31 Lunch Ideas for Toddlers That You Can Use for a Tension-Free Month

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Need lunch ideas for toddlers?

Are you looking for some simple and easy to cook lunch menu for your toddler?

Then you are at the right place at the right time!

We, moms usually rack our brains the previous night, over the question of what to prepare for tomorrow’s breakfast or lunch. And, we often land up cooking the same thing most of the times.

So, I am here today to simplify and release your struggle on planning your kid’s meal. The meals included here are those I cook and is liked by my now 4-year-old son.

lunch ideas for toddlers

Once your kid has reached the toddler stage, stop cooking a separate meal for them. Feed them what you cook normally for your family. In this way, they will develop broad palate. Moreover, its plainly time-saving and stress-free.

31 Easy lunch ideas for toddlers and kids:

In this post, I have included 31 Indian vegetarian recipes, which means meal plan for an entire month. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

(Sorry ladies, I have not included pastas, bread sandwiches or noodles here, as I don’t prepare those for lunch.)

#1. Amla or gooseberry rice (nellikai sadam)

amla rice

Our Indian gooseberry is a super natural fruit. This tiny wonderful fruit is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for kid’s growth and helps in the body’s calcium absorption.

So, it’s time to bring back this traditional rice variety to your diet.

It tastes similar to lemon rice. All you need are 4 amlas for a cup of cooked rice. Wash and grate amla using grater, discard the seed. To a tsp of hot oil, add mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, hing powder, red chilli, ginger, curry leaves and turmeric powder followed by grated amla and required salt. Sauté it for 2 minutes. Add these to cooked rice and mix well. You are done!

Team it with papad, vadagam or potato fry.

#2. Soya chunks (meal-maker) biriyani

soya biriyani

Soya chunks or meal maker, a product of soybean is a rich source of proteins and vitamins. Surely, a healthy option for kids who are vegetarians.

I prepare soya chunk biriyani as our Saturday’s meal.

Firstly, I soak soya chunks in hot water for 5-10 minutes. After that wash those in running water and drain. Marinate with garam masala powder and salt for 15 minutes. Grind chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, mint leaves, chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder all together in a mixer. In a tbsp of ghee season with cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, cloves. To this add and sauté the ground mixture. Add the marinated soya chunks and sauté for a minute. Add the soaked and drained rice with required coconut milk and salt. Pressure cook for three whistles.

Pair it with onion raita and a dessert.

#3. Curd rice

curd rice

As you all know, curd is good for – digestion, teeth, bones, boosting immunity and for lactose intolerants.

The best part is that, curd can be teamed with any types of food. Be it rice, chapati or paratha.

Curd is a must for our lunch and/or dinner.

The method of curd rice preparation here is, add milk : curd (1:2), little cheese (optional), to the cooked rice and mix it. Heat ghee or oil, splutter with mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, ginger, red chili and curry leaf (seasonings). Add these to the curd rice and mix everything. Garnish with pomegranate and coriander leaves.

Serve this comfort food with cabbage fry and pickle.

#4. Coconut rice

coconut rice

There is nothing like the smell and taste of coconut rice. Kids mostly relish this dish.

It’s very simple to prepare.

The ratio here also is 1:2 (grated coconut: cooked rice). For a cup of cooked rice, take half cup of fresh grated coconut.

Heat ghee or oil, splutter with mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, ginger, red chili, curry leaf. Add grated coconut, fry for a minute with required salt. Add this mixture to cooked rice and mix everything.

I usually pair this with gobi fry. It will go well with any vegetable gravy.

#5. Ghee rice

ghee rice

Ghee rice paired with some egg curry is a complete meal for your kid.

For making ghee rice add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom in hot ghee. Then add in chopped big onion, ginger-garlic paste and sauté. Add soaked and drained rice, coconut milk, chopped tomato, coriander leaves and a tbsp of ghee. Pressure cook for one whistle, then put it on low flame for 5 minutes. Switch off the flame.

Enjoy with your curry of choice.

