Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

daycare lunch ideas?

I posted this on another board but didn't get a ton of answers.   And I know people have posted about this before but I need more ideas.  DD is kind of picky with her table foods.  And of the things she likes, a lot of them "stop her up" and we have to watch that because we have had off and on constipation issues.  So throw your daycare lunch ideas at me :) 

I asked the girl in her room what other parents are sending and she suggested gerber graduates meals, buttered noddles or chicken nuggets.  To me none of those have any nurtitional value.  I can't get her to eat any meats as table foods.  She would eat meats in her purees but now she is kind of turning her nose up at purees.  So should I try chicken nuggets?  Are there some out there that aren't total crap? 

It seems she likes a handful of things: mac and cheese (but only the crappy kraft kind of course), baked beans, peas, corn, green beans (cut up tiny so they look like peas), grilled cheese, cheese.  We're good on cut up fruit and cracker type things.  It's the protein and veggies that I need to get in her diet better.

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Re: daycare lunch ideas?

  • DD is also quite picky.  Lately I've had to force a first bite of ANYTHING that's not chicken into her mouth.  After that first taste she's usually good to eat what I have for her. 

     But, for your problem...What if you cooked up some chicken and gave that to her?  I know my DD loves chicken in any form.  if we go out to eat and they have chicken fingers, we just give it to her without the breading.  Also, what about sweet potatos?

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  • My LO is a great eater, and I really try to give him a variety of foods so he gets used to lots of different tastes. Here are some ideas!


    • Bagels and cream cheese
    • Quesadillas (usually just beans and cheese, can also use pureed squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.)
    • Hummus and pita
    • Egg salad sandwich
    • Pasta with sauce OR veggie puree, like peas
    • Pizza
    • Grilled cheese ? I like to spread broccoli puree on this to get a little green in
    • Turkey meatloaf ? ground turkey, breadcrumbs and lots of veggies
    • Broccoli, potato and cheese mash
    • Chicken and broccoli ? pureed but thick, with teriyaki or soy sauce
    • Chicken squashelsauce ? chicken pureed with squash and applesauce (or whatever)
    • Cottage cheese with blueberries, for breakfast
    • Peanut butter & jelly on bread or english muffin
    • Quinoa - a great protein you can mix with anything! He loves it with bananas in particular



    • Cheese chunks
    • Grapes (cut in half)
    • Blueberries and strawberries
    • Watermelon
    • Sweet potato fries
    • Yogurt with fruit puree mixed in
    • Beans - especially black beans, he'll eat them one by one
    • Lima beans or green beans
    • And of course, cheerios!!
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  • cottage cheese has a lot of protein
  • I do give my DD gerber graduate raviolis and shes loves them. Her fav food in general is chicken.. i feel like she cld have it for brkfst lunch and dinner. but i usually do chicken in the crockpot and then give her that for at least 3 outta 5 days and switch the veggies. She loves lima beans and will eat but the handful as well as green beans and carrots. I also give her a pasta one day out of the wk as well if i make spaghetti or lasagna.

    Chicken nuggets are a good idea. I just started giving DD some. The tyson ones are pretty decent. Have you tried hamburger chopped finely for her to try on her own? that may be something to try.

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  • We like foods like applesauce, the Sargento cheese that cut up in mickey mouse shapes,  oddly enough, he does like mixed vegtables, so we buy the Gerber graduate ravioli that comes with the veggie.  He loves chicken nuggets, so we usually buy the Tyson ones, and he gets a veggie with it.  At school, he loves their ham and cheese too.  


  • we are having the same issues but i stay at home, jack use to LOVE meats and veggies but lately hes getting picky, i have found that he usually will eat more if i make things that he can self feed...there are some foods he wont eat at all if i try to feed them to him but drop some on his tray and he will go to town

    he loves all fruit, so i try to have at least one meal a day with a good amount of "non stoppingup" fruit

    We also have issues with constipation, and at his 1 yr check up i discussed this with the dr and nurse, and they also gave me a hand out of helpful tips or ideas of food. It suggested more fiber, plenty of water, only 4-5oz of juice aday and we do a juice that helps ease constipation pear or prune works the best for us, limiting the amount of dairy and protein they eat each day to 1 to maybe 2 servings besides their normal milk. 

    spaghetti (meat) sauce with whole weat elbow noodles and i added some peas to the mix too...this he was even able to feed all to himself

    graham crackers (good fiber source)

    grapes cut in 1/2 or 1/4



    beans  (good fiber and protein source)


    steamed broccoli, greenbeans

    whole wheat pasta in easy to pick up size or shape 

    or ww pasta mixed with some cut up veggies and parmasean cheese sprinkled on

    when i make casserole type meals for dinner i find he eats these quite well too like:

    chicken pot pie

    broccoli rice chicken casserole

    scrambled eggs ( i just quite stiring them while they are still kinda runny so they come out in more of a solid piece that i can cut into pieces that he can pick up)


  • we usually try to do leftovers cut up into pieces so chicken, pasta, beef stew, lasagne... that kind of thing.

    if we don't have leftovers then we resort to grilled cheese, mac&cheese (organic whole wheat whenever possible) and/or Ian's Natural Foods chicken nuggets.  then we'll steam up either broccoli, green beans or some other veggie. we send cut up fruit and yobaby yogurt (but not yotoddler because they actually have less calcium for some reason).

    whole grains and lots of fresh fruits and veggies should help with the constipation.


  • DD eats chicken nuggets at least once a week - I buy a frozen bag of tyson nuggets - i wouldn't call it a health food, but they are baked w/ the breading not fried.  I wouldn't worry too much day to day what your LO is eating - as long as she's making eating at mealtimes a regular thing.

    I make or buy turkey meatballs or will send leftover spaghetti and meatsauce.  I also make pesto sauce w/ spinach - which DD LOVES.  I also buy frozen cheese ravioli and will toss that with a litlte parm cheese and butter and leftover brocolli; black beans and rice and a little cheddar cheese is always good, scrambled eggs, She likes cut and peeled apples, bananas she eats almost every day on the way home from daycare; I tried slicing carrots instead of giving her baby carrots and she started eating them again.  She likes mac and cheese too - generally home made, but I have made her some kraft a few times too. Enchilada and grilled cheese are good too and fast.

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  • you could also try greek yogurt for protein.  It has 2-3 times the protein of regular yogurt depending on the brand you use.  Chobani has a kids one that is really yummy and smaller (4 oz.) although it is hard to find.  We get it at BJs.  Stonyfield has an organic greek yogurt but I can't find it around me.
  • LO mostly eats the food provided at daycare, so I don't send food too often.  I send fruits and veggies every day because they only serve canned and I prefer fresh and I send whole meals on days that I find the menu to be not so great.  I sent food today because they were eating chicken nuggets and that's one of the daycare meals I prefer LO not eat.  When I send a meal, it's usually just leftovers from dinner the night before.  Today I sent brown rice, cod fillet and mixed veggies.  If I were to send food tomorrow it would be fajita fixings - chicken, green pepper, onion, avocado.

    LO is a picky eater and often refuses at least part of any meal, but I keep offering.  I would skip the overly processed chicken nuggets and send grilled chicken instead.  I do send some foods that I know he will eat - cheese, yogurt, etc

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