Nutrition for children and especially preschoolers poses a challenge to many parents. At the preschool age, the child may still be choosy with foods, and yet, you may not have introduced all the foods. You will also be challenged by the choice of foods that you make as thy need to be yummy and nutritious at the same time. Healthy meals will give your child the energy to concentrate, play and learn.
Here are some ideas to get you started. They are easy to prepare, delicious and most importantly, convenient for packing.
Table of Contents
1. Fruity Chicken and Rice
Your preschooler will love this dish as it is sweet and they get to explore a variety of textures from the chicken, rice, and fruits. It needs reheating, so be sure that the preschool has reheating options. Another option and the best is to pack in a lunchbox that maintains heat.
½ cup cooked rice
¼ finely diced chicken breast pieces
¼ cup apple washed and chopped in unsweetened apple juice
½ cup carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 spoon butter
- Melt butter in the pan then add the chicken pieces and stir fry until brown.
- Add the apple pieces together with the unsweetened juice and carrots. Cook for few minutes then add rice and stir well.
- Cook on low heat until the carrots have softened and the juice has thickened.
- Keep on stirring to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom
- When ready, pack in a food flask.
- The remaining portion can be stored in the freezer for another day.
2. Chicken, Corn, and Cabbage Stuffed Tortilla Wraps
- 2 whole tortillas
- 250 grams boneless chicken
- 1 cup of finely cut red and white cabbage
- I tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup corn
- ½ cup basil leaves washed and dried then roughly chopped
- Grill the chicken on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes
- Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes
- Cut it into small pieces that are age appropriate
- In a bowl, combine the chicken with all other solid ingredients
- Spread some honey on the tortillas. On top of each, add the chicken mixture equally.
- Roll up the tortillas into a spring roll
- Transfer to the wrapped tortillas on a medium heated grill or warm oven (2500F) for about a minute
- Finally, cut the tortillas diagonally in half and pack.
3. Almond Butter and Mango Sandwish
We parents love sandwiches- they are easy to make, and kids love them. However, sometimes they become monotonous. Spice your sandwich this time around with this sophisticated and grilled almond butter and mango sandwich.
4 slices of sandwich bread
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 ripe mango cut into thin slices
- Spread almond butter on each slice of bread
- Place the mango slices over the buttered bread and spray with olive oil
- Grill on medium heat for 3 minutes, until browned on both sides
- Cut into half and pack
4. Easy Noodles
100 grams noodles
1 medium size grated carrot
50g precooked green peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
50g shredded meat
1 cup boiled water
- Put the noodles in a heatproof bowl then add boiling water and wait for it to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes
- Drain the water
- In a pan, heat the oil then add peas, shredded meat, and grated carrots. Stir-fry until the carrots are soft.
- Add the noodles then heat for two more minutes. If dry, add some water or sauce.
- Pack in a thermos to keep it hot.
5. Baked Fish Fingers With Vegatables
1 cup fish fingers (simply slice white fish into sticks sizeable for a toddler)
2 eggs, beaten
I cup breadcrumbs
I tablespoon dried oregano
- Preheat your oven. Meanwhile, pour the beaten eggs in a bowl and mix with breadcrumbs
- Spread oil on a non-stick baking sheet
- Dip fish fingers in the mixture of eggs and breadcrumbs
- Roll each fish finger on the baking sheet then bake for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown
- When ready, pack with a dipping sauce of your choice.
The amount of food that you pack heavily relies on your child’s appetite and the number of hours they will be away. If preschool time is more than six hours, you may need to pack morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea or snack. It is also a good idea to pack a bottle of drinking water, for the child to keep hydrating all day long. It may sound better to pack fruit juice, but it is not recommended for preschoolers as it may lead to teeth decay.
For afternoon snacks, consider some of the following:
- Sliced fruits and yogurt
- Whole-grain cereal
- Plain fruit kabobs
- Muffin bites
- Apple crisps
- Fruit and nut snack bars (be sure that the school allows nuts and that your child is not allergic to them)
- Baked vegetable sticks/chips
- Hummus vegetable wraps
- Dried fruits
- Homemade granola bars
- Chicken sausage rolls
Finally, whatever you decide to pack for your preschooler, ensure that it is nutritious. The foods should be easy to prepare, eat and appetizing for your child even after staying in the lunchbox for several hours. You also need to strictly follow hygienic methods of food preparation especially if the food has to stay in the lunchbox for long.
Get an insulated lunchbox or better one with a freezer pack to keep the food cool. Alternatively, keep the lunch box together with a frozen water bottle. By lunchtime, the water will have thawed for the child to drink and the food will be fresh. You can prepare the meals the night before, for it to be just an easy task of packing in the morning.