point of view. Fun food is ultimate demand from my daughter’s point of view. There is no reason on the earth why wouldn’t I do something to make both of us happy.
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Avoid Too Much Unfamiliar Food At Once
I started with fruit and fresh veggies. In the beginning, I tried to find familiar ingredients because our kids might be suspicious of food that is entirely unknown to them. In time, I gradually have added new foods to my daughter’s daily diet, and she has accepted new challenges without a problem.
Every child will enjoy if her lunch is familiar, yummy, and fun. Check out what kind of food your kid prefers and don’t force her to eat ingredients that she really doesn’t like. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that we should allow our kids to be too picky and to refuse certain foods, but there is no reason to force them to eat something they hate if it is about only one or two ingredients.
There is one more thing you need to get used to. The appetite of our kiddos varies from one day to the next, and it’s pretty typical. They enjoy exploring and trying the combinations they like most. One serious warning! Before you start to introduce new food into your child’s menu, you should check if your kid has any allergy problems.
Pick Out the Right Box
When I was a kid, all of us used to eat sandwiches and apples. I usually added a bar of chocolate which I adored, and that was it. Nowadays it seems that my favorite lunch is outdated. Our kids expect a lunch box with prepared meals. The preferred choice for toddler’s lunch box today are both Yumbox and bento boxes. Since they apparently can’t reheat their meal during school, you need to put together food your child like and make healthy lunch which can be served cold.
Sometimes it seems to me that picking out the right toddler’s lunch box is a science! There are too many of them, and everyone looks like a box for food which astronauts use in space. Let’s see!
1 – Bento (a Japanese word for a lunch box) boxes represent a portion of a home-packed meal which is traditionally common in Japanese cuisine. Recognizing the advantage of this meal packages moms from the West started to use boxes of different sizes and shapes customizable to their kid’s appetite and the food they want to pack. These days you can find these boxes anywhere.
2 – Yumboxes are durable and leak-proof lunch boxes which make them perfect for keeping wet food. Their tight seals will keep all the contents in the right place, and multiple compartments will keep different meals separate until kid’s lunchtime.
3 – Sandwich Stamps – your child can eat without them, but she will enjoy her lunch better with these cute gadgets. Actually, their interesting shapes are the perfect choice for picky eaters.
4 – Cookie Cutter is a cheaper version of sandwich stamps. You probably have some at home, and you can use them to make creative puff pastries, cookies, pitas, or cheeses.
5 – Silicone Baking Cups can be handy for toddlers. They can’t break them, and it’s not a big deal if they lose them. Fortunately, they are durable, easy to wash, waterproofed, and you can find them in many colors which your toddler will like. Plus, with these practical cups, you can quickly transform any lunch box into a Yumbox!
6 – Food Picks and Forks are not a necessary part of toddler’s lunch, but they are absolutely fun. Be sure that your child will love such a decorated meal!
When Lunch Requires Special Techniques
All of the popular lunch boxes are very small and compact. That means that you must be creative in making and packing the foods. I will try to give you some basic techniques which will make all the process more comfortable and stress-free.
1 – Make everything tidy and neat
It is very easy to cram food into a box, but the only way to provide that different foods do not mix and lose shape and taste is to arrange them properly in the appropriate sections.
2 – Cutting food into adequate shapes
Well, except your kid will be enthusiastic about different shapes, you can use these shapes as an advantage to arrange the food so it can be easily fit into the sections of the box.
3 – Make food pieces tiny
Making food pieces tiny is very important when you have limited space for all food you want to pack. It has to fit as good as possible, and small pieces make the process simpler. There is one more advantage of tiny pieces. Your toddler will probably eat using her fingers, and it’s better to eat smaller slices than to spill half of the meal.
4 – Rolling up food
Rolling up some parts of lunch will give you maximum space for food without letting the content to become a non-shaped porridge. Think of food items which you can roll up together. It will be easier packing these obtained little pinwheels into the lunch box. You can try; it can be both useful and fun at the same time.
Enjoyable Food Will Prevent Your Toddler From Becoming The Picky Eater
To avoid that my daughter eats the same foods over and over again, I often make a list of ideas I can look at in the morning while I fill the lunch box. Believe me; this decision has made a huge difference in my child’s diet. It also helps to make both healthy and enjoyable food which helps prevent her from eating the same boring ingredients and eventually becomes the picky eater.
