Lunch Ideas For Toddler In Quarantine: 12 Easy Light Lunch Recipes




Light meals are ideal for you and your baby at lunchtime or even at supper, and this post has lots of light lunches ideas for meals that won’t leave you feeling too full. If you are running out of ideas for toddler lunches, this easy to read article is just for you. Best part of it is that the following 12 lunch ideas for toddler are perfect when you are practicing Baby Led Weaning.

1. Cheese and Lentil Wedges

These tasty wedges are great for picnics or as a snack. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby, generously

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed thoroughly in cold water and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • Oil or butter (preferably unsalted) for frying
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup (3 to 4 ounces) grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the lentils into a pan with the water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and all the liquid is absorbed. Check occasionally and skim off any froth. Meanwhile, heat the oil or butter in a frying pan, add the onion, and fry until soft.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan. Drain the lentils and the onion and put them into a mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Press into prepared pan using the back of a spoon.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into wedges. Serve warm or cold.

2. Bubble and Squeak

This traditional British dish is great for babies once they are able to pick up handfuls of food and push it into their mouth. It’s also great way to use up leftover vegetables. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • 1 pound potatoes, cooked and mashed-leftovers work best
  • 8 ounces cooked cabbage, chopped
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon dried mixed herbs, or fresh equivalent (optional)
  • Oil or butter (preferably unsalted) for frying
  • Put the mashed potato, cabbage, pepper and herbs into a bowl and mix well.

Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan, add the potato mixture to cover the base of the pan and flatten it so it’s about ½ to ¾ inch deep. Cook until the mixture is Browned on the bottom, then turn it over and cook the other side, so it’s browned on both sides and the middle is heated through. If you have a small pan you will need to cook the mixture in batches, adding a little more oil to the pan and preheating it each time. Alternatively, you can make individual patties of bubble and squeak by cooking small amounts separately.

Serve warm on its own, or it goes very well with baked beans, or as a side dish with cold chicken or turkey.

Options

  • Although eggs don’t appear in traditional bubble and squeak recipes, adding a beaten egg to the mixture will help bind it together and make it easier for your baby to hold.
  • Adding half an onion or 2 scallions, finely chopped, then softened by frying gently in a little oil, will give some extra flavor.
  • You can swap the cabbage for any pre-cooked, chopped, or mashed vegetable (or combination of vegetables), for example: Brussels sprouts, kale, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, celery, butternut squash, or zucchini.

3. Chickpea Patties

Chickpeas are very nutritious, and these patties, which are similar in flavor to falafel, are easy for a baby to hold and soft to eat. Making them with the blender or food processor is quickest, although you can also use a potato masher and wooden spoon. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas (or approx. ½ cup dried chickpeas)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed (unless you are using a blender)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon (approx. 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Approx. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Oil for frying

Rinse the chickpeas and drain them thoroughly. Combine them with the garlic, ground spices, onion, and lemon juice in a large bowl and mash them thoroughly with a potato masher (or use a blender or food processor). Add the flour, parsley, and black pepper and mix well.

Squeeze handfuls of the mixture into  about 12 small patties (flouring or wetting your hands first will help to keep it from sticking). Put them in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until it is very hot, then add the patties and fry for a few minutes on each side until crisp.

Chickpea patties are best served warm, inside warmed pita pockets, or with strips of pita bread with hummus.

Option

  • If you want spicier patties, you can add a pinch of chili powder or some finely chopped chili pepper to the mixture.

4. Easy Dahl

This Indian dish is a mild introduction to spicy food and has plenty of healthy nutrients. It makes a good dip but it can also be eaten with a spoon or picked up in handfuls. If your baby is just starting out, offer her some ready-loaded dippers. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • Oil or butter (preferably unsalted) for frying
  • 1 or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon mild chili powder or chili flakes, to taste
  • ½ to ¾ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated (optional)
  • 1 cup yellow or red lentils, rinsed thoroughly in cold water and drained
  • 1 cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Approx. 3 ⅓ cups of water
  • Juice of ½ lemon (approx. 2 tablespoons) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan, add the onion, and fry until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or two, then stir in the powdered spices and the ginger (if using). Add the lentils and cinnamon (if using), with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally until the lentils are soft but not mushy.

