Sending your toddler off to preschool is much easier if you know he is armed with a lunchbox full of nutritious foods that he will eat. The key to accomplishing this is to make fun and creative snacks and meals that build on your toddler's favorite foods. Whether your toddler needs lunch for a full-day preschool or just a snack for an afternoon, give him foods that will fuel and satisfy him.
Whether for a snack or a light lunch, mini-sandwiches can provide your toddler with the nutrition he needs to get through the day. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, barring any allergies, and slice it in four sections to make mini-sandwiches. You can do the same with light lunch meats. Instead of a conventional sandwich, make pinwheels. Simply cut the crusts off some bread, roll flat and put on your toppings, such as cream cheese or creamy dressing and ham. Roll the bread up into a log and slice it into wheel-shaped mini-sandwiches.
Finger foods are great for the toddler with a small appetite or who gets tired of one food very quickly. Just about anything can be made into finger foods. Pack a snack of cheese or meat cubes. Pair them with crackers for a delicious and easy snack. You can pack pretzels, nuts or trail mix as a sturdier alternative to fragile potato chips. Corn chips and salsa also make a appealing finger food. Put the salsa in a resealable plastic container to avoid mess.
Dipping one food into another makes snack time a game for preschoolers. Cut up carrots, peppers or celery and put them in a plastic bag. Put a dip such as hummus or creamy dip into a resealable plastic container, or pack a single-serving dip. You can also make other foods into a quick dip. Foods such as creamy salad dressings and cream cheese are ideal for dipping, or stir together dip mix with sour cream or yogurt. If veggies aren't filling enough, pack a lunchbox with pita wedges, crackers, bread sticks or pretzels.
Fruit and Desserts
If your toddler has a sweet tooth, satisfy it without giving him too much processed sugar. Sliced fruit is an excellent way to provide dessert. Apples, pears and strawberries all keep well in a plastic container. A frozen juice box makes a refreshing sweet treat during periods of hot weather. Try to find one that uses all-natural fruit juices. Pack a container of plain yogurt with some berries on the side. Have your toddler mix the two together at snack or lunch time.
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