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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Nutrition and Good Eating › easy lunches that don't involve lunch meat that my slim 15 m/o can eat as well as myself who is on a diet. dairy free.
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easy lunches that don't involve lunch meat that my slim 15 m/o can eat as well as myself who is...

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I am looking for something pretty effortless...and inexpensive! I need it to be healthy and have protein. Dairy free.


we have been eating eggs a lot, but I need other options.


she can't seem to really bite into a sandwich.


I don't want to give her anything like hot dogs and fries everyday KWIM?


post #2 of 24

Throw a roast or chicken in a crockpot. It will shred easily into small pieces.

post #3 of 24

How about some noodles? (I know, no protein) Or some beans? My kids like chick peas and black beans a lot. You could puree some canned beans with some garlic or something and use it to dip healthy crackers into-and my DD will dip her rotini noodles as well.


Quinoa is also very good, can be prepared a million ways, and is full of protein, yet easy for a toddler to eat.

post #4 of 24

How about rice and beans?  That's a complete meal nutritionally and easy to make.  Lots of recipes out there for R&B.


We don't eat commercial lunch meat either, but I will cook my own.  I really like different rubs and marinades, then I grill the meat or roast in the oven.  Slice thinly and keep in fridge.  You can layer it on crackers with a little bit of a healthy spread.  At that age, dd really liked sliced squares of french bread, toasted slightly, smeared with pesto sauce and a bit of marinated roasted chicken.


Make your own chicken nuggets.  I used to do this a lot and do sometimes still.  Bread and pan fry a big batch, then freeze.  Pull out a few and warm in the oven.  You can do this with fish as well.


Nut butters on crackers.


Make up meatballs, then IQF.  Make up spaghetti sauce and IQF in child-sized portions.  To prepare, 10 minutes to boil pasta and combine with sauce and meatballs.  15 minutes tops.


I'm drawing a blank at this point, because we're not dairy free and the rest of my ideas involve cheese.  However, dd is almost 9 and has never eaten a hot dog, so I know it can be done.  winky.gif  Good luck!

post #5 of 24

Is your LO still BF?  At 15 mos, they still need a "milk" of some sort - whether it's BM or formula, they really need the calories pretty much until they're 2-ish. 


One of my favorite lunch-time meals is hummus.  And my 15 mo loves it too.  Make it yourself from dried chickpeas, and it's pretty darned cheap.  I usually make a 6 c batch, and it will keep in the fridge for weeks.  You can eat it with all your favorite veggies to dip into it.  You can spread it on a tortilla or a pita.  You can make a sandwich or pita pizza with it and plenty of veggies.  You can even just eat it with a spoon. 


My 15 mo also loves beans.  Baked beans, black beans, bean soup.  He doesn't care.  He just loves beans.  I can make a batch of baked beans and keep it in the fridge, just scoop him out a little bowl full and he'll eat them room temp. 


How many teeth does the LO have?  My little guy likes soft meats - stewed meats or shredded, he's not too fond of ground meat though.  I cook a lot of stews or braised meals, and can just pull out a few pieces for him.  He doesn't care for the potatoes, but he loves the stewed carrots, too. 


My little guy eats a lot of eggs, veggies, beans.  Probably half an apple a day (peeled and cut into sticks so he can feed himself).  He loves bread crusts (doesn't care for the softer center - he likes texture).  And he'll pretty much eat whatever I'm eating.  So if I have corned beef hash for breakfast, he eats a good portion of that himself.  If lunch is PB on celery, I'll cut up an apple, and give him some beans (he doesn't like PB or celery).  Dinner is whatever I can grab out of the fridge quickly when he demands it, since we eat after he goes to sleep.  Sometimes that's a scrambled egg w beans (and he will eat the entire egg and 1/4 c of beans).  My little guy does eat some cheese, but that's the only dairy he can really tolerate, and we have to limit it to once a day. 

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

She still BFing 7+ times a day. She loves fruits and veggies, but not so much anything really healthy but "fattening" She's 20lbs and tall but thin. I already got "the  talk" from one of  the pedi's at her office to wean her....but her pedi said that's ridiculous TG and she does CLW with her kid too.


