12 Healthy Toddler Lunches
Toddler lunches can be tricky!
Not only are toddlers notorious at this age for being picky eaters but they are also great at changing their minds 3 seconds before you put their plate down in front of them about what they want to eat for that meal. Not to mention they sometimes will devour their entire plate in 3-seconds flat only to ask for another snack an hour later, or better yet when they will take one itsy-bitsy bite of their food and declare they are full.
So, when it comes to toddler lunches, I aim for healthy food that I can make in no time at all.
These 12 lunches are tried and true lunches! Filled with protein, complex carbs, veggies and fruit, these toddler lunches find a balance of healthy and fun. My babes love how bright, colorful and yummy they are and they will clean their plates with no problems at all, most of the time;)
Lunch on Left – chopped pieces of roasted chicken, black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped blackberries and warmed peas with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of cumin. Also for dessert a Beech-Nut Coldpuree pouch of pear & apricot puree.
Lunch on Right – carrot puree + cream cheese sushi sandwich rolls, just apple puree (or applesauce of choice) with smiley face and chopped cucumber.
To make Sushi Sandwich Rolls – simply place a piece of bread (I used whole wheat) onto a cutting board. Flatten the bread with you hand or a rolling pin as flat as you can get it without tearing holes into the bread. Cut off the crusts and trim bread into a rectangle. Spread roughly 1 teaspoon whipped cream cheese onto the bread and then layer 1 teaspoon of just banana, carrot & cranberry puree (or your favorite jam) on top. Place the bread on the cutting board and starting with the short end, tightly roll the bread up into a sushi roll. Cut into equal pieces and serve.
Lunch on Left – hidden veggies grilled cheese, macaroni rings with meat sauce (or soup of choice) and blueberries (cut in half for younger toddlers).
To make Hidden Veggies Grilled Cheese – take 2 pieces of whole wheat bread and spread butter on one side of each piece (the outside) and then spread roughly 1 teaspoon of just spinach, zucchini and peas on the other side (the inside) of each piece of bread. Layer 1-2 pieces of sliced cheddar cheese on top of the bread with the puree on it and lay the other piece of bread with the puree side towards the cheese. Grill sandwich in a medium skillet on medium heat for 3 minutes, flip and heat for 3 more minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is brown. Let cool slightly, cut into slices and serve. The green puree almost completely disappears into the bread, so kids will never know it was there.
Lunch on Right – chopped turkey meatballs with citrusy sweet potato dip, chopped steamed broccoli with sea salt, chopped strawberries and a banana, cherry & beet smoothie.
To make the Citrusy Sweet Potato Dip – stir together 1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise) and 2 teaspoons of sweet potato, orange & pineapple puree until well incorporated.
To make Banana, Cherry & Beet Smoothie – add the contents of 1 banana, cherry & beet coldpuree pouch, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of ice, 1/4 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice) and 1 teaspoon of honey (optional) into a blender and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Makes 1 toddler smoothie.
Lunch on Left – sliced pita, carrots, cucumbers and red peppers with carrot hummus and raisins.
To make Carrot Hummus – in a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup plain hummus and 2 tablespoons just carrot puree until will incorporated. Here is my favorite homemade carrot hummus recipe.
Lunch on Right – surprise peanut butter banana quesadilla, chopped purple grapes and sliced sweet peppers.
To make Surprise Peanut Butter Banana Quesadilla – spread 2 teaspoons of natural peanut butter (almond butter or seed butter also works) onto half of a medium flour tortilla. Slice half of banana and place the slices evenly on top of the peanut butter. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of just apple & blackberry puree (or favorite jam) over the bananas and peanut butter. Fold the tortilla in half and cook in a medium skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes, flip and cook for 3 more minutes or until brown on both sides.
Lunch on Left – cream cheese fruit crackers,, warmed corn with a pinch of paprika and chopped avocado with a squeeze of lime juice.
To make Cream Cheese Fruit Crackers – spread whipped cream cheese on top of your toddlers favorite crackers. Dollop a teaspoon of banana, blueberry & avocado coldpuree pouch (or your favorite jam) on top and serve. You can keep the rest of the pouch for a healthy snack later on in the day.
Lunch on Right – butternut squash mac and cheese + peas, apple ring with cinnamon and orange sections. I used this veggie cutter to cut the flower into the apple.
To make Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese + Peas – prepare the noodles from a normal size box of mac & cheese (this is our favorite brand). Follow the instructions for making the cheese sauce except only use half of the package of cheese powder and instead add in 2 heaping tablespoons of just butternut squash puree. I sprinkle the leftover cheese powder onto homemade popcorn for a fun mom snack:). Stir in the noodles and 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas and serve. Wanna make it homemade? Here is my very popular recipe for homemade Butternut Squash ‘Mac & Cheese’.
Lunch on Left – mango rice + edamame, roasted beets with nutmeg and pretzels.
To make Mango Rice with Edamame – In a small skillet over medium/low heat, whisk together 2 tablespoons just mango puree, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch of garlic powder. Add in 2 cups of cooked rice and 1/2 cup shelled edamame and stir until everything is incorporated. Feel free to add in some leftover chopped eggs into this recipe for a more authentic fried rice dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Fast Tip – I always keep a bag of frozen pre-cooked rice in my freezer for fast meals like this one.
Lunch on Right – cubed cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg with pepper, green bean and turkey roll-ups, pumpkin yogurt and chopped raspberries.
To make Pumpkin Yogurt – spoon some Greek yogurt into a small bowl or section of the plate. Place a cookie cutter (any shape works here) into the yogurt and gently press down. Spoon in just pumpkin puree and push around the puree until the entire cookie cutter shape is covered. Gently remove cutter. Any puree or jam will also work in this recipe.
Lunch on Left – healthy lunchable cheese and crackers, just pear puree with a pinch of nutmeg and chopped honeydew melon. I used this veggie cutter to cut out the cheese and meat.
Lunch on Right – chopped falafel and feta, chopped pineapple and sliced snap pea. And a banana, carrot & cranberry coldpuree pouch for dessert.
These amazing plates are from my new favorite company called Re-Play which uses recycled milk jugs to make these colorful, BPA free and kid-friendly plates, cups and utensils. Seriously, I can’t recommend these products enough.