5 Days of Toddler-Approved Meals
For those of us who are just about sick & tired of PB&J every. single. day.
We are currently knee-deep in the trenches of two year old life around here these days. One minute she is the best, most hilarious and precious little angel, and the next we are in a full on meltdown over where Mom put the food on our plate. (Real life, that just happened at today’s lunch.) I am always trying to come up with new lunch ideas that keep things fresh and exciting for both of us. If I can bring some excitement into our meal, we tend to have fewer meltdowns, and let’s be honest, Mommy is happier too because we are both a little sick of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I’ve come up with a week's worth of kid-approved, simple lunches that you can hopefully add into your rotation and avoid one meltdown for the day.
One of our favorite easy meals, which we often transfer over into dinner too, are pita bread pizzas. They are so easy! We start with premade pita bread, add a couple spoonfuls of Classico pizza sauce, sprinkle on Kraft mozzarella cheese and top with pepperoni. Eat it cold or heat under your broiler for a couple minutes, until the cheese is melted. We have all sorts of variations on this- substitute pesto sauce instead of red, top with tomato slices and mozzarella, even try to sneak a few veggies in there, add Italian sausage if you’re feeling fancy. My daughter loves to help make these- something about letting her add the sauce, sprinkle on the cheese and add her own amount of pepperonis convinces her to eat better because it’s something she’s helped create!
The Mother’s Day Out program my daughter went to this year is strictly peanut free so I had to get creative on meals to send for lunch. One of my go-to’s was turkey roll ups. Start with a tortilla, add a thin layer of Philadelphia cream cheese and a couple slices of turkey. Roll tightly and slice in half. If you’re at home and want to win fun mom points, slice it into 1-inch sections and call it turkey sushi. Change it up by adding thinly sliced cucumbers or a Claussen pickle spear in the middle! Even go tortilla free on this one if you want.
One food my family can all agree on is hummus. It was one of my daughters’ earliest foods to try, and it’s become a staple in our house for lunches or snacks. An easy way to trick a toddler into eating different foods is simply by offering what we call “dip dip.” She will eat all sorts of things we could never convince her to eat otherwise when she gets to have “dip dip” with it. I like to call this lunch deconstructed Greek salad. I put little piles of whatever needs to be eaten out of the fridge and pantry in a circle on her plate with a small bowl in the middle filled with Athenos hummus and let her go to town. Pita chips, pita bread or pretzels, cucumbers, carrots or celery, olives, feta cheese or even regular Kraft cheddar slices, salami, turkey, last night’s leftover chicken breast. Hodge-podge together and let them dip away and figure out what they like. While my little one hasn’t inherited my love for olives yet, I am still holding out hope that I can add a couple on her plate and one of these days she will come around.
Because we all know you have the best intentions for a well planned out lunch, life happens and there are days where you are needing something fast and easy to make it to nap time or in between errands. One necessity around our house- Oscar Meyer turkey hot dogs. I know the hot dog gets a bad reputation you guys, but it is a motherhood staple for me and Oscar Meyer Selects Turkey Franks are something I can have zero mommy guilt about. They have less fat, no added nitrates or nitrites, no artificial preservatives and no by-products! What does all that mean? Basically, all the funky stuff is left out. Sliced up with ketchup on the side, the fruit of your choice, throw in a vegetable for good measure and we have a fast lunch option to always keep on hand.
Last but not least, the faithful childhood lunch favorite- macaroni and cheese. I have yet to find a kid who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese. Three and a half minutes in the microwave on the single serve portions and we have lunch ready. Hosting a lunchtime play date? Buy the family size box. We probably just need to go ahead and get Kraft Easy Mac on subscription delivery. The best lunch report we got from school this year was the day I desperately needed to go grocery shopping and sent cold macaroni and cheese in my daughter's lunch. My assumed parenting fail ended up being the day she licked her plate clean, which just about sums up motherhood for you. For a one-pot meal, add peas or steamed broccoli cuts at the end and stir in. Never know what that cheesy, goodness will do to get a few veggies in!