Simple healthy lunch ideas for busy mums

simple healthy lunch ideas feature image

This article ‘Simple healthy lunch ideas for busy mums’  is a collaboration between Baby Bento and Little Peeps Eats.

I can’t believe how long I’d been neglecting my own health and nutrition.  Especially when I place so much importance on ensuring my kids eat a healthy, balanced diet.  Particularly at lunchtime!  Why is it that I will stand there for 10 minutes to prepare a variety of healthy lunch foods for my kids, and then make a quick piece of toast for myself?  It makes no sense.  It’s almost embarrassing, but I’m all about being honest and I figure if I do this, chances are there are some other mummas that are in some bad habits also.

This year I’ve focussed a lot on self care, making sure that I’m not just looking after everyone else in the family – but myself as well.  Starting with lunches!

I work part time – so you’ll see some of the simple healthy lunch ideas below are suited to mums at home, and others suited to working mums also.Continue Reading →

Simple Oatmeal Cookies – perfect for lunchboxes and dipping into a cuppa!

Making your own lunchbox snacks needn’t be fancy or time consuming.  A quick batch of simple oatmeal cookies will really only set you back 5 minutes of hands on time and often no more than 10-15 minutes in the oven.

I love this recipe as it is ridiculously versatile and can use up random bits and bobs leftover in the pantry such as seeds, dates, tanies (sultanas) or some exotic berry you tried for a dessert that no one ate. It also has the added bonus of a substantial amount of rolled oats which are a good source of fibre.  

There are a variety of benefits to sending homemade cookies in your kids lunchbox rather than store bought:

  • You know what ingredients are in it.
  • You are providing a healthier option, with less sugar than most store bought varieties.
  • No pre-packaging – mother nature will thank you!

Did I mention these simple oatmeal cookies are a fabulous option for the mammas also?  They go down an absolute treat with a cup of tea or coffee.  My only issue is that it is hard to stop at one!

This recipe makes approximately 16 bickies.

Simple Oatmeal Cookies – perfect for lunchboxes and dipping into a cuppa!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup of flour (any type, I have used spelt/wholemeal/plain white)
  • 1/2 tsp of bi-carb
  • 1/4 cup of sugar/honey or the like
  • 125g of butter or oil
  • 1/4 cup of nuts/seeds/sultanas/random ingredient

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl.
  3. Melt the butter (and honey if using honey) and mix it into the dry ingredients.
  4. With the add ins like nuts, sprinkle them over the mixture and bring it together with your hands.
  5. Make little golf sized balls and flatten them on the tray.
  6. Pop the tray into the oven and reduce the temperature to 160 degrees Celsius. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops start to golden.
  7. Remove the tray and let it rest until cool and the bickies firm up.
  8. You can also freeze the dough to cook another day too. Just add a little more time to your cook.

Looking for some more lunchbox inspiration?  Take a look at our ideas to bring your healthy lunchbox to the next level!

Mandy - Little People NutritionMandy is the Founder of Little People Nutrition as well as being a mum to 3 little peeps of her own.  As a university qualified nutritionist and food scientist she is passionate about children developing a positive relationship with food. Mandy has written a book called ‘At My Family Table‘ to start a conversation between parents/carers and children about food, family and the world. She believes that a great way to build a positive relationship with food is to share a meal together.  Food is nutrition and health, but so much more!

Ultimate list of super easy toddler snack ideas

ezpz happy mat blue toddler snack ideas

It can be easy to draw a blank when it comes to toddler snack ideas.  Sometimes I look at fancy creations online and wonder how some of these amazing mammas have the time or energy to create such fun masterpieces!  Hats of to those that do – but in my house… it’s got to be simple.

Two kids down now and I have compiled both of my boys favourite snacks that are simple to make, and have some nutritional value.

But before we get to my list of toddler snack ideas – let’s talk about food presentation.

How to serve toddler snacks

You see – it’s all well and good to plonk foods onto a plate – but keep in mind that like us, toddlers eat with their eyes. If you don’t have the time or energy to create an Instagram worthy food art sensation – you can simply purchase a fun plate to serve them up on.

We particularly love the ezpz range of Happy Mats!

