One of the most dreaded things about bringing your child to daycare (other than the fact that you will miss them like crazy!) is having to prepare their lunches and snacks.
Yeah, you can just throw something together for yourself unworthy of any taste, health factors, or style, but when it comes to your toddler lunch ideas, you must get Michelin’s five-star-restaurant creative!
When I was growing up, bologna sandwiches were the norm. However, in today’s age of bento boxes and Yumbox, toddler lunch box ideas are more than just a popular choice. If you aren’t the avid homemaker or just get intimidated when you see those Pinterest-worthy masterpiece toddler lunches, never fear, we are right there with you!
Here at LittleThings, we have put together a good-sized roundup of healthy lunch ideas for toddlers and preschoolers that can be served cold without the hassle of having to be reheated during school. We have also taken the guesswork out for you with these amazing healthy toddler lunch recipes.
You can now stop stressing out over toddler lunches for picky eaters and focus more on being the Zen mom you’ve always wanted to be.
Toddler Lunch Equipment Needed
1. Bento Box Basically, “bento” is the Japanese word for a lunch box. Bentos are traditionally single-portion, prepared meals secured in boxed containers. The idea has moved to the West thanks to its compact and portable features. They can be stacked and come in various shapes and sizes, customizable to your appetite and what you plan to pack. I recently bought one from Ikea, but you can find bento boxes just about anywhere.
2. Yumbox Leak-proof and durable, Yumbox lunch boxes have taken the market by storm due to their ability to keep wet foods like hummus and fruit purees at bay with tight seals that keep the contents in place. Each Yumbox comes with multiple compartments to keep your meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains separate until lunchtime. Check out their website for various styles and sizes.
3. Food Picks And Forks To add a fun element to your toddler lunch box, consider fun little food picks and forks that you can use to quickly decorate any healthy toddler lunches. They come in so many designs, colors, and sizes that your choices are endless. You can find these anywhere online, such as Bento USA.
4. Sandwich Stamps At online retailers like Little Bento World, you can find a huge selection of cute sandwich stamps that will help you decorate your toddler lunches for picky eaters. Healthy toddler lunches can be distracted by interesting shapes and designs so that your picky eater will dive into their food with ease.
5. Cookie Cutter If you don’t want to invest a fortune in sandwich stamps, you can use cookie cutters that you already have at home. Again, the designs are endless, making toddler lunch boxes a blast to open every day. You can also get creative and use cookie cutters on pitas, cheeses, fruits, and even puff pastries!
6. Silicone Baking Cups Additionally, baking cups are something to consider to pack with a toddler who can break them, lose them, or downright misuse them. With silicone baking cups, you can quickly turn any lunch boxes into a Yumbox and create your own compartments. They are easy to wash, durable enough to hold any little snacks, waterproofed to keep crackers from getting soaked by your fruits, and most importantly for kids, they come in many cute colors to choose from.
7. Good Paring Knife If you are a seasoned food decorator, a good and sharp paring knife goes a long way in creating those masterpiece bento boxes you see on Pinterest. From carving out grapes to slicing your sausages, paring knives will require occasional sharpening for upkeep and a safe place for storage.
Toddler Lunch Techniques
Yumbox and Bento boxes are typically very compact and small, which means that when it comes to toddler lunch ideas, you must get creative in how you pack your foods. Here are some basic techniques to keep in mind when choosing food and how you’ll package it.
1. Rolling Up Foods Just like packing a suitcase, rolling up items will give you maximum space for your toddler lunch ideas without squishing the contents. Think of flat food items that you can roll up together to make little pinwheels, which you can package into your Yumbox or bento box.
2. Making Everything Neat And Tidy You get a lot more room for packing your food when you line everything up neatly and orderly. If apple slices and carrot sticks are strewn across your toddler’s lunch box, this will give you minimal room for other items.
3. Cutting Them Into Shapes It is always more fun when food is in different shapes for your toddler’s lunches. Their curiosity for the cute shapes and different sizes may entice them to pick up the food items and try them.
4. Make Them Tiny Compacting your items is key, as you want to be able to fit as many varieties of foods as you can into your healthy toddler lunches. The small sizes also make it simple for your toddler to self-feed with finger foods and other easy toddler lunch ideas.
Toddler Lunch Ideas
1. Healthy Toddler Lunch With Lots Of Color
This lunch is made up of a tuna salad by Raising Generation Nourished, some veggie rotini by Build Your Bite, peas, grapes, and a clementine.