Great Toddler Lunches You Can Pack for Daycare or Make at Home

Is your toddler a fussy eater? You are certainly not alone in feeling that. Toddlers are sensitive eaters, and while you might have to go through a series of feeding tactics, dances, singing, and a whole lot of talents to entertain them, the focus still lies on the health factor. But is it easy to get your munchkin to eat greens, veggies, and fruits? You know the answer, and we are here to help you change that.

While your child is home with you, you can do a lot to ensure a quality diet for them. But getting back on your professional track means finding the right daycare center for your little one. As you enroll your child in the best daycare facility in your area, you can be assured of their well-being and growth in a safe and favorable environment. But at the same time, if your daycare site requires you to provide lunches and snacks, you will have to pay attention to what you prepare for your child’s daytime dining.

Giving your child a balanced diet is important for their health, but sometimes incorporating health and tastiness seems daunting. However, with some intelligent parent hacks, you can ace the art of feeding healthy food to your toddler while they enjoy it with a wide smile.

Here are some lunch ideas that you can pack for daycare or make at home:

Banana cupcake

Does your toddler look at a frosted cupcake with shiny eyes? Sneak in the goodness of vitamins and nutrients that will give them the energy to run around.

Put into a large bowl one and a half cups of all-purpose flour, half cup powdered sugar, half a tablespoon of baking powder, and the same amount of baking soda. In another bowl put in two egg yolks, half a cup of melted butter, two mashed bananas, and half a teaspoon of vanilla essence in it and mix. Then mix the dry and wet ingredients together. 

Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they turn stiff and expand. Fold the egg whites into the mixed wet and dry ingredients. Pour the batter into paper cupcake holders set into muffin tins and bake it for ten to fifteen minutes. 

Pack the cupcakes in your toddler’s lunch box and add a cute little smiley sticker to let them know how special they are.

Fruit Salad 

Fruit salads are one way to help your child consume a variety of essential nutrients. From fiber to vitamins, antioxidants to minerals, different fruits in a salad in their lunchbox add flavor, fun, and health to their day. 

The best part about making a fruit salad is that there are no rules. You can add berries, apple, mango, papaya, kiwi, banana, orange slices, and other fruits, along with cheese cubes. If you want to create something specific, try some fun recipes. Cut the fruit into smaller pieces so that it looks good and is easy to eat. 

Bread Pizza

Even toddlers love cheese and pizza. But will they detect the layer of greens that you hide under the scrumptious layer of cheese? We don’t think so! So to help your little munchkin get their share of greens, follow this recipe:

Take a slice of brown bread and apply butter to it. You can also use your own home-baked bread. Toast the bread for a few seconds and apply homemade pizza sauce on it. For the homemade pizza sauce, you can take roasted tomatoes, olive oil, salt, a pinch of sugar, pepper and blend it all together.

Chop spinach and red, yellow, orange, or green peppers into fine pieces. Remember to cut them small so they cannot be detected by your baby Sherlock. Add the chopped vegetables to your bread base. Add the sweet corn and basil leaves. Now put different varieties of grated cheese on top to hide the veggies.

Top it up with oregano, a little salt, and some olive oil. Bake the bread pizza for a while and pack it for your toddler’s daycare meal.

Vegetable pockets

Fast food places will serve anything fried to make it look good and attract consumers. It is time to use their trick on your toddler and lure them into enjoying vegetable-filled pockets. You can use cauliflower, tofu chunks, tomatoes, broccoli, and more! While tofu chunks are the best source of protein for your little one, cauliflower and other veggies are loaded with vitamin B, C, and K. 

Vegetable pockets are easy to make and will delight your toddler’s taste buds. All you need to do is chop steamed veggies finely and mash them with tofu. Now add salt, pepper, lemon, and a bit of chili powder to the mix. You can also add chopped parsley to the mix. 

Prepare a dough of all-purpose flour and milk or use wonton wrappers. Use small rounds of dough and add the mix to the center of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough or wrapper to conceal the mixture and seal the ends by rubbing a bit of water on them and pressing them together. Bake the pockets in the oven and add butter to make them look crisp and fried. Pack them with ranch dressing or ketchup–or nothing at all! 

Watch your kids enjoy their meal and ask for more as they come home with an empty lunch box. There is nothing better than watching your toddler happy and satisfied with their food, and these vegetable pockets will help you experience the feeling. 

Don’t forget to keep kids hydrated!

While you pay attention to preparing and packing healthy daycare lunches, do not forget to add liquids. These will enhance your toddler’s lunch experience and can supply additional nutrition. Beverages like juices and smoothies can help with your child’s daily intake of vitamins and minerals while improving their immunity.

Though water is always the best drink to have in their lunchbox, preferably in a reusable water bottle, here are other suggestions:

1. Orange juice

2. Coconut water

3. Carrot and cucumber smoothie

4. Naturally sweetened grape juice

5. Naturally sweetened lemonade


Taking your child to daycare might be a tough decision for you, but it helps to build your toddler’s initial social experiences. While they learn to adjust to being away from you and explore the world, they also join peers in a classroom and on a playground, where they watch, follow and learn. Experimenting with healthy recipes for your toddler’s lunch box can be an excellent experience for you as a parent. As you learn to prepare healthy meals, you will also explore the variety of ways in which you can help your child consume nutritious food.

An individual’s first years play a big role in shaping their lifelong food habits and health. Make sure you provide your child with fresh healthy food, plenty of water, and a great attitude about trying new foods!

Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool

Photo by Happy Pixels from Pexels

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