1. Healthy (non-spaghetti) pasta
Cold or warm pasta drizzled with olive oil, diced ham and sautéed broccoli, served with orange slices, makes a healthy and tasty lunch. Try adding different ingredients to the pasta like kale to amp up the interest factor.
2. Soup \’n\’ sandwich
Try minestrone soup, grilled cheese wedges, and applesauce. It’s got something for your toddler (grilled cheese) and for your conscience (that soup is loaded with veggies). Applesauce is a good stand-in for dessert.
3. Ham and cheese … toddler style
Put together an attractive, finger-food plate with deli ham, string cheese, whole grain crackers, diced carrots or carrot matchsticks, and canned pears (in their own juices). Letting your toddler eat with her hands is great for getting used to new textures and foods.
4. Tuna delight
Tuna fish salad served with chopped tomatoes, a soft dinner roll, and blueberries balances the sweet berries with the rich tuna fish salad. Remember that most toddlers like milder foods, so start with a creamier tuna salad (although lots of toddlers like tuna straight from the can too).
Make peanut butter and jelly fun by cutting the sandwich into pin wheels and serving alongside banana slices and plain yogurt. If you’re concerned about the sugar content of the peanut butter, opt for a low-sugar variety or a natural variety with no sugar added.
Here’s a complete lunch: quesadilla made with shredded chicken, shredded cheese and corn tortilla, served with sliced avocado and a dessert of clementine oranges. Quesadillas are easy to make, either in a frying pan or a press, and they can be stuffed with anything from sweet potato to leftovers.
7. Humble hummus
Hummus served with a soft pita, chopped black olives, thin red pepper slices, and raspberries is a complete and ultra-healthy meal. Not only is hummus very toddler-friendly, the combo of chickpeas and olive oil is a true health food. Substitute carrots for peppers if they are too strong at first.
8. Cottage cheese: it\’s what\’s for lunch
Cottage cheese is a near-perfect food for toddlers. It’s full of dairy goodness and creamy and delicious. Serve it with a mini bagel, chopped cantaloupe, and peas for a complete lunch of dinner.
9. Parfait perfection
Here’s a great lunch: yogurt parfait made with plain yogurt, mixed berry preserves, fresh blackberries and granola, served with sugar snap peas with salad dressing. The yogurt and fruit combo is sweet, with the additional of whole grain granola (make sure you’re not buying one loaded down with sugar). Snap peas are a good finger food.
10. Veggie patties
For a meat-less meal, try a veggie patty with egg noodles, corn, and mixed fruit salad. Once again, fruit is a great substitute for cookies or another sugary dessert—and most kids love it.
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