Toddlers are not known for their polite manners or consistent eating habits. It’s perfectly normal for toddlers to throw their lunch on the floor, quickly followed by the cutlery and plate. Here are some quick easy toddler lunch ideas to keep you sane and still feed your toddler a healthy and balanced diet. Even if you have a toddler who won’t eat!
Simple Toddler Lunch Ideas
Toddler lunches don’t have to be complicated.
Try to present something from each food group in roughly the correct proportion. I often offer extra veggies as they’re less likely to eat those.
Here’s a recap on toddler nutrition to remind you what you’re aiming for.
Carbohydrates or Grains.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but offer one of the following carbohydrates:
Bread, pasta, rice, chapati, potato, noodles. Other starchy fruit or vegetable such as banana, sweet potato.
A quarter of the plate should be protein.
Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables such as lentils, chick peas (garbanzo beans), nuts.
Fruit and Vegetables
So many to choose from! I often offer some that I know my kids will love and some that aren’t yet on the “accepted list”. Ideally you want your kids to eat vegetables but kids naturally prefer fruit. Just keep presenting the vegetables so they get used to them.
Peas, sweet corn, broccoli, carrots, tomato, cucumber, celery, green beans, mange tout, spinach, lettuce, capscicum, cabbage, chick peas and lentils (they are both protein and vegetables!)
Apples, banana, grapes, pear, clemetines, oranges, peaches, strawberries, cherries, kiwi, plums, dried fruit.
They don’t need dairy with every meal but they do need some during the day. (Of course you can get calcium from other foods if your chid is allergic to cow’s milk.)
Yogurt, cheese, milk.
Treats and Sweets
Foods that are high in added sugar and fat. Keep them to a minimum but it’s fine to eat them in moderation.
Cookies, cakes, candy, chocolate, crips, chips.
Toddler Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters
We like to eat together as a family. Normally I put everything in the middle of the table and let the kids help themselves. This helps to model good behaviour and gives them control over what they choose to eat. They do have to take appropriate portions (i.e. they can’t put the whole loaf of bread on their plate.)
Toddler Lunch Ideas at Home
I took these photos over the summer. You may be able to guess that my kids like bread, cheese, broccoli and carrots. You can see that although they turn up frequently, I try to add other things to increase variety.
These weren’t taken on consecutive days. In between, we’d have left overs or soup.
Easy Toddler Lunch Idea 1.
Cheese on wholemeal toast, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, slices of red pepper (capsicum).
Easy Toddler Lunch Idea 2.
Slice of french bread, cut up cheese, cold broccoli (from last night’s dinner), apple slices.
Easy Toddler Lunch Idea 3.
Slice of bread, cheese, carrot sticks, chick peas (garbanzo beans), sweet corn from a tin, cherry tomatoes, lettuce.
Easy Toddler Lunch Idea 4.
Bread with cream cheese, broccoli, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks.
Easy Toddler Lunch Idea 5.
Bread, scrambled egg, broccoli and tomato slices.
Remember Not to Pressure Your Toddler
The first golden rule of helping your toddler to eat a healthy and balanced diet is to not pressure them to eat. Offer them healthy food options and allow them to eat what they want to.
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