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Friday, 12 September 2014

Toddler Lunch Ideas

I have totally been struggling this last week with what variety of lunch items to send in Fraser's lunch! It seems like forever ago that I was sending toddler food for Asher's daycare lunch and I'm trying desperatly not to send the same things over and over again as his main 'meal'. 

Fraser is 13 months now and loves finger foods!  But he doesn't love egg and is touch and go on meats.  I need ideas for his main lunch meal besides grilled cheese and Peanut butter and Jelly! 

I always pack a variety of fruits and vegetables and snacks but it really comes down to that main Lunch item to give him some protein and carbs! Cause this kid would eat fruit all day long if I let him.

I started my hunt for ideas and this is a few of the sites and lists that I came up with for toddler lunch ideas!:

From http://thismummy.com/

15 Simple Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

1) Toddler Tapas – One of my favourite lunches is a mix and match ‘tapas’ style lunch. We try and include something carb-y like crackers, rice cakes, crisp breads or bread sticks. Then some chopped up fruit and veggies like carrot sticks, cucumber batons, cherry tomato halves, grape halves and apple / pear wedges. We also have cheese cubes, bits of cut up ham and things for dipping like tomato sauce or cream cheese. I have to admit, I enjoy this kind of lunch as much as my toddler does!

2) Eggs – Boiled, scrambled, poached or however you like them served with toast soldiers is always a winner.

3) Eggy Bread – If your child is fussy with eggs (ours will eat the yolk but not the white) eggy bread is a great way to get them to eat some! Simply dip slices of bread into beaten egg on both sides and fry in a frying pan with a little butter until golden. We serve with baked beans.

4) Omelettes – You can add almost anything to an omellete: cheese, ham, mushrooms, bacon, peppers, tomato etc. I also like saving a few leftover boiled potatoes and frying them with some chopped onion before pouring over mixed eggs to make a Spanish omelette.

5) Pancakes - Sweet or savoury, pancakes make a nice and easy lunch for little ones. Try sweet pancakes with a grated apple or pear added to the batter before cooking. Or savoury pancakes filled with beans and cheese.

6) Sandwiches / Wraps – OK this is an obvious one but I can’t do a lunch post without mentioning the humble sandwich. Vary your sandwiches with different type of rolls or wraps and try lots of different filling. Filling ideas: egg mayonaise, tuna, ham, chicken, beef, cheese, cheese spread, cheese savoury (grated carrot, onion, celery and cheese mixed into a bit of mayo). Include whatever veggies your child will eat. Leftovers can also make great sandwich fillings, we save slow cooker BBQ chicken, slices of beef from when we’ve had a roast etc.
 
7) Toasties / Paninis - You don’t need a posh machine to make toasties at home. Just butter two slices of bread and then make a sandwich with your filling in between the unbuttered sides – so you have a sandwich but with the butter outwards. Then fry in a hot frying pan until golden and your filling is melted. My favourites are cheese and ham, cheese tuna and sweetcorn, cheese and onion and cheese and tomato (always good to have cheese in there!). Just chop into bite size chunks or fingers for toddlers. If you have one, we use our George Foreman grill to make lovely toasties or paninis such as these leftover bbq chicken and cheese paninis.
 
8)’ Summat’ on Toast - Beans on toast are my husband absolute favourite lunch, and our toddler loves it too and will happily wolf down a bowl of beans with soliders to dip in. We also like cheese on toast and tinned tomatoes on toast. Other variations on this we like are bagels with cream cheese, potato cakes (Warbuton’s are yummy!) and cheesey crumpets like these I made last week (this was my serving – chop into bite size pieces for toddlers!).

9) Quesadillas – Sandwich cheese and whatever veggies you have to hand (grated carrots, spinach, sweetcorn etc) between two tortilla wraps and cook in a greased frying pan for a few minutes each side until the filling has melted. Super quick and tasty!

10) Soup – This is my staple lunch when I really want to pile some veggies into my little one! Homemade soups are super easy to make. You can even make soups such as this leek and potato soup, in your slow cooker. We are also dying to try this yummy looking spring broccoli soup from Amanda Uniquely.

11) Pasta – Leftover pasta from the night before always makes a tasty lunch the next day. If you are not a fan of cold pasta (hubby hates it!) you can reheat in the microwave. Its also really easy to knock up a quick pasta salad – my favourite is cold pasta simply tossed with some mayo, tuna, tinned sweetcorn and a bit of chopped lettuce.

12) Pasties – Check out my recipe for making pasties with your leftovers. These can be packed with healthy fillings and are freezable and heat up quickly in the oven or microwave for a super quick lunch (I make mini versions for our toddler).

13) Easy Pizzas – Lunchtime pizzas are super easy and don’t require making dough or anything strenuous, we use a halved english muffin, french stick or a tortilla wrap. Lightly toast and then add with some tomato sauce, cheese and your favourite meat and veg toppings and melt under the grill for a super quick mini pizza.

14) Pitta Breads - We love pitta bread stuffed with chicken goujons and salad and cut into strips. We also toast our pittas and serve with hummus for dipping.

15) Quiche - Quiche is always a good staple to have in the fridge / freezer for days when you can’t think of anything to cook.

I also found.....

The always loved Weelicious has a whole section of her website dedicated to toddler foods!!

http://weelicious.com/toddler-recipes/

One of the ones I'll be sure to try is....

    Spinach Pancakes!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. 1. In a blender, combine the spinach, buttermilk, egg, and oil and blend until smooth.
  2. 2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
  3. 3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. 4. Heat a large pan or griddle over medium heat and grease with butter or oil.
  5. 5. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the pancake mixture onto the griddle, making as many pancakes as will fit and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. 6. Flip the pancakes and cook for one minute longer and serve.
 
*Mixture can also be used in a waffle iron following manufacturers directions.

And I even found these toddler snack ideas on the Governments health website:
  • Whole grain, cold cereal with milk, milk or yogurt smoothies blended with fruit
  • Yogurt with fresh fruit pieces or applesauce
  • Yogurt with crackers or roti
  • Rice and raisin pudding made with milk
  • Dessert tofu with fresh fruit
  • Sandwiches made with egg, tuna, chicken salad, sliced cheese, or easy-to-chew meat
  • Grated or small cubes of cheese with whole grain crackers
  • A small muffin and orange wedges
  • Whole grain crackers, toast or rice cakes thinly spread with peanut butter, mashed avocado, or non-hydrogenated margarine
  • Banana bread thinly spread with peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
  • Hummus with whole wheat pita or soft cooked (and cooled) vegetables
  • Low sodium tomato or mixed vegetable juice

  • Ok so now I have a big list of Toddler Lunch ideas to refer too!  And so do you!

    Let me know what you like to send your Toddler for lunch in the comments below.

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