Ask the expert: 30 childcare-friendly lunch ideas
Stuck for lunch ideas for your toddler's daycare or preschool lunch? Baby and lunchbox cookbook author Anna Bordignon of Munch Cupboard has some ideas to help.
Q: Can you give some suggestions for easy, daycare-friendly lunches I can pack for my toddler (no eggs or peanut products allowed)?
Packing the perfect daycare or kindy-friendly lunches can be a tricky balancing of needs versus wants. If you aim to give your child a good mixture of carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some protein, you have a recipe for success. Here my top 10 suggestions for each of these key food groups. I have specifically selected products that could be used in an egg and nut free environment, but if in doubt, be sure to read any packaging.
||Fruits and Vegetables
- Corn chips (low salt and wholemeal are good)
- Popcorn (air popped and low salt is best)
- Leftover pasta, rice or noodles with a splash of soy sauce
- Plain bread rolls or croissants
- Crackers and breadsticks
- Roti or naan bread
- Small handful of cereal (check for nuts, though)
- Pita breads or crisps
- Wraps cut into small squares or triangles
- Bread is a great staple, so fingers or soldiers can be fun
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bunch of grapes
- Raw vegetables chopped into "fingers": Carrot, capsicum, or cucumber
- Frozen berries mixed through yoghurt
- Dried prunes, raisins, or dates
- Peeled mandarins
- Pineapple chunks
- Leftover cooked vegetables: Broccoli, corn on the cob, potatoes, kumara, carrots (especially roasted veg)
- Skewered fruit and vegetable kebabs
- Frozen berries (package with dried fruit as these will absorb the juices as they defrost)
- Grated, sliced, or cubed cheese
- A small slice of ham wrapped around a vegetable stick
- Slices of salami
- Pots of yoghurt
- Cold slices of meatloaf
- Cold cooked kranskys or sausages, sliced
- Tinned baked beans
- Dried pulses like chickpeas
- Small meatballs
- Leftover pizza chopped into "fingers"
Don’t forget to include a good reusable water bottle, clean it daily, and fill it with fresh water. If you are packing something messy, include a teaspoon or other utensil that your child can use to eat their foods with. If you are buying snack foods for lunchboxes, be sure to keep an eye on the sodium levels.
By Anna Bordignon