I put this page together after I started posting pictures of my daughter's lunch on the blog.  I don't do anything fancy, so this is a resource for working parents that need some ideas for packing preschool lunches that are healthy and fun.  To see all the posts and about lunches with pictures, click here.

I do my best to provide H with healthy, balanced, natural meals.  As a family we eat most of our meals at home, prepared by us, using about 65% fresh ingredients and 35% prepackage or convenience foods.  We are both working parents doing our best to provide balanced meals.  We don't do no carb, paleo, or any other diets.  Just everything in moderation.  What you will find below are suggestions to make preparing your toddler's lunches and dinners easier and less time consuming.

When selecting convenience or pre-packaged food, I always go for the items with the smallest number of ingredients.  I look for items with no added sugar or corn syrup, although that is not always an option.

 - 3 compartment zip loc containers via Target
*I did extensive research on containers, and these cheap ones have been amazing.  Each compartment is leak proof, so I can put yogurt, applesauce, etc in there.  They are cheap and wash well.  Highly recommend!
 - Wilton silicone muffin cups available via craft store (in the baking aisle)
- other small silicone cups via
- Glad 8 pack mini containers (for yogurt, applesauce, etc)

things I keep on hand almost all the time to make packing easy and mindless
brands are specified when there is one that I particularly like
turkey pepperoni
fresh deli turkey slices
shredded chicken
Rosarita fat free refried beans
sand which rounds
Cinnamon raisin bagel thins
corn/flour blend tortillas
wheat bread
wheat Ritz crackers
frozen Eggo Nutrigrain Blueberries waffles
2% Choboni yogurt
reduced fat Sargento Colby Jack cheese sticks
Kraft Big Slice slice Monterrey Jack cheese
shredded jack and mozzarella cheese
fresh grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
mandarin oranges in juice (not syrup)
individual packs of pears and peaches packed in juice or water
individual packs of organic, unsweetened applesauce
dried cherries
raisins (prefer the big container over individual packs, big container stays more moist)
reduced sugar Craisins
applesauce pouches (look for a brand that does not contain corn syrup, I like the GoGo ones)
Gerber pouches (fruit and veggie combos)
dried snap peas (located near croutons at my store)
jars of baby food carrots and sweet potatoes
organic Ragu pasta sauce in the jar
peanut butter
simply fruit low sugar jelly
no bake energy balls (my recipe here)
banana oat cookies (recipe here)
Peppridge Farm baked goldfish crackers
Annie's bunny graham cookies
Mott's natural fruit snacks
small pretzel sticks
Trader Joes cereal & fruit bars
low sugar ketchup

- pizza made with sandwhich round, organic Ragu, mozzarella cheese and turkey peperoni
- Bertolli cheese ravioli with organic Ragu and carrot baby food snuck in
- wrap with whole wheat wrap, slice cheese and deli turkey with hummus for dipping
- quesadilla with any leftover meat and shredded cheese
 - PB&J with simply fruit spread or low sugar jelly

frozen greek yogurt bars
greek yogurt squeeze tubes put in the freezer
frozen 100% fruit pops
soft serve made from Yonanas machine
graham crackers

We do treat H once in awhile, but we don't keep tempting snacks in the house.  This includes things like potato chips, most candy, packaged baked goods, Oreos, cheese crackers, ice cream, etc.

P A N T R Y    O R G A N I Z A T I O N
I have a shelf in my pantry dedicated to snacks/lunch packing supplies and baking supplies.  The bins hold more than simply lining the shelf with the items and makes finding what I need and packing it quicker.

Bin 1 - Fruits and Veggies: applesauce, individual fruit cups (peaches, oranges, pears all packed in juice or water - I usually rinse them to get excess sugar off before I give them to her), GoGo squeeze applesauce pouches, assorted Gerber and Earth's Best fruit and veggie pouches

Bin 2 - Carby Snacks: Mott's fruit snacks, Ritz Bitz, Annie's bunny cookies, instant oatmeal packs, cereal bars, Cliff Kidz bars

Bin 3 - More Snacks and Easy Meals: Annie's mac n cheese, dried cherries, raisins, low-sugar craisins, cornbread, red beans and rice packs

Bin 4 - Baking Supplies: shredded coconut, chocolate chips, walnuts, brown rice syrup

*always save left overs from home or a restaurant, even the smallest portion is perfect for a toddler lunch!
*leftovers from the night before make a great lunch, so pack lunch while you are cleaning up dinner dishes
*lunchables are convenient, but packed with salt and preservatives.  Cut up your own fresh deli meat and cheese and add crackers to a cupcake liner and you can make your own

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog, as your daughter and my son are fairly close in age. I especially love your lunches section; it's a great resource! Thank you!