Recently I shared how I’ve made packing my young toddler’s lunches a stress-free experience. As promised, here’s my follow-up post sharing a few of my go-to recipes that often end up in both my son’s lunches as well as my own.
1. Two ingredient (sometimes three) pancakes.
Honestly calling this a recipe is a stretch. I take an egg and a medium banana, blitz them together in my mini smoothie blender, and then use the batter to make mini pancakes. Depending on the size of the banana, you can use two eggs instead of one. The pancakes taste sweet without being sugary and they’re the perfect size and texture for my son to eat on his own. I usually throw in a handful of spinach to the mixture which you can’t taste at all. These pancakes freeze well once they’ve been cooled down. I often make a triple batch on Saturday and then use some during the week and freeze some for later.
2. Kitchen sink egg muffins
I am always scheming for ways to use up leftovers. Frittatas are the perfect way to repurpose leftovers into something delicious and an egg muffin is really just a mini frittata sized for little hands.
I start by chopping up whatever veggies and meat I have in the fridge into bite-sized pieces. A cup is probably enough. I use pre-cooked ingredients as the mini-muffins don’t cook for that long in the oven. I often do “Italian” muffins with crumbled Italian sausage, chopped up broccoli, and black olives. Meat isn’t necessary though because the eggs already provide a big punch of protein.
Then I beat 4-5 eggs in a medium bowl until they’re well combined. I spray my mini-muffin tin with a light coat of oil and and fill each muffin cup about halfway. Then I take little pinches of the chopped up ingredients and add them into the egg mixture, poking them down so they’re incorporated into the egg. Once that’s done, I pop the tin into an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees and let them cook for about 15 minutes.
3. Spinach, or Popeye, muffins
I love meatballs. They’re delicious and lend themselves well to batch baking and freezing for future lunches and dinners. Without sauce, they’re a perfect toddler lunch food as they’re easy to hold onto and aren’t too messy. Any meatball recipe works well, but I prefer to use a recipe without any breadcrumbs. This recipe from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy is a good base recipe that you can easily riff on by using different spices.
5. Steamed or roasted veggies
Fresh veggies can be tricky for toddlers as so many are crunchy and hard. One of my super quick tricks is to steam/boil baby carrots until they’re par-cooked (to be honest, I usually throw a handful of carrots in a mug with some water and then throw that in the microwave). Still firm enough to hold in your hand, but enough give that you can give them a little squeeze. Once cooled, they’re great as part of a lunch or snack.
Roasting veggies is another way to break them down so they’re soft enough for a few toddler teeth to handle. Roasting gives the veggies a delicious sort of caramelized flavor that both adults and little ones enjoy. This is another lunch option where a recipe really isn’t needed. Just in case you feel more comfortable with one, here is a delish option for both carrot and sweet potato “fries.” Again it’s a good base recipe that you can riff off of.