Healthy Lunch Ideas For Toddlers Uk


Healthy lunch ideas for toddlers uk. If you are concerned about your children’s meal times or finding healthy, balanced school lunches then here is some great advice that will help you.

Healthy lunch ideas for toddlers uk – this article will help you to choose healthy foods and to make healthy lunch for your child.

Healthy Lunch Ideas For Toddlers Uk

Lunch times with toddlers can feel a little like Groundhog Day – another day of sandwiches that you end up picking up off the floor.

What can you give them that will liven things up a bit, are fast to prepare, and will pack a punch for toddler taste buds and healthy eating?

1. Cauliflower Cheese Bites

Mummy Cooks Cauliflower cheese bites

Most toddlers love cauliflower cheese, but oh boy the mess can be something else. By turning this classic favourite in to a fritter, the problem is solved.  Find the recipe here.

2. Egg Cups

14 Egg Cups

Omelettes are another great lunch solution that doesn’t quite work for toddlers. Instead, cook up their favourite omelettes in a muffin tray as ‘egg cups’ and you’ve got a morsel they can handle.

3. Homemade Fish Fingers

3 Homemade Fish Fingers

We all want to reach for the freezer at times, but homemade toddler-friendly fish goujons are a great alternative. Get your little one in on the act of making them for some brilliant messy play. We love this simple but tasty Chunky Fish Finger recipe.

4. Pizza Pockets

7 Pizza Pockets

Homemade pizzas can be healthy and a huge hit, but with toddlers they can also spell chaos for cleaning up. Make things easier by turning homemade pizza in to ingenious pockets, perfect for little hands.

5. Apple, Cheddar and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 Apple Cheese PB Sandwich

There’s nothing wrong with a sandwich now and then, but if you’re fed up of yours being rejected, try some different fillings. This concoction seems too much for little ones to resist.

6. Toddler-tastic Noodles

6 Noodles

There’s something about noodles and toddlers that make them a perfect pairing. Toddler food guru, Annabel Karmel, has a brilliant toddler-friendly noodle recipe.

7. Hummus and Crudités – Toddler Style

Hummus and crudites

Give toddlers a dollop of hummus and you soon discover garlicky goo in every crease of the high chair, or worse, their hair. Serve it up in a little jar or plastic cup, and your dishcloth will thank us. Bulk it up for the hungry toddler by adding some breadsticks.

8. Egg in the Hole Toast

8 Egg In Hole Copy

Eggs are a fantastic lunch option for growing toddlers. Give them a protein boost by serving up an egg inside their toast. Use whatever biscuit-cutter that will appeal to your child, and give them the offcuts for dipping.

9. Fruity Veggie Muffins

9 Fruity Veggie Muffins Copy

If you have a stubborn veggie refuser on your hands, cook up a batch of these muffins. They won’t realise they are chomping in to courgette and carrot, and even better, they freeze well.

10. Pizza Puff Pinwheels

10 Pinwheels Copy

This might be an ‘adult’ recipe, but puff pinwheels make for an ideal easy lunch. Follow this recipe for cheese, ham and tomato, or make up your own. We find pesto works a treat

11. Chicken rollups

11 Chicken Wraps

Stuff them with whatever you like, but this chicken and avocado wrap ticks all the nutrition boxes. If unwrapping wraps has resulted in tantrums that were yours, not your toddlers, whip up some of this edible glue to keep the wrap firmly closed before it makes it to the hatch.

12. Pasta with Hidden Veg Sauce

12 Pasta Hidden Veg

If your toddler thinks vegetables are akin to poison, then it’s time to get creative. Rustle up this pasta sauce and watch them eat their 5-a-day without the strops.

13. Stuffed Potato Skins

13 Stuffed Potato Skins

Jacket potatoes make such a brilliant lunch, but they aren’t exactly kind on toddler knife and fork skills. Instead, load some skins and you’ve got a solution.

