Toddler Meals: 5 Easy, Delicious Lunch Ideas

Julie Ryan Evans

Photo by JayGirlsMom
Every day around lunchtime, I open the refrigerator and stare; then I open the freezer and stare for a few more moments before moving to the pantry to do the same. Though there's plenty of food, I can't figure out what to give my toddler daughter for lunch.

Sure there are the staples -- cheese sandwiches, organic chicken nuggets, and veggie dogs along with an assortment of fruits and vegetables, but I get sick of making them, so surely she'd like a little more variety too. And I want to do everything I can to expose her to a great variety of textures and tastes.

So I'm always on the hunt for new lunch ideas, asking other mothers what they feed their toddlers and trolling Web sites for inspiration. Here are five favorites I've found to try:

  1. Simple Ravioli This recipe from ilunchbox uses wonton wrappers for the outer shell, and then you fill them with one of the three filling recipes: meatball, spinach, and cheese or pumpkin sage.
  2. Park Lunch for a Toddler I love the idea of using an ice cream cone to hold some nutritious ingredients. This particular recipe uses cottage cheese and raisins, but you could also use hummus and vegetables or any other combination you like.
  3. Meatloaf While I can't say I'm personally a huge meatloaf fan, I love this recipe for my daughter because it incorporates so many great, nutritious ingredients, and it's easy to freeze in individual portions and heat as needed.       
  4. Green Pancakes These savory pancakes are made using edamame (yum!), but the recipe says you can also substitute corn, cauliflower, peas or a host of other vegetables to create these delicious and nutritious cakes.
  5. Rice and Bean Burritos  These are great, and not just for toddlers. My whole family likes them, so I double the recipe and freeze the leftovers in individual portions to pop out for lunches.  

Also, check out this CafeMom recipe for Peanut Noodles and Broccoli. At the end, there's a list to a host of other great toddler recipes you can check out as well.  

Bon Appetit!

What are some of your best toddler lunch ideas?

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