Hello Central families! I’m new to the blog and excited to share some lunch ideas and ways that I try to get our little one (Libby, Toddler Room) involved in the kitchen. Like everyone, my goal for lunches is that they be nutritious and hopefully eaten! That’s not always the case, as toddler preferences seem to change frequently. I figured I’d start my first post with a few ideas/methods that I’ve found helpful in making Lunches for Lib.
- The Yumbox. I’ve heard great things on the blog about the Planet Box, but we ended up going with the Yumbox. It’s a bento-style box that has compartments labeled for different categories (dairy, fruit, protein, grains, veggies), which helps remind me to pack a balanced lunch. It has a little round area that’s great for dips (yogurt, hummus), or to pack some more fruit as a snack. It’s held up for about 6 months so far (twice as long as the previous box we had), and the single latch is easy for Lib to open and close herself. We use a Pack-It freezable lunchbox, which is great because you can just throw it in the freezer and don’t need to find an ice pack every morning.
- Repetition. Libby, like most kids, gets really into certain foods, and her likes definitely go in cycles. Right now it’s strawberries, which is great because they’re in season and we can get fresh local berries at South of the James every weekend. I try to work with what she’s into at the moment, which means she gets a lot of the same things during the week (pasta, cheese, strawberries). For an almost 2-year old, we try to focus on how we can get her a nutritious lunch that she’ll eat rather than trying new things every day.
- It’s OK if they don’t eat everything! I used to worry when the lunchbox came back mostly full. But on those days, most of the time, she ate a lot for breakfast or would be more hungry at dinnertime. Some days, she’s just not super hungry, and other days, the lunchbox comes back licked clean. We try not to worry about it because over the course of the day, she’s getting as much nutrition as she feels she needs.
On to the lunches!
87. Muenster cheese sticks, strawberries, blueberries, roasted chicken thighs, pesto pasta, and sweet potato sticks.
88. Cheese quesadilla, chicken sausage (shout out to Pamplin Poultry @ SOTJ – check them out!), spaghetti w/ red sauce, crushed grapes, plums, sweet potato and cucumber rounds, and some extra mandarin oranges.
89. Chicken sausage, cheese, plums, blueberries, leftover chicken rogan josh and paneer, rice, tomatoes from the rogan josh, pakora, cucumbers, and naan. For this one, we all had some Indian food (from Tulsi in Carytown, really good!) for dinner and Lib wasn’t too interested, other than the naan. I asked her if I could pack some in her lunch for her to try, and she said “yeah!” I tried to include some of her staples in case she’s not as into the Indian, so she had a mix of new and familiar foods.
I’m looking forward to being part of the Central Eats blog and sharing more lunch (and other food-related) posts soon!
Colin McCarthy (Libby, Toddler room)