Tommy has only been in daycare part time for a month but already the lunchbox thing is a challenge. I like to be simple when it comes to meal time and I’m struggling except when I pack veggie straws and cheddar bunnies. I wouldn’t say he is a picky eater but he definitely is not an adventurous toddler when it comes to meal time.
I could go to Pinterest for inspiration but let’s be honest, Pinterest is where average moms go to feel bad about themselves. At least I do! Nothing I make from Pinterest comes out as it should and nothing is as simple as they suggest. Saying I can’t be a Pinterest mom is like when people say they can’t run a marathon.
You can, you totally can, you just have to want to put the time and effort into it… and that is time these days that I simply don’t want spend making a picture perfect lunch – or run a marathon for that matter.
Here is how I’ve been getting by…
Nomsly is a company based out of Boston providing healthy lunches for kids for the entire week. Delivered on Saturday, you get to choose from a rotating menu each week featuring vegetarian, meat eating and gluten free options for most diets and allergies.
We tried it out for a week and I loved the ease and variety. For Toddlers, Nomsly suggests choosing 2 menu options for the entire week so the little ones get used their foods. For older kids, have them select their lunch options. I especially loved the variety of fruits and vegetables like starfruit and lychee.
You also often have the option to order Tofu instead of chicken in many of the meals, but many are naturally meat free like sun butter sandwiches. If you use my promo code SARAHFIT, you’ll get 60% off your first week!
Currently it’s only available in parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont but there are regional companies throughout the US with similar services. If you know one near you, leave it below in the comments.
I love this option for it’s convenience. Of course it comes at a price but for many it’s worth it. Try your first week free with SARAHFIT for 60% off your first week to try it.
Another option is to check out fellow moms on Instagram like Weelicious. I’m obsessed with this former Victoria’s Secret model’s stories these days. Unlike an Instagram feed, stories usually have a much less “curated” feel and appear to be more authentic. Catherine McCord shares two variations on healthy lunches each day. I love watching them for inspiration.
I’ve also been trying to share what I’ve been sending Tommy but I am no Weelicious momma… He ate all the cheddar bunnies, some Peas Please veggie sticks and some turkey in case you were curious.
Who are some of your favorite healthy “influencers” with realistic lunch ideas because I’d love some more? I think the reason why I liked Nomsly so much was that it gave me idea for days when I am not using them. The most challenging frustrating part of both Nomsly and checking out Weelicious is that Tommy will not eat plain vegetables, like sliced of pepper! I have to sneak in all the veggies and that usually means via homemade recipe and it requires more time!
I took more pictures of our Nomsly meals but I cannot find them for the life of me on my phone or memory cards! If you like seeing Tommy’s lunches on Instagram let me know in the comments.
We are winging lunch and would love to know some of your favorite menu ideas and people or sites for inspiration. Don’t forget, if you want to try Nomsly, I have a 60% off coupon code using SARAHFIT.
Annie eats now everyday Annie did a bunch of Instagram posts last year that was very helpful
Oooh, I’ll have to check her out. Thanks for suggestion!
Luca and Nate both love hard boiled eggs! I send those at least once a week! Making lunches interesting and different is so hard!
Dylan loves them too. I think I’ll have to send some on Thursday!
When I think about what to pack for my toddler’s lunch, I come up with a meat, veggie, fruit, and starch. Some meat ideas are chicken sausage, deli turkey, ham cubes, meatballs, chicken nuggets, meatloaf and chopped chicken. Some fruits we’ve been doing lately are strawberries, blueberries, diced kiwi, chopped grapes, sautéed apples with cinnamon, or pear slices. For a starch, I love sending sweet potatoes with maple drizzle (or diced sweet potatoes), quinoa mixed with his veggie or meat, rice, or noodles. For a vegetable I try broccoli pieces, steamed carrots, peas, green beans, and diced tomatoes. He loves guac, so I send that at least a few times a week for a boost of fat. When thinking of lunch ideas, I try to send food that will still taste good cold in case daycare doesn’t heat up his food. I also avoid sending his favorite foods, such as cheese or crackers, because then I know he won’t eat the healthier options. When I feed him at home, I can serve the “treats” after he eats his protein and veggies, and I know daycare doesn’t take that same approach. I also might send leftovers if he really enjoyed them.
I made a batch of mini meatballs and chicken nuggets that I have in the freezer. I pull out what portion he needs for the next day at night and chop in bite sized pieces in the morning after they have thawed in the fridge. I can get away with mixing different veggies in the meatballs without my son noticing. My favorite is diced kale. Instead of breadcrumbs, I use oats or quinoa for a nutritional boost. When I know I’m going to have a busy week, I often buy the precooked chicken from Trader Joe’s (near the sushi, wraps, and sandwiches) because it’s something I know he’ll eat. I’ve made breakfast cookies and teething cookies that I have in the freezer, too. These are low sugar and I feel good about sending them as his starch/carb/fat if we have nothing else.
My son isn’t huge on the veggies either, but I continue to send them in hopes on day he’ll catch on. I frequently rely on frozen veggies because they are cheap and convenient. You only need to let them thaw overnight; there really is no other prep involved, and I don’t have to feel bad if he doesn’t eat them and they go to waste. He is a fan of steamed carrots, so I send those more often than not. One thing he’s been liking lately is sweet potato mash mixed with pureed carrots and drizzled with maple syrup. I made a batch each of mashed sweet potatoes and steamed pureed carrots, then froze them on a baking sheet using a cookie scoop for portions. Once frozen, I put in a zip top bag and can pop a few of these out each time I don’t have something fresh to offer. They thaw overnight in the fridge or microwave very quickly.
Are there any sauces Tommy loves? Maybe you could toss some of his more tolerable veggies in a sauce he enjoys. Some ideas I use frequently are veggies from an Asian stir fry, coconut curry veggies, sautéed veggies with taco seasoning, or simply steamed veggies with sea salt and butter. Have you tried veggie burgers or frozen veggie patties? Trader Joe’s has a broccoli/carrots patty and another one with cauliflower. I think these both are mixed with potatoes, and my son enjoys eating them mashed (if I microwave them) or cubed (if sautéed). Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers are also a favorite of my son.
Sorry for the novel, but starting to pack daycare lunches gave me so much anxiety! I was worried he wouldn’t eat what I sent and worried I wouldn’t know what to send. I hope any of these tips may be helpful to you or your readers. I am far from a Pinterest mom and work full-time outside of the home. I just remind myself that it’s important my son has healthy options for lunch and that it really doesn’t take that long to prep a few things in advance for the freezer. If I think of the lunches as a few different components I just need to put together, it makes it more manageable in my mind to tackle each night.
I appreciate this novel!! Haha thank you for sharing ????????????????????????