Easy Toddler Lunchbox Ideas for the Busy (pregnant) Mom
As the summer winds down and the school buses line up, you may feel like you are stuck in a rut. Balancing a pregnancy with a toddler (or two) throughout the summer heat is exhausting! We know you aren’t wishing away the days, but perhaps a few hours to breathe while the kids are in school sounds like a dream right now? You aren’t alone.
Moms everywhere are feeling that end-of-summer-burn and hoping for a break from the heat and tantrums. Whether your toddlers will attend preschool, nature school, or be watched by a family member, mother’s helper, or other form of regular care, you deserve a few hours to yourself. It seems that each pregnancy goes faster than the last, and you need some time to connect with your growing baby, destress, and enjoy this time.
One of the most stressful parts of entering or returning to the ‘back-to-school’ schedule is meals. Some moms swear by a meal plan, while others just grab and go. Whichever mom you are, know that creating a healthy lunch option to send with your toddlers doesn’t have to be hard. Even the pickiest eaters can be made happy with a simple lunch.
Easy Toddler Lunchbox Ideas
Start with the lunchbox.
You want a lunchbox that contains separate non-touching areas to keep foods from combining. You also want to look for good insulation to keep the heat from ruining the lunch. Don’t forget to have your toddlers practice opening and closing the box to learn how it works!
Stick with simple, healthy, and well-loved foods.
Your creativity can go as wild as you would like it to while you cut and build these lunches, but your toddler will not truly care if his cheese is in the shape of a heart or not, so remember to not overthink or spend too much time on the act of packing a lunch!
Be realistic with portions.
You know your child and what he will actually eat in a sitting, so don’t overpack food that may be thrown away.
Make a big batch of protein pancakes or waffles over the weekend and freeze leftovers in portioned baggies. You’ll be able to grab them in the morning and toss them into the lunch box for a win-win yummy item that also keeps the other foods cool. You can turn them into sandwiches or serve as-is. Pair with a fresh fruit, some nuts or another protein (edamame is easy), and something fun.
Sticking with the breakfast theme, leftover bacon or sausage makes a great, protein-packed lunch entrée. Pair with pita bread and hummus with a few carrot sticks and applesauce.
You can also add a few extra pieces of meat as you make dinners to slice up for the lunchbox meals; wrap a piece of cheese around it if you are feeling adventurous.
If you would like to give yourself the mornings off from lunch packing, consider investing in a few inserts for the lunchbox and prep everything on Sunday. You can keep some items in the freezer, just leave a little sticky note to remind yourself to grab it day-of!