If you’re a home daycare provider, you know that mealtimes can be challenging. Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, and getting them to eat a healthy and balanced meal can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Here are three tips for providing toddler-friendly lunches.
These simple tips will help you provide nutritious and toddler-friendly lunches.
1. Incorporate a Variety of Foods
Try to include a variety of foods in each lunchtime meal, including proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy. A variety of foods will help ensure that your daycare kids are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. And, if you’re struggling to get them to eat their veggies, try hiding them in other foods. For example, you could add shredded carrots to their favourite pasta dish or sneak some spinach into their tomato soup.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
When providing a toddler’s lunch, it’s best to avoid processed foods as much as possible. These foods are often high in sugar and unhealthy additives that can adversely affect a child’s health. Instead, opt for whole and unprocessed foods whenever possible. Unprocessed foods include foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, etc.
3. Stick to Simple Recipes
When it comes to cooking for toddlers, simpler is almost always better. Opt for recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or steps to prepare. And if you’re short on time, there are plenty of quick and easy toddler-friendly recipes you can whip up in no time flat. By sticking to simple recipes, you’ll be able to save both time and money in the kitchen.
Check out these toddler lunch ideas for inspiration!
- Nut-free butter and jelly sandwich
- Fruit (apple, orange, grapefruit) and cheese
- Vegetables (carrot sticks, celery sticks, or cucumbers) and Hummus
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Yogurt or cheese cubes
- Crackers or pretzels
- Mini pizza buns
- Chicken or ham wraps
- Chicken fingers
- A cheese sandwich with some grapes or apple slices
- Crackers with cream cheese or non-nut butter
- Leftovers from the previous night’s dinner
- String cheese and grapes
- Cereal with milk
- Turkey and cheese sandwich
- Fruit cups
- Ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread.
- Rice pudding
- Roasted chickpeas
- Veggie straws and cheese
How to deal with “The Picky Eater”?
If you are a provider who runs a home daycare, you may have dealt with “The Picky Eater.” before. The Picky Eater is a child who is very choosy about what they will and will not eat. While some picky eaters are simply going through a phase, others may have a more serious problem with food aversion or allergies. As a provider, it is essential to be patient and understanding with the picky eater, but there are also some things you can do to encourage them to try new foods.
Here are some tips for dealing with the picky eater in your home daycare:
- Serve small portions of new foods. This way, the picky eater won’t feel overwhelmed by a lot of food they don’t like.
- Encourage trying new foods by offering positive reinforcement, such as praise or stickers.
- Model healthy eating habits yourself. The picky eater may be more likely to try new foods if they see you eating them too.
- Avoid forcing the issue. Forcing the picky eater to eat something they don’t want can create a negative association with food and worsen the problem.
With patience and creativity, you can help the picky eater in your home daycare expand their horizons and develop healthy eating habits!
In conclusion, toddlers can be picky eaters, but that doesn’t mean their lunch has to be a hassle. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to put together nutritious and toddler-friendly lunches in no time flat. So go ahead and give them a try the next time you’re planning your child’s daycare menu!