With the first week of preschool behind us, I thought I’d share a week’s worth of lunches since figuring out what to pack for Tiny G had given me a fair amount of angst. Which is silly. I mean, he turned TWO last week. How hard can this be? To get started, I polled a bunch of savvy parents, who shared great ideas like my friend Selena who cuts her son’s sandwiches into cute shapes using cookie cutters. I also consulted this handy pdf from Whole Foods about packing a balanced lunch. The challenge is to get protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and calcium into your toddler’s lunch each day. Hummus is my secret weapon as it hits the protein, healthy fats and calcium categories all at once! Other ways to sneak in healthy fats—cook ground chicken or drizzle vegges w/ a little olive oil. For more info on the lunchbox itself, click HERE.
Monday lunch: Red-pepper hummus on whole grain bread, organic blueberries, Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles (available in frozen section at Whole Foods). I got a heart-shaped cookie cutter from Sur la Table for $1 to make the sandwich.
Tuesday lunch: Pumpernickel bagel from Sam’s on Larchmont, garlicky hummus, organic blueberries and strawberries. [This lunch was missing veggies, so we made sure to eat extra broccoli at dinner that night. Subbing in red-pepper hummus for plain would have done the trick, too.]
Wednesday lunch: Whole wheat macaroni with whole wheat flour roux, ground organic chicken cooked in olive oil and organic cheddar cheese—baked together in silicone muffin liner (microwave safe for reheating), edamame, organic blueberries and strawberries. This one takes a little extra doing so I made a batch of six individual servings of macaroni and cheese. They keep well covered in fridge and can be used for dinners and lunches throughout the coming week/weekend. I like to use the generic brand of whole pasta from Whole Foods. [For a more balanced lunch, the edamame should have been swapped with a carrots or green veggie.]
Thursday lunch: Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles and Sweet Potato Littles, Edwards & Sons Purple Rice & Black Sesame crackers (avail at Whole Foods), organic string cheese, organic blueberries.
Friday lunch: Organic ground chicken patty cooked in olive oil, sliced organic apple, and red-pepper hummus mixed with whole wheat couscous pressed into a pig shape using these awesome farmyard ice cream sandwich molds made from BPA-free/dishwasher safe polypropylene that I picked up at Target. Tiny G was still talking about “pig” and “doozdooz” (ie, couscous) when I picked him up from school that day. These molds will offer lots of fun possibilities. Am thinking about mixing puréed steamed broccoli with mashed potato and cheese in the cow-shaped mold for tomorrow’s lunch. Would love to hear other ideas!