23 answers

Lunch Ideas for a 15 Month Old

hello ladies,
my daughter is 15 months and she is a great eater!! I'm running out of lunch ideas to make for her. i'm trying to make healthier foods for her, she loves her mac and chez, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets. I just feel like its not really good for her.. any suggestions???

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i just wanted to thank you all. You are all AMAZING!!! whenever i have a problem or a question , i get soo many responses!!! Its sooo nice to know i can count on you all!!! you have helped me sooo much and I really appreciate all the GREAT advice!!

Featured Answers

I know others have mentioned this, but Dr. Praeger's Spinach pancakes are my daughter's favorite. I have to hide it until she has eaten some cheese or fruit first. She loves them! They are at most grocery stores, often in the organic or Kosher sections. I buy them at Wegman's or Shoprite.

1 mom found this helpful

My son loves the Gerber Pasta Pickups, also lately I've been going to BJs and getting a cooked rotisserie chicken to keep in the fridge. I just shred off the meat with a fork and give it to him cold with some baby carrots. You could always try a cold cut sandwhich cut into small pieces.

More Answers

Here are a few ideas:

-almond butter and jam (all fruit, no sugar added) sandwiches, or almond butter with banana

-chicken tenders- but make your own! The recipe on the back of the Bisquick box is easy, healthy, and YUMMY!

-tons of fruit (blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, any melon, the works)

-cheese quesadillas using corn tortillas (so fast and easy!)

-refried beans with shredded cheese melted on top

-sweet potato wedges (shake in a bag with a little oil and salt, and then bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes on each side)- these can be reheated the next day

-Try frozen peas and carrots- if she likes them heated, great! If not, try running them under warm water for a few seconds. My son likes them like that- weird, but healthy... :)

Hope something here works for your little girl!

1 mom found this helpful

I know others have mentioned this, but Dr. Praeger's Spinach pancakes are my daughter's favorite. I have to hide it until she has eaten some cheese or fruit first. She loves them! They are at most grocery stores, often in the organic or Kosher sections. I buy them at Wegman's or Shoprite.

1 mom found this helpful

hi J., i have a 12 month old and i like to give him avocado slices along with grilled chicken and cheese... also, a good and healthy idea for lunch is chicken noodle soup with a piece of wheat bread/crackers. i like to alot of fresh fruit and vegetables for lunch and dinner as long as I can continue to cook them! good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My son loves the Gerber Pasta Pickups, also lately I've been going to BJs and getting a cooked rotisserie chicken to keep in the fridge. I just shred off the meat with a fork and give it to him cold with some baby carrots. You could always try a cold cut sandwhich cut into small pieces.

During the summer, we are members of an organic vegetable co-op, and once a week we go to the farm to pick up our produce. I take my toddler along with me, and she LOVES to help me put the produce in the bag. When we get home, we sort it, talk about it, feel it, smell it, etc, and I have found that she is really excited to taste everything since she has been so involved in the whole process. I also try to structure at least one meal per day where she can participate in "cooking", and that makes her very interested in eating whatever it is. For example, I give her a little cheese spreader knife (the rounded dull kind) and put hummus, butter, jelly, almond butter, or whatever into a little cup, and let her spread it onto whole grain bread or crackers or fruit. When she was your daughter's age, I had to help her, but it didn't take long for her to become independent. Alternately, you could set up healthy foods for dipping, like fruit slices into yogurt.

I try to look at the whole day's worth of food in terms of balance, not each individual meal. if my daughter only eats a grain or a protein for one meal, I don't worry about it as long as she makes up the difference in another meal.

Some specific lunches that we do: Annies Naturals macaroni and cheese with frozen mixed vegetables mixed in (the mac and cheese comes in a microwaveable form so it is a quick, easy, and balanced lunch); yogurt with fruit; cheese and fresh veggies with dip and whole grain crackers; Morningstar Farms veggie bites (in the freezer aisle); flour or veggie tortillas/wraps, filled with low-fat refried beans, cheese, diced tomatoes, and microwaved until warm; chicken salad sandwich cut into fun shapes with a cookie cutter.

They are perfectly healthy choices as long as they are not overly portioned. You just need to add fruit & veggies to the mix.

Hi J.,

I needed help with this one myself my son 15 months old. But I do worry about the salt in foods. Also, just be carefull with peanut butter. My doctor told me to hold off on that one for now, we don't know if he is alergic to any nuts yet. :)

My daughter eats whatever I do. Sometimes it's cold cereal, sometimes it's a tuna fish sandwhich. Sometimes it's just left over rice and veg from the night before. She tends to work her way around the food pyramid over a day or two, so I don't stress if she doesn't eat her bread AND her grapes AND her protein. I just know if she eats nothing but a pile of grated cheese for lunch, then she'll probably eat nothing but a pile of rice for dinner.

