Packed Lunch Ideas?

My toddler is getting sick of turkey sandwiches, but I don’t know what else to pack in his lunch box for day care. Help!
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ByKristi L. King
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Updated
Mar 2017
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You already know a healthy packed lunch consists of some type of starch, protein, fruit and vegetable. But to think of ones that your toddler will actually eat? That’s can get pretty tough. (And to make things even harder, many day cares are now peanut and tree-nut free. Forget about a trusty PB and J!)

The keys for toddler lunches are variety and fun — but you don’t have to go too crazy. For a new, more exciting spin on the usual turkey sandwich, make wraps and slice them up like pinwheels. Or prepare a mashed sweet potato and black bean quesadilla the night before (and refrigerate, of course) to pack in the lunch box. Round out the meal by adding some sliced fruit or veggies on the side.

You’ll also want to think past sandwiches and wraps. Instead, fill a bento box or other divided container with a variety of nutritious foods: Chopped chicken, cheese cubes or hard-boiled eggs for protein; pasta salad or crackers for starch; cut veggies; and bite-sized fruits, like bananas, strawberries or apple slices. One of the compartments can have a savory dipping sauce like honey mustard or barbecue sauce, or a sweet dip for fruit, such as yogurt. Toddlers love to dip!

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