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Healthy, Nutritious Lunch Ideas for 1 and 2 Year Old Toddlers

Updated on April 28, 2017

My Toddler Is A Fussy Eater - How Do I Get Vegetables Down Him?

Toddlers can very easily become fussy eaters if you allow them to get away with poor eating habits. They will quickly learn from you what is deemed as a "special treat" such as a biscuit and what is "boring" food.

Top tip: Make food fun, pressure free and don't give in. When you serve lunch or dinner, ensure there is no second option. If your child is hungry he or she will eat most/all of it and if not the dinner will get left. There are plenty of meals where you can disguise vegetables if you do struggle with an anti-vegetable child, and remember to not allow a dessert unless a decent amount of their main has been eaten.

Quick Lunch and Snack Ideas For Toddlers

Sometimes between work, baby groups, demanding children and sleepless nights you are left with very little time or energy to actually put something together that you feel pleased about giving your toddler.

Lunch is so important for toddlers because their little bodies need so much in the way of nutrition and energy in order to grow and learn to the best of their ability, not to mention staying healthy and keeping a fighting-fit immune system.

Here are my top lunch ideas for the days when I'm under immense time pressure but still want something nutritious, healthy and tasty for my two year old;

  1. Beans on wholemeal toast with cheese
  2. Pitta pizzas - a pitta bread with tomato purée, cheese, ham and pineapple chunks
  3. Greek yoghurt with honey, Cheerios and chopped fruit
  4. Homemade soup with buttered toast
  5. Last night's leftovers
  6. Vegetable and ham omelette
  7. Bacon and scrambled eggs with avocado
  8. Macaroni cheese
  9. Scotch egg, slices of cucumber and cheese cubes
  10. Cheese and crackers topped with sliced apple

Give A Lunchtime Picnic A Go! (Picnic Ideas Included!)

This is such a great way to make a toddlers day without really having to do much extra (apart from pack and carry the picnic).

Get your toddler to help choose what food to pack as this will guarantee him a feeling of importance as well as the picnic being more successful when it comes to eating the food. Most of the quick lunches I named above are ideal for picnics (if you have never tried making a homemade batch of scotch eggs I cannot recommend it highly enough!)

Other foods to pack include;

  • Finger foods like carrot and cucumber sticks, red and yellow pepper slices and cubes of cheese are great because aside from a rinse under the tap and chopping they need very little preparation and always go down well - especially with a dip!
  • A piece of fruit each and a drinks carton or bottle each are not to be missed out
  • A packet of something such as vegetable crisps
  • Sandwiches or stuffed pitta breads
  • Yoghurt
  • Fruit

Let Them Join In

Never underestimate how powerful it can be to allow your toddler to "help out" with the food that they will eventually be eating. After all, toddlers and babies are biologically programmed to be selfish and so giving them a sense of control over the food preparation will usually make them more eager to try out what they have created.

Top "helper" jobs include:

  • Mixing
  • Stirring
  • Putting chopped veg in a bowl
  • Whisking eggs (with help!)
  • Taste testing as you go

As well as the fact doing this could make eating the food less of a struggle, cooking is a basic skill that children love to learn and it stimulates their minds. It also gives them a genuine sense of accomplishment and is a lovely activity for you to do together. Even if you aren't a confident cook your child will be in awe of your skills and be eager to join in with you.

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