I know how you feel - it is hard to figure out how to feed them during this age. Other ideas that have worked for me are turkey meatballs, hamburgers, cream cheese & jelly sandwich, rolled up salami & cheese.

My pediatrician told me that I should manage the salt intake and make sure that they get enough fruits and veggies but other than that, everything is helpful to them at this age when they are growing so quickly. So high fat foods are great. Have you found the purdue baked whole-wheat chicken nuggets? I like those and feel (maybe wrongly so) that they are pretty good for them.

Hope that helps!

My daughter is also 15 months old. We try to eat healthy, too. There is a farmers market near me and I try get different vegetables and fruit. For lunch, I send a balance of separate items. For meat: she gets chicken, ham, or turkey. She also likes duck, chicken sausage, ground meat (turkey, pork, beef), pork, steak, and fish. I vary the type of cheese she gets, like mozarella, cheddar, or colby jack. For bread, I do pitas, tortillas, raisin bread, multi grain bread or pasta. For fruit, she gets pretty much anything - mango, pear, peach, apple, grapes, blueberry, strawberry, watermelon. For veggie, I send cooked carrots, green beans, edamame, brocolli, squash, tomoatoes (or is that a fruit),or snap peas. She even likes pickles and olives! For dinner, I do the mixed meals. She loves stir fry, a less spicy jambalaya, quesadillas, pasta with cheese and ground meat, noodle dishes, etc She doesn't like spinach or avocados right now. I think she might be allergic to shrimp.

My 16 month old eats what we usually do for dinner. As for lunch, he will eat a grilled cheese, yougurt, chicken tenders, homemade mac and cheese ( i make a big pot and freeze in small nicky size containers), depending on the day sometimes he will have oatmeal. Turkey slices. We always have a fruit, he has most of his teeth so we do alot of fresh fruit, he loves biting into a necterine, peach, or apple so we do fruit with every meal. As for veggies.. he loves a piece of corn on the cob, frozen peas just blanched under running warm water. cooked carrots, or sweet potatoe. with the veggies, usually what he eats the night before for with dinner he will have for lunch the next day. We are blessed that he is a good eater, although he does have his moments and days.
Its hard working full time, so I try and make sure everything is ready for our sitter when its time for her to feed him. Homemade meatballs or turkey meatballs are always good to have in the fridge where they can heat those up as well.

Good luck ..

I have 15 month old twin boys and they eat everything. Chicket nuggets, pasta (anyway I make it). with sauce, with butter, with veggies, pastina, hot dogs, I've even taken a hamburger and cooked in the tomato sauce til it's very well done and tender, they love it. They also love pizza. and whatever I have left over from dinner the night before, I heat up for them, be it mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, all of it. also, I cut up an apple or banana and they just love it.

my son is 15 months old and eats everything we do! homemade chicken soup, lots of veggies, chicken, pork, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, fish, everything!!

My son is 12 months and I still do a carb, protein, veggie and fruit with most lunches...

I buy a rotiserie chicken (or roast a chicken when I have a chance for a healthier version) and use it to make several meals in the week...easy quesadilla with cheese, mix with tomato sauce and pasta, add to grilled cheese sandwich for protein, shred into bite sizes and serve plain, etc.

My son loves pasta so I use a variety of shapes so we both don't get bored...with melted cheese, with a little butter, with spinach and tomato sauce, etc.

here are some more household favorites:

pastina w/ cottage cheese
black beans
refried beans w/ melted cheese
corn on the cob (engages him for 10 minutes!)
Anything Dr. Praeger's - check the freezer section
turkey/cheese roll ups
pizzadia (tortilla/melted mozz/tomato sauce/chicken)
grilled cheese
turkey meatballs
carrot fries (steamed baby carrots)
baked potato fries
rice with melted cheese & beans

Hello J., what I do with my twins is I make smoothies sometimes. I pack every fruit I have, plain or vanilla yogurt & then I add either juice or milk. This is a good way to pack the nutrients and give them a healthy treat all at once.

Hi J.,

So glad you asked this question - I am going to use some of the answers for my 13 month old! One idea I will share is scrambled eggs. I made it for the first time last night for my Deanna. I mixed one egg with milk and a huge spoon of cottage cheese and scrambled it up - she LOVED it. I had actually made some macaroni as a back up plan, but she pushed away the macaroni and only ate the eggs and veggies! Go figure!

Good luck.

R.

Dear J.,

Have you tried turkey roll ups. Turkey hot dogs are also very good! Also tiny sandwiches may work. Google lunch ideas for toddlers sometimes they have great ideas for kid friendly foods. Sometimes i would give my kids leftovers from dinner for a hot lunch. My kids were also big soup eaters. I would make a pot of homemade soup with small pasta and lots of veggies and that was always a big hit. If you buy oyster crackers to put in the soup they also loved that. Good luck!!

