Toddler Lunches – Make it fun using simple methods

I am sure if you follow me on Instagram you see a huge amount of lunches for my son who is almost 10. I often pack meals for my daughter on the go and forget to post them.  I am sure some of my readers have toddlers and are often lost what to pack for them outside of their favs. I feel kind of lucky, my daughter pretty much eat anything, its rare to fight her on things. Literally, she could eat an entire box of Annie’s Homegrown Mac and Cheese by herself. Her love of the Macaroni and Cheese is something that can not be measured. This love doesn’t sway mom to pack make it and allow her to eat it in the car or 24/7 for that matter.

I have touched in the past on my love for Laptop Lunches and their Extra-Large Lidded containers to pack my daughter’s lunch in. You can pack A LOT into them to take on the go. Plus it stacks nicely on my Bento Box with an icepack in between. I again love the container, because you truly can fit a WHOLE MEAL into these containers. Below are some of the meals I have packed her recently (sorry about the lack of posting them in Instagram, I get in the rush and forget sometimes)

Snowflake Grilled cheese, broccoli, candy cane apple slices, and dye free candies

Snowflake Grilled cheese, broccoli, candy cane apple slices, and dye free candies. 

I do like to make her lunches a little fun, this was a holiday themed lunch I did. I cooked a grilled cheese and allowed it to cool slightly and used a snowflake cookie cutter to make it fun. The apples are a candy cane theme and I just made small slices into the skin to create the stripes. If you pack apples, soak them in some juice to prevent browning. I like to use a juice that is low in sugar content. Honest or Apple and Eve are my favorite brands.

Turkey Pot Pie (Thanksgiving leftovers), sweet potato pudding, pomegranate seeds, a juice box, and a spoon.

Turkey Pot Pie (Thanksgiving leftovers), sweet potato pudding, pomegranate seeds, a juice box, and a spoon.

Children are all about the leftovers too. I use leftovers from any bird I cook to make handheld pies for the kids. These pies had peas, gravy, carrots, and turkey in them. I will be posting a how to on this soon to keep them in your freezer to have on hand. The Sweet Potato Pudding is a recipe from Weelicious and you can find it here

breakfast

Mini Waffles, syrup, apples slices, and white cheddar cheese

Toddlers will love having a packed lunch just like their older brother and sisters. You can use silicone muffin containers to create sections with out using a sectioned container. Again, I love versatility, and being able to pack what I want in a container is important. The silicone containers can also be lifted out and microwaved to warm up the food that is in the cup, which is an added benefit. Laptop Lunches does offer the silicone containers and they are available here.

With anything you pack your toddler, follow the rules you would for an older child. Pack what they love! No experimenting! (See my tab Lunch Packing 101 for advice in introducing new foods). The best part is, starting early will help them develop the healthy eating habits you want them to learn and keep.

Croissant, juice box, apple slices, and cheese

Croissant, juice box, apple slices, and cheese

To be fun and creative it doesn’t take much and for kids especially the younger ones. A few cookie cutters and fun colored containers can offer a fun meal away from home. I am sure you have some in a drawer you use once a year to make cookies… get them out and pack a fun lunch to take to play group tomorrow! Your toddler will be delighted and the mom’s will soon follow suit with your little trick.

Meal Plan Monday for week ending 11-28

Meal Plan for week ending 11/28/2014

Monday

Breakfast: Mini Cinnamon Rolls (Freezer Friendly recipe coming soon), White Cheddar Cheese, and Grapes

Lunch: Annie’s Home Grown Pizza rolls, baby pear, Whole Foods 365 fruit bar, and snap peas

Tuesday

Breakfast: Ate breakfast at home

Lunch: Turkey Pot Pies (Freezer friendly recipe coming soon), baby carrots, grapes, and Nature Box’s Blueberry Almond Bites

Wednesday

No School Holiday Break

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!

