Are you sending out a toddler to daycare with no idea of what to pack for lunch? Here are toddler lunch ideas even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.
Every parent knows the struggle of packing lunch for a toddler, especially one who’s a picky eater. This struggle has become even harder since many daycares and schools have gone nut-free.
Here are some nut-free lunch ideas that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have long been a favorite of toddlers, even picky toddlers. And they’re parent-approved as well since they’re packed with protein and fruit.
But since most daycares and schools are now nut-free, we needed to look for alternatives to this lunchtime classic. An easy way to update this classic sammie and make it allergy-safe is to use sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter.
Sunflower seed butter is very similar to peanut butter in both taste and texture. So, most kids won’t even notice the difference, especially if it’s paired with a delicious jam or jelly.
Pack this delicious sandwich with some sunflower seed butter "ants on a log" (celery filled with sunflower seed butter and topped with raisins), for a balanced lunch box.
Looking for a fun variation on the typical meat and cheese sandwich? Try some lunch meat roll-ups. Skip the bread but keep all the delicious protein.
Take your kid’s favorite deli meat, lay a slice flat, and then place a slice of their favorite cheese on top of the meat. Starting at one edge, roll the meat and cheese together into a cylinder. You can leave the roll-up like this or cut into bite-sized slices.
For another variation on this meal, wrap some string cheese in your kid’s favorite kind of deli meat.
Lunchmeat roll-ups are a great alternative to sandwiches if your kid doesn’t like bread or is gluten-free. They also offer your kid a new tactile way to experience their lunch.
Toss a few of these roll-ups into their lunch box with some sliced fruit and pretzels or pita chips for a well-balanced, nutritious meal.
Cream cheese is a great alternative to nut butter for sandwiches. It’s also packed full of calcium, which your kiddo needs for their teeth and growing bones.
Spread some cream cheese on some bread or a plain bagel. Slice up a few strawberries into thin, flat slices. Press the strawberries into the cream cheese so they stick in place. This sandwich can be open-faced or you can put the pieces together for a cohesive sandwich.
Pack this delicious sandwich with your kid’s favorite fruit or veggie snack.
If you haven’t picked up a bento box lunch box for your kid yet, you definitely should. These lunch boxes are split into different sections, which makes it easy to pack a variety of delicious foods in their lunch box without them mixing or squishing together.
Bento lunch boxes also make it easy to create a balanced lunch for your kiddo. Just put foods from each of the food groups into each section.
Here’s one idea for a protein-packed bento box. Fill one section with a couple of hard-boiled eggs, already peeled of course. In another section, mix some cubed cheese with some cubed pepperoni or salami. Another section can be filled with some crackers to go with the meat and cheese while another section can be filled with your kiddo’s favorite fruit or veggie.
Bento box lunch boxes also make it simple to include your kid’s favorite dips in their lunch without using a ton of those small containers. And it’s vegetarian too! So, you can include a variety of dippable foods with a few delicious dips and call that lunch!
Here’s an idea for a dip and eat bento lunch box. Fill one section of the bento lunch box with hummus and the other with plain or vanilla yogurt. Fill the rest of the lunch box with your kid’s favorite veggies and fruits and some pretzels.
The pretzels taste great dipped in either the hummus or the yogurt. The fruits will pair well with the yogurt and the veggies are delicious smothered in hummus. Your kid will enjoy digging into their lunch.
Maybe give their teacher a heads up when you send this lunch box as it can get quite messy. A nutritious and delicious lunch your kid will love is worth the mess though!
Looking for a new and interesting way for your kid to enjoy their lunch? Then you should definitely try these lunch skewers.
The great thing about these is that you can include any foods your kids like as long as they can be pierced by the skewer.
Get some barbecue skewers and some deli meats, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. Cut all the foods into slices or cubes. Think bite-sized pieces.
Then, slide each of the pieces onto the skewer. Start with the fruit, then alternate the meat, cheese, and veggies. That way your kiddo needs to eat the protein and veggies first before they get to the fruit dessert.
These can easily be made vegetarian by substituting tofu for the meat. You can also add bread if you want to add some complex carbs. Your kid will love this fun twist on eating their favorite foods.
These are just a few toddler lunch ideas that will give your little ones all the nutritious deliciousness they want and need. The key to packing a lunch they'll love is to find new and interesting ways for them to enjoy their favorite foods.