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Meal Prep for Toddlers: A Week’s Worth of Easy Lunch Ideas

Meal prepping benefits adults and parents of toddlers with a hectic weekday schedule. Is your little one getting tired of the same meals repeatedly? Check out these tasty and nutritious toddler meals and lunch ideas that will help you prepare for the week ahead.

Tips for Preparing Toddler’s Meals

Coming up with your child’s lunch meal plan can be challenging. Here are some reminders to ensure you provide your little one with fun and nutritious meals daily.

Ensure It’s Satisfying

Beef up your child’s mealtimes with foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to aid their growing bones. Combining basic food groups can keep them satisfied for longer, reducing the urge to snack on unhealthy foods like chips. Examples include dark leafy vegetables, milk, fish and eggs.

Keep it Simple

Avoid creating complicated dishes that may overwhelm your toddler. Think sandwiches, burrito bowls and pasta that require little preparation time. Make big recipes at once to save for later days. Divide up portions beforehand so you can quickly put them in your kid’s lunchbox before they head for school.

Add Sauce

Try adding sauce your kid loves. Start with the basics, like ketchup, barbecue sauce and mustard. Slowly introduce sauces like salsa, cucumber sauce and peanut sauce to add flavors to basic food options like chicken, pork and salad. 

Offer New Foods in Small Quantities

Toddlers are known for being picky eaters. However, constantly exposing them to new foods increases their likelihood of eating them as they grow up. Keep offering new flavors and textures like vegetables and fruits, along with something your child does enjoy. Soon enough, you’ll be surprised to hear your little one requesting broccoli.

Make Lunch Fun

Make your child’s meals fun by offering finger-sized pieces of crackers, veggies, fruits and other foods. This can help them prevent getting overwhelmed by adult-sized servings and reduce food waste. Use food molds and cutters to elevate your toddler’s meal — shape them into their favorite cartoon characters or cute animals.

Make it Nutritious

Toddlers require approximately 1,000-1,400 calories daily, depending on their age, size and activity level. Add the following nutrients to satisfy their dietary needs:

  • Fats: Healthy fats are crucial for brain development. Food sources include full-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado.
  • Protein: This macronutrient supports proper muscle development and promotes satiety. It includes poultry, meat, fish, eggs and beans.
  • Fiber: Foods like fruits and vegetables can help improve digestive health and normalize bowel movements. These sources are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C and B.
  • Carbohydrates: Kids need energy for school and play. Carbohydrates supply energy through foods like whole grains, yogurt, milk and fruit.

7 Toddler Lunch Ideas

Discover these kid-friendly, make-ahead meal ideas for your little ones.

Monday: Chutney Sandwich

This food is a healthier alternative to a grilled cheese sandwich. Use a store-bought chutney or make your own by mixing mint leaves, cilantro, salt and a splash of lime juice. Add the mixture, tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded mozzarella cheese to the sandwich. If your toddler is a picky eater, add ham and bacon bits.

Tuesday: Bulgogi Meatballs

Prepare these bite-sized treats for your meat-loving toddler. Bulgogi is a Korean marinated beef that’s packed with flavor. To prepare, mix breadcrumbs, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, chopped onions and ground beef. Pair it with kiwi, cucumber and a cup of brown rice. 

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

The best part about this tasty recipe is that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare. All you need to do is chop the chicken and preferred veggies, then add herbs, spices and olive oil before putting in the air fryer. Serve alongside a small cup of brown rice and some fruits for dessert.

Thursday: Pasta Salad 

Another easy toddler lunch idea is a creamy pasta salad. In a large bowl, combine cooked macaroni, raisins, green onion and broccoli. Mix honey, mustard, vinegar, sour cream and salt in a separate bowl before pouring over the macaroni mixture. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Friday: Crispy Fish Sticks

This lunch idea for your toddler is ideal to introduce them to fish. Use a white fish, like flounder, grouper, cod or tilapia. For the breading, combine eggs, seasoning of choice and breadcrumbs. Serve it alongside fresh vegetables and your kid’s favorite dip.

Saturday: Ham, Egg and Cheese Quesadillas

On weekends, treat your kid with a flavor-packed protein treat, keeping them full and energized as they enjoy outdoor play. In a hot pan, spread a teaspoon of butter on a tortilla before adding cheese, ham and scrambled egg. Throw in some tomatoes and herbs if desired.

Sunday: Chicken and Carrot Cups

Here’s something you can prepare for the whole family. Combine protein, fiber and healthy fats in these palatable cups. Combine garlic, grated carrot, flour, parsley, egg, chicken, cheese and seasonings in a bowl. Pack them into muffin liners and bake for 20 minutes. 

Start Meal Prepping For Week 

Preparing these lunch ideas for your toddler before facing a hectic weekday schedule can help you save time and money from buying costly takeouts. Try these recipes today and see which meal your kid will love the most.

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