Wednesday, October 2, 2013

a weeks worth of toddler lunch ideas

I don't know about you, but coming up with something nutritious and interesting for lunch every day can seem pretty overwhelming. I hate to feed Riggs the same thing day after day, and he can sometimes be a picky eater. What he likes one day may not appeal to him the next, and how frustrating is it to make an entire meal only to have a teeny tiny nose turn up at the sight of it?

When I remembered to, I snapped pictures of some of Riggs' favorite lunches from the last couple of weeks so that I could share them here. There's nothing too crazy or magical, but they're all pretty dang good. In addition to the items listed below, we eat a lot of soup. But I didn't think it'd be very interesting to show you five pictures all of different soups.

day 1 | waffle dippers with cinnamon and maple syrup

We have a belgian waffle iron that we received for a wedding gift and never really used. I pulled it out one weekend when I was craving waffles and it turned out they were really easy and yummy for Riggs to eat. When he was younger, I'd just sprinkle some cinnamon on them and give him half a waffle to gnaw on. 

Now he's older and likes to do things himself, and also likes to eat what I'm eating. So I cut them into strips and pour a little syrup on his plate to dip them in. He loves it! And real maple syrup isn't as sticky as the stuff with HFC, so it's actually not too messy. Win! 

I make them using this recipe from scratch, or this mix. I throw the extras in a bag and freeze them for a day when I'm feeling lazy but want to eat something delicious.

day 2 | simple tortilla pizzas

These are so easy and so yummy. Plus they're great because you can use basically any ingredients you like or have laying around that need to be used up. We had marinara sauce, grated zucchini and mozzarella cheese on ours, but the possibilities are endless!

Here's the official recipe from Cookie and Kate.

day 3 | yogurt, granola and apple slices

Okay, so obviously we're not reinventing the wheel here, I'm sure we've all had some combination of this either for breakfast or for lunch. But it's a classic, easy toddler meal and it's one of Riggs' favorites, so I thought I'd include it.

You can use any kind of fruit, Riggs is usually happy with whatever's in season. He's not the biggest fan of apple slices, so I try to disguise them and make them more interesting by using a cookie-cutter to make them into fun shapes. I collect the scraps left over from the cookie-cutter and throw them in our smoothie. He loves to dip them in the yogurt, lots of fun and so delicious!

I make homemade granola using Ree's recipe (from the Pioneer Woman) and we use it for many different things, including as a topping on our nightly ice-cream.

day 4 | sharp cheddar apple melts

Riggs is a lover of cheese, and so we eat it at lunch at least two or three times a week. These cheddar apple melts are so gooey and satisfying on a chilly fall day, and they're really easy for toddlers to eat too.

There's not really any recipe for them, you just need tortillas, shredded sharp-cheddar cheese, and apple slices (we use gala). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and pull out your cast iron. Baking sheets also work, although I feel like they only get perfectly crispy on the cast iron. Assemble your layers according to your liking, and pop them in the oven for about 7 minutes, then flip and cook another 7 minutes. So yummy!

day 5 | savory snack platter

Every week we have a snack day where we nibble on an array of snack foods for lunch. Some days it's olives, late july buttery crackers, and cheese slices. Other days it's sweet potato fries, tater tots, and mini-quesadilla slices. These days are always a favorite for both of us.

Hopefully at least one of these is a new idea that you'll be able to try out with your own toddlers. Like I mentioned in the beginning of the post, none of them are anything mind-blowing, but they're not your usual peanut-butter and jelly either. Which isn't to say anything against good old pb&j, except that it's not really a favorite around here and it can definitely get a little monotonous sometimes, like anything.

Please share your go-to, toddler approved lunches in the comments box. I'm always looking for more ideas! Happy Wednesday!


  1. Those tortilla pizzas are a great idea!!

  2. I love the shapes! And both the tortilla pizza and the apple melts sound DELICIOUS! <3

    1. they were ridiculous. you should make some in your dorm! yummy fall snack!

  3. These are fabulous ideas! Even gave me a few thoughts for my pre-toddler! (I'm going to continue calling him that as long as I can...) :-) Thanks, Whitney!

    1. Haha you'd better call him that while you can! In your recent pictures baby Ben looks like the toddler is starting to overtake the baby! So fun and sad at the same time...

    2. I know it! Sometimes I look at him and I think he looks like he's 5 already! Goodness!

  4. These are awesome! My toddler would like every single one of those. Especially that yummy looking pizza! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I'm so glad you like them Jessica! and the pizza's are my favorite :)

  5. Whitney - I featured this post on The Blogger's Digest, thank you again for sharing it :D

  6. These are awesome ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!!