Packing lunch for 1 year olds at daycare is a challenge, to put it lightly. It's so hard to know how hungry they'll be, what food they'll actually want to eat, how they'll do with textures—and simply to come up with the ideas. to help, this list of 7 Lunch Ideas for 1 Year Olds at Daycare should give you inspiration the next time you're standing in front of the fridge trying to pack a healthy toddler lunch.
These are actual lunches that I've packed for my daughter over the past year from the time that she was a new 1 year old to when she was closer to 2 years old. When packing daycare lunches for her, I needed to provide a lunch and two snacks, so that's why it might look like there's a lot of food here. She also loves cheese, so most of her lunches this year have contained it in some form since I know that it's one food she'll almost always eat.
As always, adjust your packed daycare lunches based on your 1 year old's chewing ability, preferences, and allergies. Which is to say that if you see something that isn't cut or prepared the way you know your toddler would need it to be cut or served, you of course have full permission to change it!
7 Lunch Ideas for 1 Year Olds at Daycare
- Allergy-Friendly Banana Muffins, pasta with peas and butternut squash, cut up orange or clementine, Fig Bar, and cheese.
- Plain, whole milk yogurt with Granola Sprinkles, thawed frozen blueberries, leftover waffles, pasta with pesto (which is okay at room temperature depending on the type of pasta you use), Roasted Carrot Soup.
- Cubed watermelon, orzo pasta salad with carrots and peas, cottage cheese, Cheerios, goat cheese, nitrate-free turkey lunchmeat.
- Leftover pancake (you can moisten with a smear of applesauce if needed), cheese stick, steamed zucchini slices, berries, puffs, yogurt blended with peach in the Squeasy Gear pouch.
- Sandwich spirals (for older 1 year olds), My Super Foods bar, (which has a nice, soft texture) cheese stick, cucumber.
- Waffle cubes, fruit, Soft-Baked Granola Bar, hummus, thawed frozen peas.
- Cubed pumpkin muffin with Sunbutter, fruit, turkey deli meat, cheese, and Butternut Mac and Cheese in a Lunchbots Thermos.
This year I've also found that the snack size Larabars are a perfect 1 year old snack (assuming that nuts are allowed in your daycare, chopped into cubes as needed), the Purple Haze cereal from Trader Joe's is a nice crunchy option, and that the simple combination of yogurt and applesauce can be a nice daycare lunch component when the fridge is otherwise empty.