toddler lunches

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Logan's school requires us to bring his lunch every day.  In some respects, it is a pain to pack a lunch every day.  But in reality, it allows me more control over what he's eating. 
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We also have our snack assignments - for two days a month we bring all the snacks for all the kids in class.  So I really only have control over what he's eating for snack twice a month.  Most parents are pretty good about their selections, but even we have fallen into the trap about what is easiest for the teachers to serve.  They don't allow us to bring anything homemade.  They have one little microwave and no oven.  And anything containing nuts is a definite no-no!  So we tend to bring a lot of bananas and crackers.

When Logan was little, I was all about controlling his sugar and salt intake and sneaking in vegetables where I could.  He's always been a pretty good eater, but I think convenience has made us slip a little.  We have the Deceptively Delicious cookbook and I've always subscribed to that concept.  For example, Logan loves mashed potatoes.  So if I mix some mashed cauliflower in, he's none the wiser.

I feel like we've recently gotten into a rut with what we serve Logan, including dinner.  I try to send him every food group for lunch every day, but the vegetables can be tough for a toddler not quite ready to much on carrot sticks.

So I'm on a mission.  I'm going to make it my goal every day to get him to try something new or reintroduce him to something he thinks he doesn't like.  Here's some help:

The Meal Makeover Moms
(they even have a podcast!)


Food with Kid Appeal (check out these lunchbox ideas!)

To assess my success, I thought I'd list some of Logan's favorite lunches here.  Yes, they aren't that bad.  It's not like I send him only chicken nuggets and hot dogs (although those are two of his favorite foods).  But I want to expand this list.  I'll check back in a month!

"Main Meals" or Proteins
Italian Wedding Soup (I get low-sodium Progresso and drain out a lot of the broth to minimize mess!)
Turkey or Ham sandwiches (I like to spread hummus or veggie cream cheese on them and cut them in cute shapes!)
Mashed potatoes with carrots, peas and chicken mixed in

Sides
Fruit - usually bananas for convenience, but cutup grapes, strawberries, blueberries or peaches if I make the effort
Dairy - cheese stick or yogurt
Veggie - I tend to cheat and get this in the "main meal" whenever possible (that's what they call it at school).  He does love cucumber slices with ranch to dip. 
Grain - Crackers or pretzels (with almost every lunch)

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