EASY TODDLER LUNCH IDEAS
As the importance of diet and nutritional health is on the rise in schools and communities, the toddler lunch’s dilemma is quickly becoming a nuisance for moms across the globe. Bread, processed cold meats and spreads contain vast amounts of sugar and preservatives, eliminating the traditional ‘break time sarmie’.
Toddler Lunch should now be filled with a variety of healthy bits and bobs that don’t always appeal to the tastes of children. No matter how much effort you put into breakfast and supper, making sure that your child gets all the nutrients that he or she needs during the day when they’re away at school is tough.
WHEN TO START
The first step for toddler lunch success is to start them out young by leaving out salt and sugar when you introduce them to solids. The bubble of mom’s healthy food obviously won’t last forever, but it’s a good start and at least, while they’re at that age, they won’t want what they don’t know. (It’s important, though, not to force them to eat anything they really don’t like since all you’ll be doing is re-enforcing a negative connection with that ingredient or foodstuff and probably lead to them hating it for the rest of their life.)
Also, try to start teaching your toddler why it is important to eat healthy foods from as early as possible. You’ll have to find ways to communicate this message which they can understand and relate to, but a little bit of time, energy and creativity here will save you lots of trouble in the future. The next thing you can do is to make food fun, especially when it comes to their packed school lunch.
BEST TIPS AND TRICKS
- Make it colorful: Kids love primary colors (like those of most fruits and vegetables) because it is one of the first aspects of seeing that they develop and therefore one of the first tools they have for making sense of the world.
- Make it playtime: Dips and accompanying nibbles (like hummus or peanut butter dip, mini meatballs and vegetable ‘sticks’) make up a fantastic packed lunch. It provides an opportunity for your child not just to interact with their food, but also gives them the illusion that they are in charge of deciding what to eat. It’s also great because no matter how many times your child leaves and comes back to the lunch it always looks appealing.
- Variety is key: One of the children’s major motivators is curiosity so use this fact and make sure that their school lunch differs at least enough for them to want to find out what it is. Another wonderful way to make sure they don’t get bored is to send them off with a warm meal – especially in winter. There are all kinds of thermal containers available even in some supermarkets so use this fact to your advantage.
- Make it magical: A little treat now and then goes a long way. Best of all, it does not have to be sweet. A kind note from mom can be just as effective at making your child feel special, never mind the joy when you’ve wrapped their lunch up like a present. Basically, any way of making them feel loved will be greatly appreciated, even if they don’t always show it.
EASY TODDLER LUNCH IDEAS
Colorful Fruit Smoothies
A fruit smoothie is ideal as a mid-morning or after lunch snack. High in fiber and low in sugar, a smoothie will keep little tummies full while waiting for the lunch break. Add a handful of strawberries, blueberries or raspberries to one cup of full-cream yogurt and blend. This will ensure that your kids get all the nutrients that they need. Pair their smoothie with a bunch of steamed veggies and a piece of chicken and they’ll be ready to take on a busy afternoon of activities.
Cream Cheese and Veggies
A snack of cream cheese and crackers will not only keep your little one’s tummy full but will also provide a balanced amount of nutrients. Fill a small container with plain cream cheese, chop up bite-sized pieces of cucumber, carrots, and peppers and place them into zip-lock bags to keep them fresh. Ideal for both morning and afternoon, these will ensure that there is something interesting in your toddler lunch.
Crackers and Cheese
With a high fiber content and probiotic content, a slice or two of mature cheese on a cracker is the ideal hunger buster. Crackers and cheese will also ensure that your child has ample amounts of energy and balanced blood sugar levels to get through an afternoon of extramural activities.
Whether you opt to serve your little one a tasty variety of fruit ice pops or a satisfying smoothie, ensure that you think ‘smart’ when it comes to healthy snacking. Choose food that contains a low sugar content, few preservatives, and limited colorants and pairs it with a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Until Next Time,