Remove the cinnamon stick (if using), add the lemon juice and stir well. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve warm with other curries, Yogurt and Cucumber Dip (see page 68) and rice, naan bread, or chapatis (see page 161). Alternatively, use as a dip with strips of pita or chapati or sticks of vegetables.

Option

You can also make dahl with yellow split peas, although these take longer to cook.

5. Tuna Croquettes

These little croquettes are delicious and really easy for babies to handle; they can also be made with salmon. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby, generously

  • 2 large potatoes
  • One 5-ounce can low-sodium tuna (in oil or spring water)
  • Juice of 1 lime (approx. 1 tablespoon), or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
  • ½ cup to 1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably dry or toasted)

Storage: Cooked tuna croquettes keep for a couple of days in the fridge or they can be frozen. They can be reheated in a microwave or in the oven.

Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces and steam or boil them. Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a large baking sheet. Darin the tuna and break it up. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and wash them and add the tuna. Add the lime juice and mix well. Stir in the butter.

Shape the mixture into small sausages (flouring or wetting your hands will help to keep it from sticking), then roll each one in the breadcrumbs and put on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

Serve warm, with vegetables, such as green beans and corn

6. Pesto Pita Pockets

This simple recipe is just right for babies who can deal with chewier textures.

Pita bread pockets

  • 1 teaspoon pesto sauce (low-sodium or homemade) per pocket
  • 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup grated cheese per pocket

BLW Made Easy Tip: Toasting the pita pockets lightly in a toaster first can make them easier to open.

Preheat the boiler. Open up the pita pockets and spread the pesto on the inside surfaces. Scatter the cheese on the top of the pesto. Close the pockets and broil or microwave them for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Cut into fingers (for your baby) while still hot and serve warm.

7. Pizza Toast

This is a cross between cheese on toast and a pizza; cut into fingers it’s very easy for even beginner BLW babies to eat. The topping is great for wraps, too.

  • 1 slice of bread (or more) per person
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (low-sodium) per toast
  • ¼ cup grated cheese, per toast
  • Sprinkling of dried oregano (or mixed herbs) per toast

Preheat the boiler. Toast (or broil) the bread on one side only. With the untoasted side up, spread the tomato paste on the bread and scatter the cheese and oregano evenly on top. Cook under the broiler until the cheese has melted.

Cut into fingers or triangles (for your baby) while still hot and serve warm.

Options

  • Add your favorite toppings–chopped ham, mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, etc. –just as you would with a traditional pizza.
  • You can use a split English muffin instead of toast. For a crispy base, bake the muffin pizzas in the oven at 325°F for 10 to 15 minutes, rather than broiling.

8. Sardines on Toast

This is a simple, healthy lunch, made with plain canned sardines in oil (rather than the ones that come in a tomato or mustard sauce, which are usually quite salty). This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • One 4-ounce can sardines (in olive oil)
  • 6 to 8 ripe cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (to taste)
  • Bread for toasting (preferably rye or whole-grain)
  • Juice of ½ lemon (approx. 2 tablespoons)(optional)

Preheat the boiler. Drain the sardines and mash them (including the soft bones) with a fork. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Add the basil and stir well.

Put the bread under the boiler and toast it on one side only. Spread the sardine mixture on the untoasted side, then put it back under the boiler until warmed through.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice, if you like. Cut into fingers or triangles while still hot and serve warm with salad or Spicy Tomato Salsa.

9. Arancini

Arancini are a delicious, easy finger food made from fresh or leftover risotto. They are traditionally filled with ham or mozzarella cheese. True arancini are little balls, but you can make unfilled ones stick-shaped if you prefer. To save leftover risotto so you can make arancini the next day, spread it in a shallow dish immediately after cooking so it cools as quickly as possible. When it’s completely cool, transfer the risotto to an airtight container and put it in the fridge.

If you are making risotto just so you can make arancini, it’s probably best to keep the recipe fairly simple–maybe just onion, garlic, and parmesan cheese, together with the rice. Allow the cooked risotto to cool before you start to handle it.

Arancini sticks (and balls cut in half) make great dippers. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • A little flour for coating
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, preferably stale or dried
  • 2 cups cooked risotto, with any large chunks of other ingredients (such as chicken or carrots) removed
  • Some small pieces of mozzarella or ham (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oil for frying

Put the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. With wet hands, take about 1 tablespoon of risotto in the palm of your hand. Squash and mold it into a ball about the size of a golf ball, an oval or a short stick shape.