I totally forgot about beans! I never ate them growing up so they never come to mind lol I bet rice and beans with some spices and daiya would be good.


Also our other issue is FREEZER SPACE lol seriously though we live in a TINY apartment and have a tiny freezer. DH says he's working on getting a small freezer we can put in the dinning room..

post #7 of 24

A bowl of soup that is a lot of rice/beans/noodles/meat and not so much broth?

post #8 of 24

We do a bunch of "lots of stuff on a plate" type of lunches.  For us a typical lunch might be some cheese slices, a cut up banana, some olives and a slice of home made bread.  I know you said no dairy but the idea is just basically a bunch of whatever you happen to have on hand.  Something else I do often is microwave a chicken breast, cook up some rice and heat up some corn, toss it all in one bowl for her.  Leftovers are good too, when you make dinner the night before, just set aside a lunch size portion before serving up everyone.  I know you said sandwiches are difficult, what about cutting them up bite sized?  Are you doing peanut butter or any other nut butters with her?  If so, you could do PB and J and cut it into bite sized shapes.  (with whatever nut butters and jams or spreadable fruits you are inclined to use.) 

post #9 of 24

Homemade meatballs are a bit of a pain to make but if you double or triple a batch and freeze them they are a super easy lunch food.  Since they have both meat and eggs they are a great source of protein.


We live on rice and beans.  Beans are soft and easy for LO to eat on their own.  Plus their super friendly to the pocketbook.


Have you tried smoothies with nut butters and extra oil (coconut, olive, etc.) added in?


When my 10 month old started to loose weight (I was pregnant and my milk had dried up) I started adding good oils to everything.


Oh, avocados are also good.

post #10 of 24

What a great thread!  I have a hard time thinking of ideas too, so this was fun to read.


Are you non-dairy by choice, or do you have a documented allergy?  My DS was sensitive, he didn't have dairy until about 2 years of age, but we now drink raw (unpasteurized) milk that I source locally from strictly grass-fed farmer.  I only mention it because it might be an option for you, too!  Even my lactose intolerant DH is able to enjoy milk again, and it has been wonderful.


I second the crock pot notion, we eat a lot of soup make from homemade stock.  We get meat from the same farmer I mentioned, and cook the bony pieces in the pot for up to 12 hours.  Then we add veggies and whatever meat we took off the bones, and make minestrone!  Yum.


Best wishes!!


post #11 of 24
Meatballs are much easier to make when you bake them. I will make up about 5 lbs at once. Use a small ice-cream scoop and put on rimmed cookie sheet for 15 ish minutes. We got a small chest freezer for our apt. Best thing ever!
post #12 of 24


post #13 of 24

My family is dairy free due to my youngest having a severe reaction to dairy (when she was little she would vomit blood if I consumed any, now she merely has severe pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea).  Looks like our LO are about the same age too.


I tend to make a little extra rice when we cook in the evenings so that I have some extra in the fridge to resteam.  We also tend to have extra veggies leftover.  Thankfully Bubba LOVES veggies.  She detests meat or any other protein pretty much.  Thankfully she does like hummus and some other beans.  I actually got her to eat one bite of chicken today.


We are also gluten free for my son.  We limit food colorings, no HFCS, no artificial or highly processed sugars...basically very little processed food at all.


I buy chicken breasts on the bone and use the bones to make chicken and noodles or chicken rice soup, or just to make broth that I will use later.  My kids get excited when they see bones...they know I'm going to make something out of it and they get to help decide and make it.  I may cut up the chicken into smaller pieces to bread and oven fry and then I will freeze it for later.


I have also made potato and vegetable things that I either fry or bake.  I boil the potatoes and veggies and puree them and then shape them on a tray (sometimes I use a pastry bag to make letters or numbers) sometimes it needs an egg and gluten free flour to make it dense enough to hold together.  Then I bake them.  The kids LOVE these.


The baby likes lavash bread which I will cut into small pieces and top with hummus.  She's usually messy, but happy, when she's done eating.

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

sorry didn't see anyone was still responding over here!


We are dairy free for moral  reasons, but DD is sensitive to it anyway.


We need a small freezer!