14. Cheese Straws

4 Cheese Straws

Toddlers just love to munch on something on the move. For little bods, too busy to sit still for lunch, load their mitt with some homemade cheese straws.

15. Cheesecake Dip and Fruity Skewers

15 Yoghurt Dip

Who says it all has to be savoury? Round off the end of lunch time with a delicious cheesecake dip with some seasonal fruit. Just watch those sticks, but we know you’ll be desperate to eat up the remnants of this one anyway.

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Baby and toddler meal ideas

If you need some inspiration to help you cook healthy and tasty food for your kids, try these meal ideas.

They are not suitable as first foods, but fine once your baby is used to eating a wide range of solid foods. Read more about your baby’s first solid foods.

When preparing food for babies, do not add sugar or salt (including stock cubes and gravy) directly to the food or to the cooking water.

You can find more meal ideas and recipes on the Start4Life website.

Breakfast ideas for babies and young children

  • unsweetened porridge or lower-sugar cereal mixed with whole milk and topped with fruit, such as mashed ripe pear or banana
  • wholewheat biscuit cereal (choose lower-sugar options) with whole milk and fruit
  • lower-sugar breakfast cereal and unsweetened stewed apple with plain, unsweetened yoghurt
  • toast fingers with mashed banana and smooth peanut butter (if possible, choose unsalted and no added sugar varieties)
  • toast fingers with a hard-boiled egg and slices of tomato, banana or ripe peach
  • toast or muffin fingers with scrambled egg and slices of tomato

Lunch ideas for babies and young children

  • lamb curry with rice
  • cauliflower cheese with cooked pasta pieces
  • baked beans (reduced salt and sugar) with toast
  • scrambled egg with toast, chapatti or pitta bread served with vegetable finger foods
  • cottage cheese (full-fat) dip with pitta bread, cucumber and carrot sticks

Dinner ideas for babies and young children

  • mashed sweet potato with chickpeas and cauliflower
  • shepherd’s pie (made with beef or lamb and/or lentils or vegetarian mince) with green vegetables
  • rice and mashed peas with courgette sticks
  • minced chicken and vegetable casserole with mashed potato
  • mashed canned salmon with couscous and peas
  • fish poached in milk with potato, broccoli and carrot

Finger foods for babies and young children

Finger food is food that’s cut up into pieces big enough for your child to hold in their fist with a bit sticking out. Pieces about the size of your own finger work well.

Examples of finger foods:

  • soft-cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, parsnip and sweet potato
  • carrot or cucumber sticks and avocado
  • fresh fruits, such as apple (soft-cooked if needed), banana or soft, ripe peeled pear or peach
  • toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
  • strips of meat without bones, such as chicken and lamb
  • cheesy (full-fat) toast fingers and cucumber
  • hard boiled eggs
  • omelette fingers

Healthy snacks for young children

Babies under 12 months do not need snacks; if you think your baby is hungry in between meals, offer extra milk feeds instead.

Once your baby is 1 year old, you can introduce 2 healthy snacks in between meals:

  • vegetables such as broccoli florets, carrot sticks or cucumber sticks
  • slices of fruit, such as apple, banana or soft, ripe peeled pear or peach
  • pasteurised, plain, unsweetened full-fat yoghurt
  • toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
  • small strips of cheese

Getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables

It may take up to 10 tries, or even more, for your child to get used to new foods, flavour and textures.

Be patient and keep offering a variety of fruits and vegetables, including ones with bitter flavours such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and cabbage.

Try to make sure fruits and vegetables are included in every meal.

Try these ways to help your child eat more fruit and vegetables:

  • give carrot sticks, cucumber stick or slices of pepper with hummus as a snack
  • give apple slices with smooth peanut butter as a snack
  • mix chopped or mashed vegetables with rice, mashed potatoes, meat sauces or dhal
  • add vegetables to classic savoury dishes such as cottage or shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognese or casseroles
  • chop prunes or dried apricots into cereal or plain, unsweetened yoghurt, or add them to a stew
  • for a tasty dessert, try mixing fruit (fresh, canned or stewed) with plain, unsweetened yoghurt.