EZPZ Banner Image

Here’s what we love about them:

  • They have three different compartments – great for picky eaters who don’t like foods to touch
  • The smiley face design helps to put kids in the right mood for a positive mealtime experience
  • You can load them with food and stack 3-4 mats at the time and carry them to the table
  • It suctions to the table (or highchair!) so no more tipped plates on the floor
  • Made from high quality silicone that is BPA, PVC and phthalate free
  • You can throw it in the dishwasher #winning!
  • Alternatively its super easy to clean arm soapy water (silicone doesn’t support the growth of fungus, mould or bacteria)
  • Microwave AND oven safe
  • Built to last (silicone doesn’t fade, corrode or deteriorate)
  • They look awesomely fun!

And the best bit is they are currently on sale!  10% off when you spend $50 and over, 15% off when you spend $100 and over, and 20% off when you spend $150 and over.  Winning!!!

HAPPY MAT CARE BEARS PURPLE TODDLER SNACK IDEAS

I’m totally crushing on the Care Bears range they’ve got also! 😍  Where was this when I was a toddler?!

But what about all that mess?

I remember some days changing my toddlers clothes three times per day due to all the mess on his clothes.  I don’t mind if there are vegemite smears or crumbs to shake off – but when we are talking things like squished scrambled eggs, porridge or banana, usually a full outfit changes will be required!

There are ton of long sleeve bibs on the market but to be honest I found most of them to be too short and my sons pants would end up a complete mess.

Silly Billyz Messy Eater Bib in Red and blue

Thankfully the Silly Billyz Messy Eater Bib for toddlers has an extra-long and wide front. The super long durable bib will cover your little peep’s front as well as the knees while they’re seated to eat.

They also have these cool little side press studs which clip together to create a food catching pocket so less mess at mealtimes! Perfect for painting and gooey games too!

Now we’ve got the basics covered…. let’s get onto the list of toddler snack ideas!

Ultimate list of simple toddler snack ideas

For ease of scrolling… I’ve grouped these into categories for you.  If you’ve got a fabulous snack idea that you think I should add – please let me know!

Fruit & Vegetables

Chopped carrot and cucumber vegetable sicks on a plate

Fruit and vegetables can be served with any meal of the day.  Many parents stress about their children not eating vegetables at dinner time – if you introduce them at snack time also, you’ll be a step ahead in them getting their daily dose!

Younger toddlers may find it easiest eating certain fruits with their peel still on.  For example given avocado is quite slippery, it will be easiest to serve a wedge with the skin in tact for them to eat the flesh from.

  • Apples, thinly sliced if needed
  • Avocado (either served in wedges or on toast / sandwich / crackers)
  • Bananas
  • Berries (blueberries are packed full of antioxidants!)
  • Edamame – toddlers love to learn how to pop out the centres!
  • Dried cranberries
  • Carrot sticks (lightly steamed for younger toddlers)
  • Capsicum strips
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Mandarins or oranges, cut if needed
  • Grapes, sliced in half vertically
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Pears
  • Peas – my boys loved eating them frozen, great for fine motor skills!
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Sultanas
  • Tomato wedges
  • Watermelon

Protein rich snacks

Egg Molds are fun food ideas for kids lunchboxes

It’s important to ensure that your kids eat protein rich foods every day.  The reason for this is that builds and repairs all the tissues in the human body, including muscles and organs. So super important for growing bodies!

  • Boiled eggs
  • Chia pudding
  • Nut butter – served on toast, sandwich, or even in a celery stick with some sultanas on top!
  • Green eggs and ham
  • French toast – simply whilst an egg, dip in your bread, and pan fry in a little butter
  • Hummus makes a great veggie dipper
  • Kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • Cheese  – I find the supermarket cheese sticks to be easy to hold and a nice soft consistency
  • Tuna on crackers
  • Roasted chickpeas – 3/4 cup chickpeas roasted for 20 to 30 minutes with 1 tablespoon each olive oil, and a tiny sprinkle of salt
  • Toddler Trail mix – sultanas, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • Meatballs

Baked Items

Cheesy vegetable muffins

We just love baking at home!  The boys love it too.  I get them in the kitchen, they grab their kids knives and they get involved in the process from the start…. right up until it’s time to lick the spoon!

Muffins are a favourite in our house when it comes to baked items!  We generally always make them as mini muffins which are great for little hands as well as portion control.

