When Braylen started school this past August, I was immediately excited to start making cute little lunches to send with her each morning. Toddler lunch can be tricky, the appetite of a toddler changes constantly. Some days I feel like she doesn’t eat enough to survive and others I feel like she eats enough for two. For Braylen, the key is variety. I could send her strawberries each day for a month and she might eat every single one. Then, she may not eat them the next time I send them. For my sanity, I try to offer her a variety of things in her lunch box. I don’t worry about how much she’s eating or if there will be something she likes, because I know she has plenty of choices.
She loves her lunches and she always wants to peek at them before she goes to school. Sometimes she even helps pick out what goes in the lunch box or which shape she wants her sandwich to be, it’s a fun way to get her involved in the kitchen (with little mess).
From L-R, here’s a look inside a few of my favorite toddler-approved lunches:
- Mini-chicken bites, carrots, orange slices, strawberries and apples, cheddar cheese pieces.
- String cheese, roasted chicken, grapes and pretzel thins.
- Sandwich on sub bread, apple slices, cheddar cheese pieces, carrots and strawberries.
- Pizza bites (made in a mini-muffin tin), orange slices, carrots and strawberries.
From L-R, here’s a look inside a few more favorites:
- Turkey and cheese roll-ups with lettuce and string cheese, mini rice cakes and strawberries.
- Whale-shaped turkey sandwich with string cheese and a pepperoni smile, pasta salad and strawberries.
- Face-shaped turkey sandwich with string cheese hair, blueberry eyes and a pepperoni smile, blueberries and strawberries.
- Homemade corn dog bites (corn bread mix poured into a mini-muffin pan with a turkey hotdog placed in the center and baked) cheddar cheese pieces, grapes and orange slices.
Here’s a quick list of her favorite lunch foods:
- Turkey and cheese roll-ups on WW tortillas
- Turkey sandwiches in fun shapes
- Homemade Mini-Pizza Bites baked in a mini-muffin pan
- Mini-Corndog Bites baked in a mini-muffin pan
- Chicken pieces (roasted or grilled, from dinner that night before)
- Mini-Chicken Nuggets
- Fresh Fruit (strawberries, melon, grapes, orange slices, apple slices, kiwi, blueberries)
- Cheese (Cheddar cheese cut from a block or string cheese)
- Rice Cakes (mini to fit in her lunch box)
- Pretzels (Pretzel thins and pretzel sticks)
- Carrots (and other raw veggies, carrots just happen to be a favorite around here)
- Greek yogurt
- Pasta salad or just tri-color pasta noodles
- Go-go squeez
- Instead of a sandwich we use crackers, small pieces of turkey and cheese some days)
If you have wanted to try out creative toddler lunches but think they’ll be too hard, I can assure you they aren’t. It doesn’t take me very long at all to throw something together for her lunch. I think I’ve become quicker and the lunches have become cuter as the year has progressed. I bought a few valuable tools when I first started to make her lunch and now they just sit on a shelf in the pantry until I’m ready to pull them out. To create the lunches above, this is all you’ll need:
- I always pack her lunch in the Easy Lunchboxes container. I even take my lunch in these containers, most days. They have held up well and I am incredibly pleased with this product.
- I also have a huge set of animal-shaped cookie cutters that I use to cut her sandwiches in fun animal shapes. She loves to pick out her favorite animal and help pack her lunch.
- The flower-shaped silicon baking cups (pictured) are from Hobby Lobby. They usually have a few with their seasonal items and I pick them up, when I see them in-store. I’ve also ordered a set of cupcake baking cups from Amazon.
- The Pampered Chef Press and Seal Sandwich Cutter is ideal for toddler sandwiches.
Everything listed can be found on Amazon.com.