The primary goal of these types of toddler lunch ideas is to teach our children that all the food can be delicious and lovely. If you offer color, variety, enjoyment, and a good taste, you can be sure that your little ones will learn to appreciate different food. Making interesting combinations is an excellent way for toddlers to catch the fancy even those foods they usually refuse to eat.
My Daughter’s Favorite Lunch Ideas Which Your Child Will Adore
Let me show you my fantastic ‘toddler meal ideas’ list I have collected over the years. It is a list of food which is nutritious and good for your kid. At the same time, it is interesting, colorful, and surprising. Your child will just not be able to resist this one meal.
1 – Egg salad
It is my favorite food and my daughter also like it very much. Plus, it is easy to make. You just need to boil eggs and slice them into small pieces. Serve them along pita, make a sandwich, or mix them with crackers. With dried fruit and fresh veggie, it will be the healthy and yummy food for every child.
2 – Eggs in combination with cheese mini-muffins
Hard-boiled eggs are always an excellent choice for lunch box because they are tasty even cold. Plus, some kids experience them as a treat. In combination with cheese mini-muffins, pita bread, and grain crackers, it is a perfect lunch for toddlers. Include some fruit, and you can be sure that your little one has ideal food for the day.
3 – Sandwich bread spirals
Have you ever thought that simple bread could be both tasty and pleasant? Just roll the soft sandwich-bread with a rolling pin. Cover the bread optionally with butter, nut butter, salsa, hummus, mashed sweet potato, cream cheese, cocoa butter, or jam. For creative moms, the possibilities are limitless. Slice it and serve as spiral pieces. Yummy!
4 – Tortilla roll-ups
Take a tortilla and spread nut butter all around. Sprinkle ground nuts and milk biscuits on the top and wrap it. If you prefer veggies, fill the tortilla with cream cheese and add ham and sliced chicken or turkey meat. Include a banana, an apple, or an orange in the lunch box, and your kid will enjoy a perfect meal for sure.
5 – Yogurt parfait
I will only say – PERFECT! Believe me; it is definitely favorite lunch idea for every toddler. Chop the fruit, including bananas, apples, pineapples, mango, strawberries, or kiwi into small pieces, and mix them with granola and ordinary full-fat yogurt. Serve this with sweet potatoes, sweet corn, or green veggies such as peas or cucumber. Mmm..
6 – Pancake sandwiches
Make an experiment and create a sandwich of pancakes which have remained after Sunday’s dinner. Fill them with kid’s favorite ingredients such as nut or sun-butter, cream cheese, honey, or jam. Combine these unexpected sandwiches with fresh fruit or plain full-fat yogurt and your toddler will enjoy one more perfect lunch.
7 – Waffle egg with favorite veggies
Merely scramble an egg and pour it into a homemade waffle. Mix this nice meal with beans, avocado, sweet corn, or rice and let your toddler enjoy a healthy and colorful meal. That is all she needs for a nice and tasty lunch.
8 – Hummus sandwich
It is trendy meal these days. Plus, you can make different combinations, and your child will believe that has an entirely original and different sandwich each time. Spread hummus between two slices of soft bread. Serve it with sliced soft veggies and crackers. Pick out different types of hummus including Pea Hummus, Black Bean Hummus, Beet Hummus, Regular Hummus, Edamame Hummus, or some others your kid like the most. The essence is in diversity.
9 – Chicken or pork bites
Put chicken or pork bites in the lunch box and add crackers, sauce, cheese, pieces of veggies including cucumber or tomato. With tiny slices of apples or some seasonal fruit, you will make your child happy with this luxurious meal.
10 – Spaghetti
Spaghetti is always a desirable meal for a child. You can cover them with tomato sauce; add cheese, minced meat, boiled vegetables, and even pieces of fish. No matter how you make them, they are always delicious. This dish can be eaten without heating, which makes it desirable for toddler’s lunch box.
11 – Mini cheese pizza
Make mini pizzas with pieces of meat, vegetables, tomato sauce, cheese, and an egg. With fruit or a simple dessert, you will get pizza-inspired lunch. Is there a child in the world who wouldn’t enjoy this meal? I believe that you are aware that the answer is – no!
I have given you only a few ideas, but when you start to mix ingredients, you will discover new exciting lunch ideas every single day. The fact is that there is no a particular recipe for box lunch for your toddler. It’s all about your imagination and patience. The aim is to provide an inspirational and adequate meal for your child every day and to teach her to love the less desirable foods through various combinations.
In the end, I want to remind you – don’t forget to add water, juice, or milk to the lunch box. Children need a lot of liquid during the day, but very often they forget about it while they play with their peers.