If you are filling the arancini, mold a ball and then make a hola in it with your finger. Gently push in a small piece of mozzarella and/or a small piece of ham, then press around the filling to cover it completely with the rice.

Dip each shape in flour, then into the beaten egg, and then into the breadcrumbs, so that it is coated thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and when hot, add the arancini and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they’re golden as crisp.

Serve warm. If you have filled the arancini with mozzarella, cut the ball in half before offering them to your baby and check that the cheese is not too hot.

10. Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

Onigiri are very popular in Japan and are often put into lunchboxes or taken on picnics. They can be made plain or with a filling, such as grilled salmon, and wrapped in a strip of nori (edible seaweed) to add a different flavor and texture. Traditionally round or triangular, they can be made into any shape or size to suit your baby.

Sushi rice is the best rice for making onigiri, but you can use sticky rice or risotto rice instead. You can buy nori in any Japanese or Chinese market and in many major supermarkets. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • ¾ cup Japanese sushi rice
  • Filling of your choice, in small pieces (e.g. salmon, avocado, canned tuna)
  • 1 to 2 sheets of nori, cut into strips (optional)
  • Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package and allow to cool slightly.

With wet hands, take 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm rice and press into your cupped hand )or small bowl), making a dent in the middle. Put in your chosen filling and mold the rice around it, pressing firmly and ensuring that the filling is completely covered.

Make the onigiri into a ball, sausage shape or triangle, to suit your baby, applying enough force, and adding a little warm water if needed, to stick the grains together firmly (or will crumble). If you want, you can then wrap the onigiri with a strip of nori.

Serve warm or cold, on their own or with a dip.

Option

  • Adults may like their onigiri filled with pickled plum, which is very salty and so not suitable for babies and young children.

11. Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are an excellent standby for lunch. They are best cooked slowly, in the oven, but they can also be cooked in about 10 minutes in a microwave.

  • 1 large baking potato per person (the person with the biggest one gets to share with the baby)
  • 1 small pat of butter (preferably unsalted) per potato (optional)
  • Topping of your choice (see below)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Choose potatoes of roughly similar size, scrub them thoroughly, dry them, and prick them all over with a fork. Put them in the oven (they don’t need a baking sheet) and bake for about 1 hour, depending on their size (when done, they should feel soft when squeezed).

Baked potatoes are best served warm, with a pat of butter or a topping, and a side salad. Cut the potato into the wedges for your baby, or split it wide open and let him help himself to soft handfuls of potato and topping. Alternatively, scoop out the inside of the potato, mix with the topping, then pile it all back into the skin.

BLW Made Easy Tip: Pushing a metal skewer through each potato (and leaving them in the oven will reduce the cooking time.

Options

  • Brushing the potatoes with oil before putting them in the oven makes the skins shiny and less dry.
  • Sweet potatoes can also be baked (for slightly less time), but they tend to drip, so put them on a baking sheet.
  • Ideas for toppings: grated cheese or cream cheese; baked beans; tuna with corn; mackerel with tomatoes; chili; Bolognese Sauce; cooked beets with feta cheese.

12. Healthy Chicken Nuggets

These are a lovely alternative to store-bought chicken nuggets– much healthier! They can be served with vegetables, as a main meal, or as a starter or snack. They’re great for dipping too– try them with Homemade Tomato Ketchup. This recipe serves 2 adults and 1 baby

  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts (or thigh-meat fillets)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Oil or butter (preferably unsalted) for frying

Cut the chicken into finger shapes, triangles, or squares (you can vary the shapes as long as they are all more or less the same thickness)

Beat the egg in a shallow dish and, in another one, mix together the breadcrumbs, herbs(if using), and black pepper.

Dip each chicken shape into the beaten egg so it is covered on all sides, then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture so that it is evenly coated.

Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan. Fry the chicken nuggets for 8 to 12 minutes, turning them as necessary, so that the breadcrumb coating is crisp on all sides and the chicken is thoroughly cooked (cut one nugget in half to check). Serve warm.

Option

  • To give your nuggets a tasty cheese-flavored coating, use 1 ½ ounces of breadcrumbs and stir in 1 ounce of finely grated parmesan cheese in place of the herbs.

 

Don’t forget to share with us how your little one liked these fun and delicious recipes!

Leave a Reply

Related Post

error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)