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Welcome to Dupage Mamas! This blog is a place for Mamas to connect, share their experiences, and recommend great finds and ideas (or let us learn from your mistakes!) If you are raising kids in Dupage County, then we'd love to have you along for the adventure!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Feeding our Family: Toddler Lunches

This is the next post in our new series on Feeding our Family. If there is a specific idea or post topic you would like to read about as part of this series, e-mail us at dupagemamas(at)gmail(dot)com.

One of the hardest things for me about the daily grind of motherhood is feeding little people. It has always been a challenge for me to make sure my boys are getting a good mix of all the necessary food groups and nutrients. Lunches are particularly hard for me. The flow of the day rarely seems to lend itself to laid back lunch prep and drama free meal-time. Either we are on the go or nap time can't come fast enough. All this has led me to do some research on different lunch ideas that are quick and healthy or can be made ahead of time and frozen for easy heat-up. I like to mix it up and not feed the same ol' lunches all the time- you know, the PBJ and chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese and ... I worry that I am not giving them enough veges or calcium or grain or protein. There is so much to think about on top of making sure that they will actually eat what I manage to get in front of them.
So, for any of you who find themselves in the same boat as me, here are some websites and healthy lunch ideas I found to get you out of the lunch-time rut too.

Egg "McMuffins"- fried egg on a buttered english muffin, maybe with some ham for a little extra protein
Scrambled eggs with some grated cheese (My 3yr old LOVES this for any meal and I feel good 'cuz he is getting good protein)
Fruit and vege and cheese plates- raw veges or slightly steamed to make them easier to crunch
Cheese Quesadillas
Mini-pizzas on pita bread or bagels
Soup- chicken noodle, tomato, beef barley (We love the boxed versions from WholeFoods or TraderJoes- quick and healthy)
Pasta- plain or with a little butter or parm. cheese
Baked mac-n-cheese- you can cut this into squares and freeze them for quick re-heating
Turkey/Cheese roll-ups (or any lunch meat- nitrate free is best)
Ravioli- canned or frozen or homemade and pre-frozen if you are super ambitious
Bread or crackers with Hummus spread (we love this too! Good source or grain if you use wheat bread and a good protein source too)
Grilled cheese with ham or even a little tomato slice added in for some extra nutrients
Mini Meatloaf made in muffin tins-also can be made and frozen
Ramen noodles- only use a portion of the seasoning mix and remove some of the broth so it is a little less messy
Peanut butter and jelly in an ice-cream cone- a little twist on a classic, good for a quick snack too
Fruit Smoothies- add a little wheat germ or soy protein powder in there and they will never know. You can also juice some veges (in a juicer) and add that in too.

Here is a fun, toddler-friendly recipe to try: Put a stick of string cheese in a buttered hotdog bun. Microwave for 45secs. Serve with a bit of marinara sauce for dipping.

Some helpful websites:
Wholesome Toddler Foods

Healthy Toddler Lunches

Since I am all about moms helping other moms, I must give a shout out to my bloggy friend Terra who does such a good job being creative in how she feeds her family (and from who I got a lot of these ideas!).

Do you have any recipe ideas or helpful resources that we all could use to help us on this journey of feeding our family? Please share! You can leave them here in the comments or, better yet, write your own musings on feeding your family and we will post it as part of our series. Thanks Y'all!! (I met Paula Dean at BlogHer this past weekend... so maybe that has me inspired to cook.. and say y'all!)

**P.S.~ The new look of DupageMamas debuts THIS WEEK!! HOORAY!! I can't wait to show you!! **


Atwood-Family of 4 July 29, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

Thanks for those websites at the end-I used wholesomebabyfood for well past my daughter's first birthday. I'm really excited there's a toddler one now...any idea if there's an older kid one too? My years as a parent feeding her kids would be set! Thanks again!

Terra Jones August 5, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

thanks, farrah!! hopefully I can get some more meal ideas soon :) this picky 2 year old is stuck on blueberries & nuggets ;-)

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