Lunchtime can be a challenging meal for parents of 2 year olds. A balanced meal for a 2 year old should include protein, carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables, but it can be hard to make all of these food groups exciting and appetizing for a picky toddler. Fortunately, there are a few easy lunch ideas that can be made quickly and will satisfy even the most selective of eaters.
Finger foods are a great way to get toddlers interested in lunchtime. Think outside the box and offer a variety of shapes and textures, rather than just familiar foods like sandwiches and hot dogs. Cubed cheese, cut-up fruits, mini pancakes, and slices of vegetables like carrots, celery and cucumbers are all great finger foods that are easy for a toddler to handle. Add a little dip like hummus or ranch dressing, and you have a nutritious and easy lunch that your toddler will love.
Sandwiches are often a go-to for lunchtime, but you don’t have to stick to the same old PB&J day after day. Instead, get creative with your sandwich fillings. Try using a variety of breads and spreads, like pita pockets and hummus, or whole wheat bread and cream cheese. If your toddler is a fan of cold cuts, try adding some vegetables to the sandwich to make it more nutritious. And don’t forget about the power of grilled cheese!
Salads may not seem like an obvious choice for a toddler’s lunch, but they can be a great way to get your little one interested in healthy eating. Start with a base of lettuce, spinach or kale, and add some colorful vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers. Let your child pick out their favorite fruits to add to the salad, like strawberries, blueberries or pineapple. Top with a protein like boiled eggs, diced chicken, or chickpeas, and a light dressing like olive oil and lemon juice.
Soups can be a great way to sneak in extra vegetables and protein for a toddler’s lunch. Stick to soups that are mild in flavor and low in sodium. Choose a broth-based soup like vegetable or chicken noodle, and add some diced vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and celery. You can also add some cooked quinoa, beans, or diced chicken for a protein boost. To make it even more fun, let your toddler help you pick out the ingredients at the grocery store.
Smoothies are a great way to get your toddler to eat their fruits and vegetables. Start with a base of milk, yogurt or coconut milk, and add some of your toddler’s favorite fruits and vegetables. For extra nutrition, add some nut butter, chia seeds, or protein powder. You can also sneak in some greens like spinach or kale without your child even noticing. Your toddler will love the sweetness of a smoothie and you can feel good about giving them a healthy, nutritious meal.
Wraps are a great way to get your toddler excited about lunchtime. Start with a whole wheat wrap and add some of your toddler’s favorite fillings. You can use hummus or cream cheese as a base, and add some diced vegetables or cold cuts for extra flavor. You can also add some cooked quinoa or beans for extra protein. For an extra kick, try adding some salsa, pesto, or diced avocado.
Breakfast for Lunch
If your toddler loves breakfast foods, why not make breakfast for lunch? Try making a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and diced vegetables. Or make a breakfast sandwich with an egg, cheese and some diced ham. French toast, waffles, and oatmeal are all great breakfast ideas that can easily be turned into a nutritious lunch. And don’t forget about smoothie bowls! Top a smoothie with some diced fruit, nuts, and granola for a fun and filling meal.
Lunchtime doesn’t have to be a struggle for 2 year olds. With a little creativity, you can make easy and nutritious meals that your toddler will actually enjoy. Try making finger foods, sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies, wraps, or even breakfast for lunch. With these easy ideas, you can make lunchtime a fun and exciting time for your little one.