Big news in the Benton household!! Littles has graduated from a Sprout to a Caterpillar!!! Mom and Dad couldn’t be more happier in our growing ball of sunshine! He has mastered the art of crawling, walking, running with the occasional spill, painting, sweeping, climbing, spinning, yelling and chewing everything in sight. I couldn’t ask for a better child. He has his moments, but all the good completely out weight the bad times.
If your like me, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the easiest and healthiest way to put together meals for littles while he’s at school. Let me catch you up…..He’s almost 1 1/2 years old and graduating rooms, means no more bottles of milk and more solid foods that he can eat himself (with or without silverware) I wanted to make sure that he is getting a well balanced meal and also not a big chore for his teacher to grab and arrange. There is a microwave, but no fridge. So I purchased his very own, very first insulated lunch bag, water bottle and thermos. We went more adult on this than cartoon character as we found he is still little enough to not really care about the looks and the adult ones are more functional in my opinion.
For the food container, I decided on plastic Bento boxes. I found them on Amazon along with silicone baking cups. That way I can have everything he’s going to eat in a days time, all in one convenient container, separated by the silicone cups. The silicone cup also allows me to know how much food he’s eating. He gets an AM snack, lunch and PM snack. I try not to give him foods that have to be warmed up in a microwave. I found that there are a lot of great make at home or store bought options out there. Here are a few examples of some daily meals:
AM Snack: Strawberry cream cheese bagel sammies, banana honey wheat tortilla roll ups, hard boiled eggs, string cheese cubed, diced ham, fruit, croissant/banana bread pieces, apple biscuits, fruit bars, smoothies, bacon bits, avocado toast, cucumber & cream cheese sammies, yogurt, hummus.
Lunch: Curry chicken salad, pesto pea pasta, macaroni salad, potato & beet salad, fruit salad, ham and cheese on wheat triangles, pita sammies, diced meats, lightly seemed then cooled veggies, peanut butter and jelly triangles ( use Sunflower butter when a peanut allergy is present) cold pizza bites, turkey and mascarpone wheat tortilla roll ups, BLT triangles, roasted then cooled potato bites with chive and sour cream, zucchini and sausage fingers, chicken meatballs, ramen,falafel.
PM snack: Apple/berry biscuits, fruit snacks, cheese sandwich crackers, soft granola, dried fruits, hard boiled egg, salami cheese and ritz, fruit, cooked and cooled beans like garbanzo or black beans, fruit bars, veggie crackers, pretzels.
The kids in the new class don’t sit at high chairs anymore. They sit at a large table, in little chairs and they each feed themselves and are given spoons and forks when needed. This is going over very well with my littles and the feeling of being more grown up, elates him!! I am thinking that now a booster is better for him to eat at the table with all of us. He does great with his spoon and fork on the other end utensil. He still likes to throw the plate or cup, so suction is best for now. Also, they make these really cool snack cups that have a little rubber piece in the middle, so the snacks don’t fall out but a hand can go in. This is an awesome little snack container!
I grocery shop on Sunday morning and prep everything that afternoon. Prepare and cook all meats, dice and chop everything, bake some goodies and store it in their own tupperware. Each night after littles is fast asleep, I create each box for the following day making my mornings so much easier. Grab the ice packets, put them into the lunch bag …DONE! When preparing littles foods, I also incorporate the hubby’s lunches or a side or two for a dinner during the week. My motto is if you pull it out and know you’ll need it within the next day or two, then prep for that time as well. So all littles meats and veggies can also be Dad’s salad fixings or snacks. Mom too, lol. Using our precious time as wisely as possible to allow for more kid time!! I use to kill myself preparing these lunches for him until I found my niche. I hope that you will use some of these ideas in your littles lunches. What other foods can we try adding? Let me know.. till next time, enjoy packing lunches for your littles, smiling and being a parent, all while living in Nevada!