Quick and Easy Toddler Lunches

Feeding a toddler is difficult. They tend to be picky eaters, they eat on sporadic schedules, and they need a lot of assistance at meal time (I wonder at what point can I expect my child to safely wield a steak knife?). Lunch is always a bit of a struggle for me because it happens to fall right in the middle of the day between the time that I’ve just cooked and cleaned up breakfast and have to start prepping for dinner. I have, however, found a few tried-and-true lunches that are my go-to’s on busy days. Note: I always offer milk or water and at least two fruits and/or veggies with each meal. My 2-year old will always eat the fruit and, more often than not, he goes for the veggie, too. Here are some of my faves:

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  1. peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (when I’m feeling fancy, I’ll even make them into “t-balls”–use the top of a glass to cut out the sandwich bread into circles–and use string cheese to make the “T” and the “bat”. If you know my son, you know that this is about the coolest lunch in the world to him). 
  2. “deli tray”- cubes of lunch meat and cheeses
  3. breakfast foods: oatmeal, scambled eggs and toast, a muffin and yogurt–breakfast is usually my son’s favorite meal of the day, and who says you can only eat those things in the morning anyway?
  4. quesadillas with salsa “dip”
  5. anything on a stick: fruit, cheese cubes, chunks of meat, grilled veggies
  6. mac and cheese (yeah, it’s terrible but he loves it…)
  7. smoothies (you can sneak all kinds of good stuff into thesese guys!)
  8. leftovers from whatever we ate for dinner last night
  9. chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries
  10. pasta (he usually loves any kind of pasta)
  11. hummus with crackers, pita wedges and veggies for dipping
  12. tortilla roll ups (lay out a tortilla, spread on some cream cheese, layer on lunch meat/cheese/spinach/lettuce, roll up, and slice into rolls)
  13. grilled cheese and soup
  14. prepared tuna fish spread on crackers (or with goldfish crackers swimming in the tuna fish “sea”)
  15. healthy nachos (multigrain crackers baked with shredded cheese, beans, etc.)
  16. english muffin pizzas (1/2 a whole wheat english muffin spread with pizza sauce, topped with shredded mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you like, then baked in the oven)
  17. “beanie-weenies”–baked beans with little hot dog pieces
  18. yogurt parfait (plain greek yogurt layered with granola, berries, and honey)
  19. mini whole-wheat bagels topped with peanut butter, bananas and a drizzle of honey
  20. “pigs in a blanket” (wrap a ‘lil smokies sausage or slice of turkey inside 1/3 of a crescent roll, then bake)

I’m always looking for new ideas, so feel free to leave a comment if you have any other great lunches!

Weekend Waffles and This Week’s Menu

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Most mornings in our house are a bit hectic–we’re all in a rush to get ready and get out of the house. But Saturdays are different. Saturday mornings are usually our one chance in the week to laze around (unfortunately, not to sleep in–we do have two children under the age of 3, after all) and enjoy each other’s company. And where I come from, that calls for a good meal.

We’ve started a bit of a tradition involving baked goods and, usually, lots of syrup: The Saturday Morning Breakfast. The meals are usually pretty simple–pancakes, waffles, or scrambled “cheesy eggs”–but they’re always delicious and they get our weekends off to a good start.

This weekend I made one of our all-time favorites: Great-Grandma Doreen’s light-and-fluffy as air waffles. They’re made with whipped egg whites so they puff up beautifully–and then they literally melt in your mouth with each bite. And, if you’re like me, you know that the only way to eat waffles (or, really, just about anything) is smothered in whipped cream and fresh berries. They are so delectable that our 29-pound 2-year old polished off two of them in one sitting. So, go ahead, make these waffles for your family next weekend–I bet you can’t stop at just one!

Weekend Waffles Recipe

2 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil

Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff (forming soft peaks). In a separate bowl, combine the 2 egg yolks, milk, and oil. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour , baking powder and salt. Add the egg/milk/oil mixture to the flour mixture and blend well. Fold in the stiffened egg whites. Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray, then spoon waffle batter into the iron and cook according to your iron’s instructions. Serve hot with mounds of whipped cream (or whatever other toppings you like!). Makes 6-8 waffles.

This Week’s Menu

Monday: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with carrots and baby red potatoes

Tuesday: Bible study potluck–I’m bringing Caesar salad with homemade dressing (I may have to share my recipe for the dressing on here some time. It’s the best Caesar dressing ever because there are no gross little sardines involved.)

Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup–This is already in my freezer from when I made it a few weeks ago

Thursday: Southwest Turkey Burgers with Avocado-Garlic Aioli–an amazing recipe that I got from a friend, and they’re actually better cooked inside on a griddle (I’m not quite ready to brave the wind and the rain for our outdoor grill yet!)

Friday: Dinner with friends

Saturday: Roasted Chicken and Rosemary Ravioli–Pre-made from Costco. They’re delicious.

Sunday: Chicken Broccoli Rice Bake–made with cheddar cheese and a bit of curry powder for some kick