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Our 5 Favorite Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

Proteins, iron, fiber, calcium, and vitamins are essential elements of a toddler’s diet. The average toddler, depending on how active they are, needs 1,000–1,400 calories per day. How can you make sure they are eating a well-balanced diet?

You can start with these 5 lunch ideas for toddlers.


1. Pasta with Spinach Pesto and Diced Carrots


Spinach pesto is an easy 5-minute recipe packed with nutrients like Vitamins B, C, K, iron, and fiber. It’s a great way to make sure your toddler is getting enough vegetables, as you can add other green veggies like broccoli, pea, and zucchini, or serve with a side of carrots for a splash of color. To make this dish, you’ll need:

  • Baby spinach

  • Grated parmesan cheese

  • Lemon juice

  • Olive oil

  • Pine nuts or roasted sunflower seeds

The ingredients are combined in a food processor or blender to your desired consistency and spooned over the top or mixed into pasta. Pasta shapes that are easy for little hands to pick up are fusilli, farfalle, or rigatoni.


2. Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla


Quesadillas are another quick, kid-friendly lunch solution. These can be put together ahead of time and stored until it’s time to heat and eat. Add veggies, like bell peppers or tomato, or serve with a side of guacamole for added nutrition.


In a warm, oiled pan or prepared baking sheet, lay out fajita-size tortillas and add black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and corn to one side. Fold the tortilla and heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Cut into small triangles and serve.


3. Sunbutter and Jelly Sandwich Bites


Put a twist on the classic PB&J! Sunbutter, made from sunflower seeds, is an alternative to nut butter spread like peanut or almond butter which is good for toddlers with allergies.


It contains just as much protein, more iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, Vitamin E, and less saturated fat. Prepare the sandwich as usual, and cut into bite-sized pieces, or layer it between healthy oat cookies.


4. Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels


Turkey and cheese pinwheels are great fuss-free lunch recipes for kids. They are quick to make, simple to store, and are packed with protein. You’ll need:

  • Eight-inch whole-wheat tortillas

  • Cream cheese

  • Sliced turkey breast

  • Sliced cheddar cheese

  • Thinly sliced tomato

Use Mclean Meats nitrate free deli meat for a truly healthful meal. Add as many (or as few) ingredients and tightly roll up the wraps and cut them into 1-inch thick pieces. Serve these with some yogurt and a side of fruit.


5. Veggie Muffins and Mixed Berries


If your kid turns their nose up to vegetables of all kinds, you’ll want to try these veggie muffins. This recipe combines veggies, fruits, and other wholesome ingredients to make nutritionally dense muffins. Common (and easy to hide) ingredients are zucchini, carrot, squash, pumpkin, and broccoli. For a sweet muffin, rather than savory, use applesauce, pumpkin puree, or banana as a natural sweetener and egg replacement. Serve with a side of mixed berries or snack of choice.


Easy and Fun Lunch Ideas for Toddlers


Whether you're looking to pack easy lunches for toddlers for daycare or throwing something together in the afternoon, these easy and fun lunch ideas for toddlers are sure to please. Many of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time or made in less than 20 minutes. Have healthy, fresh ingredients on hand like fruits, veggies, wraps, and nitrate-free deli meats, so you always have options. If you enjoyed these lunch ideas for kids, check out the rest of our site for more great content!

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