Toddler Lunch 101

Okay so I had planned to do this earlier, but I got so into deep cleaning my house and lost track of time.

I have struggled with lunches for as long as Bentleigh has been eating solids. He is a good eater as long as it is something he wants. Which most days is cheese, chicken nuggets, cheese, grapes, spaghetti, cheese, and more cheese. He loves cheese. Now mind you he has a slight dairy intolerance so cheese for him clogs him right up. Not fun for Bentleigh and not fun for mom when I have to try and explain why he can’t eat the whole brick of cheese in one sitting.

At one point he was on a plain chicken, veggie, and fruit diet because of hie intolerance. He couldn’t have starch or dairy. Not a fun few months. But he gradually grew out of it and as long as we monitor the amount of starches and dairy that goes in we are good to go. *Foods like pasts, breads, and rice are very binding foods so for those with littles having issues in that area be advised!*

Now that Hurleigh is fully weaned and eating more than Bentleigh at most meals I wanted to explore other options. I took this opportunity to introduce new foods to Bentleigh. If he sees Hurleigh eating it 9 times out of 10 he will eat it and realize he likes it. So I will give you a weeks worth of lunches and snack ideas that I have found work well for us!

// Wraps //
Super easy and simple. We use wheat tortillas, ham or turkey breast, lettuce or spinach, tomatoes, a little bit if cheese, and mayo or ranch. Huge hit today at lunch. I paired it with multigrain chips and we had a healthy fun lunch. And let them help make it. Bentleigh loves to help and I have found eats more when I do. Hurleigh tore his wrap apart and ate all the piece separate, but he ate them all.

// Parmesan noodles //
For this all I did was take bow tie noodles, cook according to package, and then sauté the noodles in olive oil with a little seasoning and Parmesan. I pairs with cucumbers and some pears.
I always like to offer a fruit and vegetable at lunch. It gets them building healthy eating habits. And word for the wise, if you have a little that has “weight gain issues” like Bentleigh and now Hurleigh you can add olive oil to any meal and it is a healthy fat to gain weight. And you can add it to most anything without them noticing.

// Chicken Nugget and Apple Fries //
If we let Bentleigh he would live off of Mcdonalds chicken nuggets. But I have seen those pictures floating around the internet of the pink ooey gooey stuff that is “supposedly” what their biggest are made from and at that point I told my husband no more. So we made a promise that we would no longer take them to Mcdonalds. That is our choice and by no means would I judge a parent if I saw them with their kids there. But I needed something to put in that place. So I found these lovely nuggets at Costco and they are delicious! And I noticed when he did eat at Mcdonalds he never ate his fries. So I cut up an apple like fries and he loves them!

// Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich //
Yes we do peanut butter and jelly but they love this so much more. We get locally grown honey, mmm. Wheat bread and we always use Adams all natural peanut butter. I also invested in sandwich cutters to cut their sandwiches into shapes. Worth ever penny. Some carrot sticks and fruit salad and they’re set.
We almost always have a Tupperware container of fruit Bentleigh called his “fruit salad.” We just cut up grapes, apples, pineapple, mango, and any other in season fruit and leave it in the fridge. Works great with a side for lunch or snacks!

// Pizza Rolls //
No I don’t mean the kind you get from the frozen food isle. I mean making your own! Crescent rolls, pepperoni, cheese, and pizza sauce. Bake according the the crescent roll package and you have a fun alternative to pizza! I pair mine with salad but both boys LOVE salad.

// BBQ Chicken and Rice //
I take one or two chicken breast, two if I want leftovers, and cut into bite size pieces. Sauté with olive oil and then add BBQ sauce and just let it simmer for a little bit to suck up the flavor. We have started using a brown rice and quinoa mix which you can season to take if you don’t like. Carrot sticks and you have a quick and easy lunch.
If you want to be super quick you can grab the 90 second packs of rice you just throw in the microwave.

// Quesadilla //
Lots of cheese but a guarantee win for mom to get them to eat it all! And you can have fun with it! Cut faces out of the tortilla when you make it..cough cough jack o lantern anyone!

Your choices are endless. You just have to get creative and don’t be afraid to try new things. Like one of the boys favorite snacks right now is hummus. Never in a million eyes did I ever think I would be buying hummus for my 3 and 1 year old to eat! But they love it!

So I hope that helps a little! And if you have a favorite lunch idea that you would like to share we would love to hear about it! Enjoy (:
-Elexis ❤

**As I was cooking today I had to add this! Another easy meat we do is seasoned lean ground beef. All I do is cook it on medium-low and you can add any seasons you want to give it flavor. Can also be done with ground turkey or bison. I learned this from my dad. I never thought before to just eat ground beef without it being in something. Normally we pair it with brown rice and quinoa but you could do beans and rice or just a fruit and veggie**

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