How to Pack a Lunch for a Toddler

Three Methods:Picking the Right LunchboxCreating a Healthy Lunch for Your ChildPacking the Food

Deciding what to pack your child for lunch for the first time can be a bit of a challenge. You want your child to eat healthy, but also don’t want food to be wasted. Luckily, there are some basic guidelines that you can follow to begin, including what kind of lunchbox to use, what food groups to send, and how to pack the lunchbox. The more you pack your child’s lunch, the easier it will be to figure out which foods are best for your child.

Method 1
Picking the Right Lunchbox

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    Pick out a lunchbox that is the right size for your child. If you have a young child who is going to kindergarten or preschool for the first time, it's a good idea to pick out a lunchbox that won’t be too difficult for your child to carry. At the same time, you should make sure that the lunchbox can fit all of the food that you want to send to school with your child.
    • Check to see if the lunchbox can fit three or four food items, as well as a drink.
    • Make sure your child can carry the box without difficulty.
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    Check to make sure that your child can open the lunchbox easily. Some lunchboxes seem like they were made to contain top secret information, rather than your child’s lunch. You should make sure that the lunchbox can be opened easily.
    • Lunchboxes with zippers work well to contain your child’s food and can also be opened easily. There are also metal lunch boxes that have easy-to-use clips.
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    Consider using a lunchbox that has separate containers for different types of food. Some lunch boxes come with separate containers or are sectioned off so that you can keep foods from mixing.
    • This can be helpful if you pack your child something, like applesauce, that might spill.
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    Get a box that is insulated. If you are planning on packing your child food that needs to be refrigerated, you should get an insulated lunchbox. This will keep perishable food from spoiling.
    • Some lunchboxes have compartments that are specifically designed to contain either hot or cold food.
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    Consider getting your child a thermos. Thermoses can be great for hot or cold beverages. They can also allow you to pack soup for your child, as the thermos should be able to keep the soup hot until lunchtime.
    • Do not purchase a thermos that is too large, as your child may find that it is difficult to carry it if it weighs a lot.

Method 2
Creating a Healthy Lunch for Your Child

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    Make sure your child gets protein every day. Protein helps your child to grow. They also help in the production and renewal of cells. Consider making your child a sandwich that contains proteins. Foods that contain protein include[1]:
    • Meats like turkey, beef, pork, and chicken.
    • Fish like tuna, salmon, and halibut.
    • Cheese like mozzarella and cheddar.
    • Tofu, beans, and eggs.
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    Include carbohydrates in your child’s lunch. Carbohydrates, or carbs, help to boost your child’s energy levels. However, there are some carbs that are better than others. Avoid giving your child simple sugar carbs like candy. Instead, give your child complex carbs like[2]:
    • Whole grain products like whole wheat bread, or whole grain pasta.
    • Brown rice.
    • Green vegetables like spinach.
    • Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes or corn.
    • Lentils, beans, peas and other legumes.
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    Make sure your child gets plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Vitamins and minerals can help to boost your child’s immune system and keep their body functioning properly. Fiber helps to keep your child’s digestive system running smoothly.
    • Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
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    Include dairy products that give your child calcium. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth. It is an important part of a growing child’s diet. Choose low-fat dairy products to give your child, rather than whole-fat. Some dairy products include:
    • Yogurt and cheese.
    • If you pack milk, make sure it is in a thermos where it will not spoil.
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    Send food that your child likes. While keeping nutrition in mind is important, you should also think about what your child likes to eat. If you struggle to get your child to eat certain veggies at home, it is very unlikely that they will eat that particular veggie at school when you are not there.
    • Send the food that you child loves and will definitely eat without your supervision.

Method 3
Packing the Food

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    Open up packaged foods that your child may have a hard time opening. If you purchase packaged food, make sure that you open it and put it in a separate container. Many packaged foods may be difficult for your child to open.
    • If you give your child a juice carton, make sure that it has a straw.
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    Cut items up into bite-sized pieces. When packing your child’s meal, keep in mind that your child may struggle with large pieces of food. Because of this you should cut larger pieces of food up into child-sized bites.
    • For example, consider cutting your child’s sandwich in half to make the sandwich more manageable.
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    Peel your child’s fruit if necessary. Your child may find if difficult to peel an orange or tangerine. If you pack a food that your child needs to peel or prepare, do the preparation before sending your child to school.
    • For example, if you want to give your child an orange, peel the orange and put it in a container that your child can open easily.
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    Pack small portions. In order to make sure that your child does not waste any food, make sure to pack child-sized portions. After the first couple of times packing your child’s lunch, ask them if they have too little or too much food.
    • Make adjustments and then check back in in a couple of days.
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    Pack cutlery if your child uses it. If your child uses spoons and forks, make sure to pack one in the lunchbox if you pack food that cannot be eaten with your child’s hand.
    • Consider packing plastic forks and spoons that are less likely to matter if they get lost or forgotten at school.

Tips

  • Make sure that the lunchbox you buy is made with safe materials. Some plastics should not be used to store food.
  • Check with your child’s school or daycare to find out if there are some foods you cannot pack for your child. Some children have very serious food allergies, so some schools ask that you don’t pack certain foods for your child.

Article Info

Categories: School Food