Dairy

Girl eating yoghurt - kids toddler snack ideas

  • Cheese sticks  – I find the supermarket cheese sticks to be easy to hold and a nice soft consistency
  • Cottage cheese or cream cheese – spread on toast or on a sandwich
  • Healthy Milkshake
  • Smoothies – add a dollop of yoghurt for extra creaminess
  • Yoghurt – opt for Greek for more protein.  Some of our favourite flavours to add:
    • Banana and strawberry
    • Apple & Cinnamon (stew your apple first or buy some pureed)
    • Honey & Vanilla extract
    • Mango

Looking for a toddler approved dinner idea that is jam packed full of goodness?  Check out our Super Power Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Rachel Cassidy - Owner - Little Peeps EatsRachel Cassidy is the author of this article and the founder of Little Peeps Eats.  She is a passionate food blogger and brand ambassador, but her most important job is being a mum!  Little Peeps Eats helps families take the stress out of mealtimes by providing healthy, kid approved recipes, as well as fussy eating tips and tricks. Their website hosts a directory of nutritionists, resources and mealtime products to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.

Mexican inspired shakshuka eggs with beans – Your go to nutritious quick dinner!

Shakshuka eggs

We know eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients but sometimes they need to be jazzed up a little for the kids, and this Mexican-inspired shakshuka eggs with beans really hits the spot during the cooler months!

Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs baked in a tomato-based sauce, usually spiced with cumin. The shakshuka eggs with beans expands on the cumin to create a unique Mexican flavour that most kids will already be familiar with if they’re big fans of nachos and tacos!Continue Reading →

Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese – the ultimate winter belly warmer!

slow cooker lentil bolognese

Full disclosure – this article ‘Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese’ may contain affiliate links.

This Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese recipe is ridiculously versatile. By changing the herb and spice profile it could be a pasta sauce, a taco filler or even a nachos or baked potato topper.

The kids will love it in their thermos with pasta for lunch during the cooler months too.  Just remember to heat the thermos before filling it with hot food.  This way the food will stay hotter for longer.  Another option is to use a lunchbox with a built in thermos, such as the OmieBox.Continue Reading →

Kids bento lunch box ideas with a Japanese twist!

Kids bento lunch box ideas sushi

This article ‘Kids bento lunch box ideas with a Japanese twist’ is a collaboration between Little Peeps Eats and Baby Bento.

Bento boxes are fast becoming the most popular way to pack school lunches.  They are a fabulous way of providing a variety of foods in that look fun and interesting.  By making food more appealing, we can greatly increase the chances of kids trying new foods, and increasing their fruit and veggie intake.Continue Reading →

Homemade Easter Eggs with Coconut Caramel Filling

Homemade Easter Eggs

At Easter time, there are easter eggs and chocolate just about everywhere you look!  As a parent with young children, this used to cause me a bit of grief. How much sugar is in them?  What other nasty ingredients are lurking?  How can I keep them from a sugar binge and subsequent meltdown? Learning to make my own chocolate Easter eggs solved my problems and these homemade Easter eggs filled with a delicious coconut caramel are no egg-caption.

Continue Reading →

Homemade Cacao Nib Muesli Bars – A tasty lunchbox snack!

homemade cacao nib muesli bars

This article Cacao Nib Muesli Bars – A tasty lunchbox snack is a collaboration between Little Peeps Eat and Adventure Snacks.

Confession time. Sometimes the thought of cooking from scratch, wondering if I have all the ingredients, etc just hurts my tired mumma head. I just want someone to tell me YES!  This is healthy. YES! You have all the ingredients. YES! It’s lunchbox friendly.  That’s where these Homemade Cacao Nib Muesli Bars come in….Continue Reading →

Cheesy Vegetable Muffins – Kid approved and full of goodness

Cheesy vegetable muffins

I’m always on the hunt for ways to get extra veggies into the boys.  Whilst I always serve up vegetables at dinnertime, I don’t think they eat quite enough to meet the daily nutritional requirement.  For this reason, I’ve been getting creative with how I can incorporate veggies into other meals of the day, and most recently these Cheesy Vegetable Muffins have been a favourite lunch option.Continue Reading →

Mini Wholemeal Pizzas – a tasty lunchbox treat or dinner for the kids!

Mini Wholemeal Pizzas on a tray

Disclosure: This post on Mini Wholemeal Pizzas may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.

Julian and Orlando both love pizza, we often make up a batch for dinner and freeze the rest to pack in lunchboxes!  This recipe for Mini Wholemeal Pizzas is so easy and a great recipe to get the kids in the kitchen helping to make.  We love our Foost Knife or getting the boys involved in the preparation of these!

Feel free to be creative with your toppings!  Other great toppings include capsicum, mushrooms, olives, spinach, feta, sausage.Continue Reading →