Toddler Lunches and Snacks

I think it goes without saying that I love being a mom.  I always knew I wanted to be one, and having Abbie only confirmed what I always knew.  What I don’t always love, however, are the tasks that come with being a mom.  Like laundry, cleaning poop, and figuring out what Abbie’s going to eat for lunch.

Sometimes I have the hardest time filling her lunchbox.  After dinner each night, I can feel the pressure to fill it.  What can Abbie eat the next day?  Will she eat what I put in there?  Will she have enough food or still be hungry.

Oh, Mom problems.

Thankfully, I think I’ve finally got it down to a good plan each day.  (Of course, now that I’ve said that, she’ll go crazy on me and want different things.)  Curious?  Here’s how her lunches and snacks look.

I use a bento box for her lunch with 4-5 silicone cupcake liners to separate out her food.  It works pretty well since they’re easy to clean and if one gets lost, it’s not a huge deal (I have a set of 12).

Usually, Abbie gets two fruits, a protein, and a grain or vegetable.  I try to make sure I make meals that are going to work in her lunch.  In the picture above (clockwise from top left), she has chicken, grapes, mandarin oranges, butternut squash, and roasted potatoes.
In addition to her box, Abbie gets a container of homemade yogurt.  Lately, she’s been giving us a hard time about eating it.  I think she was looking for it to be sweeter, so I pureed some frozen berries with a little bit of water and mixed it in – girlfriend LOVES it.  I love that I gave her a little bit of sweetness without adding sugar (win for Mom).
Abbie also gets two bottles of whole milk, and I fill her snack tower.  We got this tower in one of her Citrus Lane boxes a while back…and we use it EVERY day.
I’m trying to get away from buying so many “baby” snacks, but on this day, Abbie had Cheerios, puffs, lil’ crunchies, and pretzel sticks.
Now does Abbie eat all this every day?  Not by a long shot.  It’s always interesting to open her lunchbox when she gets home and see how she ate, and gives me a feel on what she does and doesn’t like.  She is really a pretty good eater, but definitely has a bit of a sweet tooth, just like her mommy.
I’m always looking for new ideas, and I’m sure you are too, so here’s a rundown of the things that appear in her lunches on a regular basis!
Lunch – Meat, Starch, and Veggies:
  • Chicken
  • Pasta with pesto
  • Pizza strips
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Beans (cannellini and black)
  • Meatballs
  • Hamburger
  • Fish
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Rice or Risotto
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Pears
  • Peaches (can’t wait for them to come back in season!)
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Cheerios
  • Puffs
  • Lil’ Crunchies
  • Pretzels
  • Animal Crackers
  • PB Crackers
What do you like to put in your toddler’s lunch?  Any suggestions for us to try?
About Jess

About Jess

Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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15 Responses

  1. This is so great! For some reason packing Kenley’s lunch is the BIGGEST chore. I prep as much as I can on Sundays to make life easy but somehow it still overwhelms me!

  2. I love me some toddler food posts! Now that julia’s getting older and starting to eat more, I”m looking for more ideas. I’d hate to eat the same thing over and over, so I try to make her lunches varied enough for her. I love the cupcake liner idea!

  3. This was super interesting! I never know what/how much kids eat, and at what ages!! I need to get some of those silicone muffin liners for myself! 🙂

  4. The silicone cupcake liners are genius! I need to go find some for my son! Thanks for the good ideas.

  5. Oh, I should totally do more on Sundays….but I get lazy. It seriously is such a chore, but if I do it right after dinner, it’s a lot easier.

  6. It’s such a struggle, but leftovers definitely help. Beans were a random thought, and I’m so glad I tried them because she loves them. Kids definitely will try more than we give them credit for!

  7. They are pretty awesome! It’s hard to figure out what she’ll eat sometimes…and sometimes her lunch box comes back empty, sometimes half full. They have moods just like us!

  8. totally saving this for the day I have to make natalie’s lunches. those cupcake liners are so cute, what a good idea!

I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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