Daycare Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Every morning while my son eats breakfast, I pack his little lunchbox. It’s a chore that I’m not crazy about and I will be doing it for another 15 years. I’ve mentioned it several times before, but it’s true – while we spend a ridiculous amount of money on our son’s daycare “tuition,” we have to send lunch from home every day. Most daycare centers provide snacks and meals – ours provides snacks, but that’s it! For some parents, that might be a deal-breaker, but to me, it was music to my ears. It’s no secret that I like control and now I could make sure that my picky kid was getting food that I knew he would eat and I never had to stress about “hot dog days.”

The school’s requirement is that each lunch must contain the following:

  • 1 grain
  • 2 fruits and/or vegetables
  • 1 protein
  • 1 dairy

They provide organic milk at lunch, so that gives me wiggle room with protein and dairy (the milk they provide can be the protein or the dairy). I also send a little treat every day because:

  1. My mom did the same for me.
  2. Harry is a string-bean and I don’t worry about calories.
  3. Everything in moderation.

I also tend to keep fruit/vegetables as non-perishable and easy-to-grab. I do tend to send little tupperwares of green beans since that’s his favorite veggie (I didn’t do that this week). But keeping it to the raisins-applesauce-pouch variety also reduces waste – if he doesn’t touch those that day, they send them home. If I send a fresh apple or banana and he doesn’t touch it, it goes in the trash. I don’t know. It’s weird, but whatever. File that under stuff I can’t control. My only true irritation with the whole lunch-packing bit is being required to label every single darn thing. Yes, I’m still irritated but yes, I label religiously now.

It should also be said that my son’s favorite sandwich EVER is a cheese sandwich. I tend to call it a “Wish Sandwich” because I wish there was something in it besides cheese. But nope, that is his thing and he loves it. I suppose it’s no different than the kid who only eats chicken nuggets or cottage cheese.

So for you fellow mommas who have to send lunch every day, here’s a bit of what I send. Do you have any standby’s that you send? What are some of your favorites? I’m always looking for new things that are easy!

If your daycare provides your child’s lunch, do they like it? Do you ever wish you could send stuff or are you knowing the day will come soon enough with kindergarten?


Article Posted 6 years Ago

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