10 toddler lunch ideas (that you can prepare ahead of time!)
Do you stare at the fridge debating what to fix your toddler for lunch?
I will be the first to admit that I did for a long time! I’m a big meal planner for dinner and having breakfast food around is always easy. Lunch, however, always slipped through the cracks. I never wanted to fire up the oven or stove for what is supposed to be the easiest meal of the day. I needed something easy.
After setting out to find some great toddler lunch ideas I came to a simple conclusion: All I needed to do was plan ahead. If I spent just 1 hour on Saturday planning out and preparing lunch ideas I would be set for the rest of the week. Now this does require a little bit of cooking but not when it’s time to feed my little man. If I prepare ahead of time all I have to do is microwave or throw together a meal! So here we go 10 toddler lunch ideas!
1-Wraps or Quesadillas
I love love love quesadillas myself! It was a no brainer for me to let my little guy try them too. Of course we do the popular chicken or cheese quesadilla but we like to mix it up too. I’ve thrown spinach and cheese on it before. Cheese and pepperoni is also a great choice, and let him dip in some marinara of course. All you have to do is microwave it long enough to melt the cheese a little if you don’t want to turn on the stove.
While you have those tortillas out you can go with a cold meal as well. Avocado and shredded chicken or turkey is a hit at my house. We’ve also tried peanut butter and banana..yum! You can roll them up or fold them in half like a quesadilla. Get creative with what you put on them and the choices are unlimited!
I know, I know, like you haven’t done this one a million times. Have you ever tried it a different way than two pieces of bread with some peanut butter and jelly in between though? Cookie cutters make fun shapes and bite sized pieces for you little one to have fun with. My favorite way to do a “sandwich” is to roll it up! All you have to do is flatten out your bread a little bit, put whatever you want on a single slice and roll it up. These are great to prepare ahead of time because you can wrap them in plastic wrap and throw them in the fridge. You can also do them warm. Add some cheddar cheese and microwave for a few seconds for a quick grilled cheese. Or maybe that mozzarella and pepperoni like we said before. Stop with the boring sandwiches and make it interesting for both of you!
These are amazing to make ahead of time! You can fill them with whatever you want, roll them up, bake them, then store them in the fridge for later. Ham or turkey and cheese, nutella and cinnamon(for breakfast too), cinnamon apples for a quick apple pie, cheese and spinach or asparagus, broccoli ham and cheese…seriously the list goes on and on. Its great if you have picky eaters too because you can hide those veggies inside the bread! Oh, and If you want to try something amazing for breakfast stuff these bad boys with some sausage gravy too! The best part about these is you can grab one, microwave and lunch is served!
4-Homemade healthy breads or muffins
I’ve taken a huge liking to making homemade breads lately. It has gone right along with my challenge to hide healthy stuff in the things my baby likes. We’ve tried a great blueberry banana bread was super yummy, as well as a zuchinni bread that was delicious and packed full of zucchini, banana and applesauce. I would slice off a good chunk of bread and pair it with some cheese and fruit for a yummy lunch. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
These are are great for hiding veggies in as well. I make all kinds of combinations for little man. My two favorite things to use as sauces are spaghetti sauce or cream of chicken soup. Zucchini, spinach or carrots make great additions to spaghetti sauce without out throwing the flavor off. With cream of chicken you can use whatever you want because you have such a neutral sauce to start with. If you’re going for super simple, just cook a bag of frozen mixed veggies and add some pasta and your cream of chicken soup. We also love our butternut squash mac & cheese! The best thing about these are that they are freezer friendly! I use the snack size zip lock bags to portion out the amount I want and freeze them for later. When you need one simple tear off the bag, plate it and microwave it until it is thawed out and warm.
6-Fruit Fruit Fruit!
My guy loooves fruit! I usually include it in every breakfast and lunch. Then he gets it for dessert after dinner sometimes as well. I try to buy what is in season and prepare it and freeze the excess we have. Right now strawberries are in season and I think we have already gotten 3 flats. Knowing they went in the freezer fresh and delicious makes me excited to thaw them out and share them with him. Now, I know it’s hard to keep up if you have a fruit eater like mine. So, in my eyes canned fruit is still way better than no fruit. Were a big fan of canned mandarin oranges and canned mangos. The oranges are so much tender out of the can(yes I know because they are soaked in syrup). I hate peeling and chopping a mango to be honest so the cans are perfect.
We love cheese with our fruit too! String cheese is a classic of course but they make so many different types of cheese sticks now so we love trying something new! I also love buying blocks of cheese to cut up for him because I can shred some up for part of a meal as well!
8-Pudding or Yogurt
Yogurt has been part of my little mans diet from the very beginning. Once he got off his probiotic drops(for colic) we supplemented yogurt to help provide those probiotics he was missing. He loves yogurt! I like to buy vanilla and add fresh fruit in it sometimes. Honey and cinnamon are extremely beneficial as well and taste amazing! He loves pudding as well but I will admit we don’t have it nearly as much as the yogurt.
These are great for the little ones and are a wonderful protein addition to any meal. You can boil half a dozen or so at the beginning of the week and stick them in the fridge. When it comes time for lunch all you have to do is peel, cut and serve!
These are especially great for the fall and winter, or maybe just a rainy day! It is super easy to make a pot of soup ahead of time and portion it out and freeze it. Broccoli & cheese is always a winner at our house. My little man loves some homemade soup as well. If you’re in a pinch you can always crack open a can. I’ve always believed homemade is better but my baby boy certainly doesn’t object to a can of chicken noodle soup!
How was that for lunch ideas?
I hope I can freshen up your lunch time and put a change to the typical pb&j. I love coming up with different things to let my little man try. Being able to prepare things ahead of time and have easy lunches on hand makes things so much easier. Do you have a favorite lunch idea that you want to drop in the comments? I’d love to hear it!