My 16 month old goes to daycare and we have to provide a lunch for him. I have been buying the Gerber Graduates meals but they are kid of pricey and I feel like a bad parent for feeding him pre-processed foods everyday.

Sometimes I'll send dinner leftovers but I'm running out of ideas. Does anyone have any suggestions that are healthy and easy to make. Both my husband and I work full-time and dinner-time is always crazy since we are simultaneously trying to feed my son his dinner while making our dinner at the same time.

asked 28 Sep '09, 17:29

superstarBJR's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

Lunches on the go from our family's experience:

Peanut butter (or sunbutter)/jelly

Lunch meat broken into smaller pieces with string cheese slices & crackers (Lunch meat sliced from the deli has less preservatives)

Cheese melted in pita bread

Turky hot dogs sliced (processed, but an easy fast meal since our kids like them heated or cold)

Grilled chicken strips (w/ ranch dressing)

Canned chicken w/ a little mayonnaise and crackers (or tuna, but we like the chicken better and call it "chuna")

We do lots of fruit and something crunchy like veggie chips/pretzles/cheerios/goldfish

The easiest veggies my kids will eat on the go are presteamed peas/carrots


answered 29 Sep '09, 07:33

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

edited 29 Sep '09, 19:16

sunbutter (sunflower butter) sounds interesting, how is the texture of it? (I'm guessing more like almond butter than peanut butter?).

(29 Sep '09, 07:56) kurtseifried

I think I will try out the ranch dressing! just found great easy recipe on wikihow!

(29 Sep '09, 08:28) Emi

I don't know why peanut butter and jelly never crossed my mind, duh!

(29 Sep '09, 13:51) superstarBJR

I personally haven't tried the sunbutter, but it's on my grocery list for this week because unfortunatley we just found out my son is allergic to peanuts. :(

(29 Sep '09, 17:22) Sabrina

We found The Vegetarian Baby and Child by Petra Jackson to be full of good ideas - and some can be adapted quite easily if you're not a vegetarian family. One or two recipes take a long time to prepare or cook, but are well worth it as they're very tasty, but there are also some excellent quick recipes for when you're in a hurry or want to provide a cooked snack.

We'd make up enough for several portions, and then freeze them in ice-cube trays. That way, you end up with a few different recipes frozen, and then you can pop out enough frozen-food-cubes for a meal each time which can easily be heated / microwaved in a couple of minutes. This means that you can keep the amount of time spent actually making meals to a minimum.

They can also be placed in a refrigerator to thaw gradually, so are suitable for daycare lunch if you pop a few cubes in a sealed container to go straight in the fridge upon arrival.


answered 28 Sep '09, 18:03

Ratinox's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

You shouldn't feel like a bad parent at all in my opinion, its a shame that daycare does not provide a meal. You should try and prepare food that you can keep in the fridge up to a couple of days, and that should give you a break inbetween. I know that having to cook every night is certainly a chore, if you and your partner are working full time.

Try to find dishes that you can cook and then just reheat in the oven or the microwave, but try to avoid pre-cooked minute meals if you can.

Depending on what you all prefer to eat as a family, draw up a rota of meals and spend a little extra time of Sunday preparing the ingredients for dishes that will last through till Wednesday or Thursday.

Peel and dice vegtables so that you can prepare a quick stir fry dish. Pasta salads with different ingredients are nourishing. Tuna with red and green peppers mixed with pasta is both healthy and light. Lentils and other bean dishes can be prepared inadvance too. Steak and chicken that has already been marinated cooks quickly.

Hope this helps!


answered 28 Sep '09, 18:16

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

Take pre-cooked veggies or leftovers and freeze them in little plastic bags so that you can just grab a bag, heat it up and you're good to go.

Freezing food does not take away its nutrients as far as I know!


answered 28 Sep '09, 19:59

epaga's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

We tried those Graduate meals a few times and they were a bit yucky. We found our daughter took to simple healthy foods like chick peas, olives, crackers, lunch meats rolled up (fun to play with a little), cheese sticks, and tortillas with melted cheese. Most of these can be prepared in advance. May need a cold pack. Hope these ideas help.


answered 30 Sep '09, 02:56

Christian%20Loris's gravatar image

Christian Loris
accept rate: 0%

A lot will depend on what your son is willing to eat. If he'll do vegetables, that's an easy preparation and you can do batches of steamed veggies once or twice a week instead of having to prepare them every morning. My kids always liked steamed carrots, broccoli and green beans the best. Another healthy and quick food to consider is beans. Black beans and chick peas were always popular at our house, and they're easy, protein-packed, finger foods.


answered 28 Sep '09, 18:06

erin's gravatar image

accept rate: 31%

Peanut Butter & Jelly - use a different cookie cutter every day to make new designs

saltine crackers with peanut butter on them - a cracker sandwich

baggy of fruit loops, cookie crisp, some kind of cereal

cheese sandwich -bread - cheese - bread

If the daycare can heat stuff up you could do easy mac, chicken noodle soup or spaghetti O's

You can always make sure they get their veggies and fruits at night at home.

I don't like sending foods that my kids can choke on...bananas, hotdogs, grapes...


answered 30 Sep '09, 14:21

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Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%

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Asked: 28 Sep '09, 17:29

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Last updated: 30 Sep '09, 14:21