Hi- I make a lot of my son's food, blend them chunky in a food processor, and freeze in ice cube trays. This way, I can pop cubes in the microwave and mix them. Examples: chicken/rice/carrots, pork/apples, beef/kale/potato, etc. At meals, I can add mashed avocado or soft tofu, things like that. In terms of non-frozen food, he loves all fruit, cubed cheese and tofu, edamame, buttered whole wheat toast, yogurt, asparagus, green beans, etc.
Good luck!

How about brown rice or oatmeal with cheese slices or yogurt; hummus and kashi crackers or nut butter with crackers and cut up fruit; steamed broccoli with butter and grated cheese (you can cook a big batch ahead of time of any veggie and then reheat or serve cold with dip), avocado; sweet potato with butter and maple syrup, organic salami slices or hot dogs with baked beans, carrot and celery sticks with cream cheese, leftovers from dinner or breakfast, a spoonful of nut butter and a banana, quesadilla on whole grain tortilla with cheese and salsa etc, hard boiled egg cut in slices on crackers. There are lots of whole, easy foods that kids love if you give them a chance. Play around a bit to see what works and don't get stuck in a rut.
If you are not careful, your kid can become one who will "only" eat mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. I have 4 kids with varying degrees of pickiness. I have found that varying items and sticking with healthy food that I feel good about works for us. Not everyone likes everything, but, especially with my picky one, I find that if I don't introduce the bad stuff, or limit it to "special" occasions, we do pretty well. Good luck, and kudos to you for going the extra mile on top of work and parenting!

Hi J.,

I have the same issue with my 18-month-old twin boys. I feel like I give them the same healthy lunch almost every day! The only thing I could suggest is to go to Trader Joe's. They have some staple items that the boys love that I couldn't live without. The first is their low sodium turkey breast. The second is their turkey meatballs, which I run under water and squeeze out after microwaving them, in order to remove some of the salt. The third is Trader Joe's precooked and seasoned lentils, which are near the refrigerated produce in a shrink-wrapped bag that is inside a rectangular box. They LOVE them above all other food, which I can't believe!!!

Lately I've also been buying Dr. Prager's veggie burgers, which are in the frozen area of Trader Joe's. They didn't take to them at first, but after a couple of times introducing them before any fruit, etc, they gobbled them up! I give them each a dollop on their trays and more as needed, since it doesn't really stay in "burger form" after microwaving it. Dr. Prager also makes frozen spinach patties that aren't sold at Trader Joe's but you can find them at some supermarkets in the healthy frozen area. My boys don't like them on their own but mixed with cheese and scrambled eggs for breakfast they're a hit! I also mix them with rice or couscous and parm cheese in order to disguise them a bit. ;) I mix it in with pasta and sauce and Trader Joe's turkey meatballs, too.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

B.

I remember my son at 15 months old,,, some of the little meals I made for him were:

a serving (or half a serving) of cottage cheese with various types of fruit, and after he ate that then I would offer a piece of Sun Maid Raisin bread (no high fructose corn syrup in that one)

I bought Smart Dogs - in the produce section, they are Veggie Dogs. he would eat one every other day or so with again a differnt type of fruit and/or sweet potato

in the organic section Dr Praegers Spinach pancakes, he loved them! for the longest time he ate one everyday, to get him use to them I would serve them with cut up apples or pears, so he had the sweet flavor as well.

Fish sticks, Dr Praegers <not a big fan of breaded things, but it's fish!..so at least he's getting something good out of it> and Dr Praegers stuff seemed to be a bit healthier than the norm...

Also there is a great book out there, Super Baby Food, it's a purple book, I still use it as a reference and he's almost 3. It has everything from picking cooking and storing different foods, to using food/non toxic things for crafts, and tons of good recipes.

I always tried to follow the feed him a rainbow every day rule to make sure he got all his nurients. I introduced Blueberries with cottage cheese and gave him cheerios too,, he had a blast putting things in his cottage cheese then eating it. Oh and i use to buy the large curd cause it was easier to finger eat until he started with a spoon.

Good Luck, I hope i helped.

peanut butter and jelly
peanut butter and bananas
fish sticks
whole wheat pasta
grilled chicken
grilled vegetables
soup

I am a big fan of "breakfast for lunch." How about scrambled eggs,french toast, or buckwheat pancakes?? Cream cheese on whole grain bread cut into bite sized pieces.

Any leftover, well cooked veges from last night's dinner. Semi-soft fruit that has been peeled and cut into small pieces.

Variety is key at this point. If she is a good eater now, she will be receptive to many things so keep offering them. Very little is off limits - I would still steer clear of peanut butter and avoid cold cuts (both such typical lunch offerings). Think dinner left overs - it takes until school age for most kids to really be able to conquer the typical sandwich we think about as "lunch" food.

Enjoy the food adventure!

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