Is the daily monotonous routine of toddler lunches getting you down? The key is all in your attitude…your creative juice…and your knowledge of what is healthy for your little one. Too often I find parents who are in a rut with what to fix their little ones for lunch turn to the fast, processed & packaged foods they can find in the many big box grocery store chains.
Instead of turning to packaged snackables, hotdogs, or mac-n-cheese, try taking these fresh, healthy options and turn them into a creative lunch which will bring a huge smile to your little one. Most recently, I took the following ingredients and turned them into a fun experience: Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwich: Ingredients: organic fresh strawberries, Organic Valley organic cream cheese spread, and Rudi’s Organic Bakery Multigrain Oat bread. These are 3 ingredients my little ones normally enjoy separately although I was feeling in a rut with what to make for lunch.
I sliced the strawberries into thin circles, cut off the crust from a slice of bread, and spread the cream cheese onto the slice of bread. I first cut the bread in half and then added 3-4 strawberry slices onto the bread. Next, I doubled up the slices to make one half sandwich. I then cut the sandwich into small squares. Here you have 4 small strawberry cream cheese sandwiches.
You can either set these sandwich squares on a plate with a few extra strawberries
Or you can get creative as shown here and creative a smiling face for your little one to enjoy
I am a big fan of lunch boxes which are set up as bento boxes with dividers. My particular favorite is the Australian based company, LunchBots. The lunch box is stainless steel and has 3 compartments which work great to ensure I have enough variety for my little one yet do not over pack food. I usually have fruits and veggies in one compartment, protein in another and a snack type item in the last compartment. My toddler loves its ease of use, light weight and variety of food I can place inside. I often place a sticky note to the inside of the lid with a heart or something similar from Mommy.
Any of the ideas above can be substituted with foods you enjoy as well as what foods are in season. Seasonal food choices are another great way to continue staying fresh and creative with your meals. Lastly, get your toddler involved in meal preparation. It all starts at the grocery. Have your toddler help select what food items you purchase from the grocery – peas or carrots? Apples or pears? Then at home, have your little one assist in preparing the meal. You will be surprised as to how much help a toddler can be in making a meal. Retrieving items from the fridge, spreading cream cheese, peanut butter, etc. onto bread, placing foods on a plate/bowl, taste testing ( a huge task in my house!), and of course taking the finished plate over to the table (practice in not spilling). The more involved the more apt your toddler will be in wanting to eat the final product!