*hard-boiled egg / brown rice with nutritional yeast / sliced steamed brussel sprouts / veggie pot-sticker (leftover)
*sourdough with cream cheese / curried kidney beans / roasted beets (cubed)
* avocado / cheese / veggie hot dog pieces / apple slices
*hard-boiled egg / soba noodles with nutritional yeast and sesame oil / zucchini and carrots sauteed with ginger
Lunch time is one of my favorite rituals in our house. Of course there are those days where we are out and about and eat on the go (our favorite meal-on-the-run is peanut butter and jelly with a side of string cheese), but whenever possible I try to make it home for a mid-day meal. It's a time for Little Smith and I to sit together at the table, to babble in half sentences recounting the morning's activities, and hopefully to lay the ground work for a nice, long nap to follow.
Although I want to provide nutritious and varied lunches, I generally don't have the time to do much cooking in the middle of the day. Leftovers are always winners, but lately those have been scarce (could be my 33 weeks pregnant appetite!). I look for foods that require little to no cooking and do my best to offer a fairly balanced plate.
Above is a week's worth of our fast and easy vegetarian toddler lunches... and generally I am eating some variation of the same ingredients. Often I will add a wrap or raw greens. Little Smith is open to many types of food, but can also be picky about textures. He won't eat raw vegetables, still likes his food to be cut into small pieces, and his fingers remain his favorite utensil. I keep his plate pretty clean and not too packed or else he gets overwhelmed and throws things around. He almost always requests seconds (especially with cheese) and we usually have a 'dessert course' of some fresh fruit too. He is a small kid but a good eater!
My must-have items for quick meals include:
- eggs (LS loves scrambled and hard-boiled most)
- beans (I like Eden brand, no bpa in the cans!)
- frozen peas / corn/ brussel sprouts (for when there are no fresh veggies on hand)
- carrots (they store well. so I keep a giant bag of these in the fridge and cut them small or grate them for a fast saute)
- avocados (LS loves them, they're green and don't need to be cooked- score!)
- hummus / bean spread (LS actually prefers white bean)
- sunflower seeds / sliced almonds (we throw these in with rice and pastas)
- soba noodles / quinoa / rice (quinoa is the best because it's so fast)
- bread (toast is an obsession)
- fresh fruit (we go through it like crazy, I wish it wasn't so pricey or was easier to grow here!)
I'd love to hear your suggestions for quick and yummy foods that are toddler friendly. Do you bother sitting down for lunch or prefer to grab it on the fly? I'm sure our routine will continue to change as Little Smith gets older and our family grows, but I'm the type that will always require a pretty filling lunch... or maybe that's just this growing belly talking.