Read more about how to help your baby enjoy new foods and fussy eaters.

Drinks for babies and young children

From around 6 months, breast milk and first infant formula should continue to be your baby’s main drink.

Whole cows’ milk can be used in cooking or mixed with food from around 6 months but shouldn’t be given as a drink until they are 12 months old. Whole milk should be given to children until they are 2 years old, as they need the extra energy and vitamins it contains.

Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced once your child is 2 years old, as long as they are a good eater and they have a varied diet.

Skimmed and 1% milk are not suitable for children under 5 years old, as they do not contain enough calories.

Sugary squashes, flavoured milk, “fruit” or “juice” drinks and sugary fizzy drinks can cause tooth decay, even when diluted. These drinks can also fill your child up so they’re not hungry for healthier food. Instead, offer sips of water from a cup with meals.

All lunchbox recipes

Cheesy coleslaw with wholemeal pitta

Creamy hummus dip with pitta bread and vegetable sticks

Egg mayonnaise and lettuce bap

Hummus and salad wrap

Salmon and salad bagel

Soft cheese and salad sandwich

Spicy chicken and salad wrap

Tuna and bean salad

Tuna mayonnaise and sweetcorn sandwich

Lunchbox tips

Keep them fuller for longer

Base the main lunchbox item on foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Choose wholegrain where you can.

Freeze for variety

Keep a small selection of different types of bread in the freezer so you have a variety of options – like bagels, pittas and wraps, granary, wholemeal and multigrain.

DIY lunches

Wraps and pots of fillings can be more exciting for kids when they get to make them. Dipping foods are also fun and a nice change from a sandwich each day.

Cut back on fat

Pick lower-fat fillings – like lean meats (including chicken or turkey), fish (such as tuna or salmon), lower-fat spread, reduced-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat hard cheese. And try to avoid using mayonnaise in sandwiches.

See more healthier swap ideas

Mix your slices

If your child does not like wholegrain, try making a sandwich from 1 slice of white bread and 1 slice of brown bread.

Always add veg

Cherry tomatoes, or sticks of carrot, cucumber, celery and peppers all count towards their 5 A Day. Adding a small pot of reduced-fat hummus or other dips may help with getting kids to eat vegetables.

Ever green

Always add salad to sandwiches and wraps too – it all counts towards your child’s 5 A Day!

Cheesy does it…

Cheese can be high in fat and salt, so choose stronger-tasting ones – and use less of it – or try reduced-fat varieties.

Cut down on crisps

If your child really likes their crisps try reducing the number of times you include them in their lunchbox, and swap for homemade plain popcorn or plain rice cakes instead.

Add bite-sized fruit

Try chopped apple, peeled satsuma segments, strawberries, blueberries, halved grapes or melon slices to make it easier for them to eat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop it from going brown.

Tinned fruit counts too

A small pot of tinned fruit in juice – not syrup – is perfect for a lunchbox and easily stored in the cupboard.

Swap the fruit bars

Dried fruit like raisins, sultanas and dried apricots are not only cheaper than processed fruit bars and snacks but can be healthier too. Just remember to keep dried fruit to mealtimes as it can be bad for teeth.

Switch the sweets

Swap cakes, chocolate, cereal bars and biscuits for malt loaf, fruited teacakes, fruit breads or fruit (fresh, dried or tinned – in juice not syrup).

Yoghurts: go low-fat and lower-sugar

Pop in low-fat and lower-sugar yoghurts or fromage frais and add your own fruit.

Get them involved

Get your kids involved in preparing and choosing what goes in their lunchbox. They are more likely to eat it if they helped make it.

Variety is the spice of lunch!

Be adventurous and get creative to mix up what goes in their lunchbox. Keeping them guessing with healthier ideas will keep them interested and more open to trying things.

Plan to Eatwell

The guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. It can be really useful when thinking about what goes into kids’ lunchboxes.

The Eatwell Guide

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