Preschool Lunch Ideas

The idyllic days of Sophie’s daycare teacher cooking warm, organic, vegetable-laden lunches are about to end. Sophie is going to enter preschool. She is so in love with her new lunchbox that she takes it to bed with her, but I’m not sure that this love affair will continue once she understands that it means she is going to eat lunch on her own.

I’ve been asking everyone on the playground and also browsing the internet for ideas on what to pack in Sophie’s lunchbox. Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:

SANDWICHES FOR A TODDLER WHO HATES SANDWICHES

  • Use a cookie-cutter to slice a plain peanut-butter sandwich into interesting shapes
  • Take a flour tortilla, place beans & cheese in the middle, and roll it up tight like an unfried tacquito. You can even attempt to keep this warm by storing it in a thermos till lunchtime.
  • Take some flatbread, spread it with creamcheese & jelly, roll it up, then cut crosswise into pretty jelly-rolls
  • Bagel & cream cheese will work too
  • Core an apple, fill the middle with peanut-butter, and supposedly that keeps the apple from turning mushy-brown by lunchtime
  • Roll up plain deli-meat or salami into tight little rolls, accompanied with breadsticks and cheese-sticks
  • Couscous salad / pasta salad / tabouleh: I think I’m going to start having to plan dinners with an eye to leftovers that are almost finger-food, or at least easily eatable by a toddler
  • Hearty soup in a thermos
  • Zucchini muffins, banana bread, leftover homemade waffles: all of these can become a lunch main-dish, so I guess I will start cooking more breakfasts each weekend
  • Cheese & crackers is actually not a bad sandwich substitute, especially if I add something else from this list, too
  • Pretty slices of red-pepper or mini-carrots accompanied by hummus or a yogurt dip
  • Pita bread filled with falafel balls, or veggie-burger, tuna salad, chicken-salad…

I’m still thinking this through. As you might infer from that list, Sophie has a tendency to eat like a vegetarian. Any suggestions? Leave me comments, please!

NUTRITIOUS SIDE DISHES THAT MY TODDLER MIGHT ACTUALLY EAT

  • String cheese, sliced cheese
  • Apple-slices dipped in orange juice so they won’t brown
  • Bananas or clementines, peeled just a bit at the top, because she can do the rest on her own
  • Individual yogurts, individual apple-sauces
  • Granola bars, crackers
  • Celery spread with peanut-butter
  • Slices of cantaloupe, watermelon
  • Grapes, pears….

SPECIAL TREATS I’LL OCCASIONALLY ADD TO HER LUNCHBOX

  • hot chocolate in her thermos
  • kefir juice in her thermos
  • stickers
  • love-notes

That feels like enough ideas to get started, but I think I still have a lot to learn. What are your suggestions?

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