I love the puree idea! So you end up with like tater tots with veggies in there too?

post #15 of 24

Yep, that's exactly it. The kids love them and at least they are getting the veggies!

Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I love the puree idea! So you end up with like tater tots with veggies in there too?

post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by tbavrbab View Post


I have also made potato and vegetable things that I either fry or bake.  I boil the potatoes and veggies and puree them and then shape them on a tray (sometimes I use a pastry bag to make letters or numbers) sometimes it needs an egg and gluten free flour to make it dense enough to hold together.  Then I bake them.  The kids LOVE these.

I'm sorry to be clueless here, but do you add any spices? When you add an egg, how much puree are you adding? Is it the consistency of playdoh or mashed potatoes? I'd really love to try these, but I'd hate to botch them and have my DS swear off them for good and not let me ever try to make them again! Can you give us a sample recipe?

post #17 of 24

I can try. I do things by eye, so there was some fiddling to get it right.  I usually use salt, pepper, onion powder (can make from Just Onions, or buy it), garlic powder (I make it from Just Roasted Garlic).  Make sure to taste the puree before cooking it, if you have issues with raw eggs, then taste before adding the egg.  I have made the puree with mashed potatoes before and that was a favorite. Since we are milk free, I make mashed potatoes with some Sour Supreme (Tofutti brand sour cream replacement), rice milk, Earth's Balance (vegan butter), chicken broth, salt, and pepper.


The is thin enough to go through a pastry bag (could use a plastic bag with the corner cut off), but not so thin it doesn't hold it's shape long enough to bake.  If you make the puree with broccoli you either need to make sure you peel the stems really well or just stick to the tender florets.  I like to use spinach as well since it is one of the very few ways I can get my kids to eat it.  My husband prefers the sweet potato variety.  Skip the potatoes, just use sweet potatoes and no veggies...really it's a sweet potatoes tater tot. I don't make those with savory spices though.  He likes to add sugar and maple syrup to those.


I've added paprika to the regular puree before, but my kids weren't fond of that batch.


As for how much, If I'm making this just for the kids and I for lunch, then I usually only make 4-5 small to medium potatoes worth. This leaves some leftovers that I can freeze for another lunch.


If you aren't sure if you have something you will like by tasting the puree, fry up one or two pieces to taste and then season again if needed.  The key here is to use what you like.  Do you like "seasoned fries" or do you like just salt on your fries?  Perhaps you like your baked potatoes with sour cream or even cream cheese....you add a little of that to the mix.  Decide what YOU like with potatoes and then make that and add some pureed veggies to it.  If you're nervous slowly increase the amount of veggies until you reach the highest level of veggies possible to maintain flavor.


If I'm cooking something for the first time (I just made clam chowder for the first time ever, and I made it completely milk free), I taste it it first.  I don't tell anyone what I'm making, and I don't plan it for a meal or anything until I *know* how it will taste.  I make some and use it as a snack or even a meal if it's good enough to share with everyone.  This way I don't have to worry about my kids deciding they won't eat THAT ever again.  I've also gone the "making up crazy names" route, which has on occasion come back to bite me in the butt.  For instance, DD1 will tell you she HATES pears, but LOVES "Bobs" because I told her a pear was named Bob thinking she wouldn't like it.  Turned out she liked that one, but when I gave her a different variety of pear (which I called a pear) it wasn't ripe.  So she likes Bobs but not pears.


I hope I've been a little clearer.  I am planning on making these again soon, so I can try to write down how much I'm using?

post #18 of 24

Thank you so much! That was very helpful. I guess fries are basically mashed potatoes that are shaped, similar to what you're doing. I will definitely try it. DS likes fries, but not mashed potatoes, so who knows how he'll like this variation. Now the trick for me is to find some organic potatoes that don't cost an arm and a leg! LOL


BTW, too funny about the Bobs!

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

I get a 5lb bag of organic for $4.99 at whole foods!

post #20 of 24

Sometimes for an easy lunch, I will give DD noodles with a handful of frozen peas and carrots cooked in the water as well. You can toss the noodles in some olive oil. Hummus on crackers is good. Chickpeas are a yummy finger food. Purees go well on pasta or rice.

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