Breakfast: Blueberry muffin and a banana

Lunch: Wheat Crackers, nitrate free pepperoni, cheddar cheese, grapes, and baby carrots

Friday

No school for Holiday Break

Breakfast:

Lunch:

***I used a Laptop Lunch’s Large Lidded Container for breakfast and a Bento Box for Lunch. To see pictures please feel free to follow me on Instagram @Lunchesby1HappyMommaof2 (Link is in the top right corner under my picture)***

Meal Plan Monday for week ending 11-21

Meal Plan for week ending 11/21/2014

Monday

Breakfast: Peanut Butter & Honey Panini, pear slices, and cheese

Lunch: Annie’s Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese, apple slices, broccoli & baby carrots , and Pita Chips

Tuesday

Breakfast: Croissant, apple slices, and cheese

Lunch: Grilled cheese, pear slices, baby carrots, and a granola bar

Wednesday

Breakfast: GF Mini waffles, syrup, cheese, and apple slices

Lunch: Grilled cheese (request), apples slices, carrots, and pita chips

Thursday

Breakfast: Blueberry muffin and a banana

Lunch: Wheat Crackers, nitrate free pepperoni, cheddar cheese, grapes, and baby carrots

Friday

J stayed home sick, so no meals

Breakfast:

Lunch:

***I used a Laptop Lunch’s Large Lidded Container for breakfast and a Bento Box for Lunch. To see pictures please feel free to follow me on Instagram @Lunchesby1HappyMommaof2 (Link is in the top right corner under my picture)***

Quick Winter Chili Recipe

I can remember for years my dad making chili on cold winter nights. I never realized how as an adult it would become my favorite meal to make. It’s about as easy as breathing and takes 1/2 hour from start to finish. I love filling recipes like this that are fast. I added some variations and quick tips below the chili recipe as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1lb of lean ground beef (Or ground turkey we have used both

1 Red Onion chopped to size you like your onions (You can add 1/2 if you don’t like onions)

1 clove of Garlic (fresh is better, but if you are using jarred home or the store kind use the equivalent of 2)

1 Green Pepper

1 can of Dark Red Kidney Beans (or equivalent of dried beans that have been soaked)

1 can of Chili Beans (I get the mildest one I can find)

1 28 oz can of Diced Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Cumin (season to taste)

Chili Powder (season to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

Get a Large Pot!

Add the Olive oil, garlic, and onion sauté for a few minutes (do not let it burn)

Add the Green pepper and let it sauté for a minute or two.

Add your meat of choice and season with the Cumin and Chili (Remember this is for your taste I season mine a lot)

Brown the meat until there is no pink left

Add the Kidney Beans, Chili Beans, and Tomatoes and stir

Let it simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes season if you feel it needs more.

Serve with Crackers, cornbread, rolls whatever you would like.

VARIATIONS:

Adding a can of corn drained is always good and makes the chili a little thicker.

Add a Yellow Pepper or Red Pepper

If you want to just brown the Meat and Garlic first then add the Red Onion and the Green Pepper when you add the meat gives a crisper vegetable

QUICK TIPS:

When Green Peppers are on sale, chop them up and freeze them in an air tight container or freezer bag. Great for chili, stir fry, etc

If you are having company, just double the recipe

Freezes well in air tight containers for 2 months

I hope you enjoy this quick recipe ~ Meg

My 1st Meal Plan Monday for the Week Ending November 14th, 2014

I am going to start posting meal plans from the previous week. Under categories on the right of this post look for “Meal Plan Monday”. I will have links to recipes, cookbooks (if available), and to where you can find products I used. I hope you enjoy this new feature on my blog

This week was short due to Veteran’s Day and I was sick.

Monday

No School – Day Off

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Tuesday

No School – Veteran’s Day

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Wednesday

Sick Day

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Thursday 

Breakfast: Nature Box’s Blueberry Almond Bites, Cheddar Cheese, and Apple Slices

Lunch: Weelicious’s Cheesy Turkey Meatballs, celery, apple slices, and a Nature Box Raspberry Figgy Bar

Friday 

Breakfast: Sprout’s Farmer’s Market Vegan Raisin Bran Muffin, cheddar cheese, and a banana

Lunch: Weelicious Crispy Chicken Bites (from her cookbook), green grapes, broccoli, and Nature Box’s Peanut Butter Nom Noms

***I used a Laptop Lunch’s Large Lidded Container for breakfast and a Bento Box for Lunch. To see pictures please feel free to follow me on Instagram @Lunchesby1HappyMommaof2 (Link is in the top right corner under my picture)***