#6. Sambar rice

sambar rice

Sambar rice- a dish with rice, dal and loads of vegetables, can be prepared in a jiffy.

All you have to do is soak rice and tuvar dal (dal: rice – 1:2) for 20 minutes. Soak lemon sized tamarind in warm water. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add seasonings like mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves followed by chopped small onions, tomato and veggies (I usually use carrot, beans and potato). Sauté well with salt, turmeric powder, sambar powder and a pinch of hing. Now add drained rice and dal with tamarind extract, required water and salt (3/4 cup tamarind extract plus 2 cup water for ½ cup rice and ¼ cup dal). Close the lid and pressure cook for 5 whistles. Garnish with coriander leaves. Drizzle a tbsp ghee before serving.

#7. Lemon rice

lemon rice

The tangy flavor of lemon rice makes this a favorite dish for kids. It can be prepared when you are pressed for time.

Don’t overcook rice for this recipe. Once the rice is cooked, spread it on a broad vessel with a tbsp of sesame oil.

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, red chilies and asafetida, followed by green chilies, ginger, turmeric powder, curry leaves and grated carrots. Add salt and sauté for a minute.

Now squeeze lemon juice from a lemon or two and add this to the rice. Mix well and pour the seasoning. If you want can add roasted cashew nuts also.

For lemon rice, anything prepared with potato is a perfect combo.

#8. Carrot moong dal rice 

carrot dal rice

This is a one pot meal, a flavor pairing of moong dal and carrot.

Soak required amount of rice and moong dal (dal: rice – 1:2 ratio) for half an hour. Grate carrot and chop the onions. Heat a tbsp ghee, add mustard seeds, red chilies, asafetida followed by chopped onion and grated carrot. Add drained rice-moong dal mixture, required water, turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Serve hot.

#9. Beetroot rice 

beetroot rice

Beetroot is a rich source of folate and manganese. Folates are the much-needed nutrient for healthy skin and hair. Try to include beetroot in your kid’s diet.

This beetroot rice can be cooked same way that of carrot rice. For a change in flavor, you can add garam masala powder instead of sambar powder here.

#10. Rice-moong dal-beans fry

rice moong dal curry and beans

Rice, moong dal curry and beans fry is a perfect combo. You can take a dollop of lemon pickle along with it.

I don’t think you need recipe for this simple menu 😊

#11. Rice – fenugreek dal

rice fenugreek sambar

Dal, our staple food which is very high in protein content can be used to prepare different dishes from sabjis to sweets.

I make variety of dal. One is with fenugreek leaves. The addition of this greens enhances the nutritional level.

Cook dal along with chopped fenugreek leaves and prepare dal curry in your own style.

#12. Rice-green gram stir fry – rasam -omelette 

rasam green gram fry omelette

This is another perfect wholesome combo.

Rithvik likes this combo except the egg part. He hates egg in any form and I am finding new ways to include egg in his diet.

Once or twice a week include rasam in your kid’s diet. It boosts their immunity.

If you want to know how to prepare green gram stir fry you can check it out here.

#13. Peas pulao

pea pulao

The pea, don’t judge by its size. It’s a powerhouse of nutrients like dietary fiber, folates, Vitamin C, and K, phosphorous, copper and manganese.

This one pot meal is a healthy and delicious one.

Heat ghee/oil in a cooker and add the seasonings like cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves. Add green chili, ginger garlic paste, chopped onions and sauté until onions turn light brown. Now add peas (I used frozen ones), drained rice, and sauté. Add double amount of water that of rice, salt needed. Add chopped coriander and mint leaves.  Pressure cook on medium flame for one whistle and then keep it on low flame for 5 minutes and switch off the flame.

Your peas pulao is now ready to be served. You can serve it with some yummy broccoli fry.

#14. Chana biriyani

chana biriyani

This is a super healthy biriyani using chick peas.

Heat ghee/oil in a cooker and add the seasonings like cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves. Then add green chili, ginger garlic paste, chopped onions, tomato and sauté until onions turn light brown. Now add chana that has been soaked overnight, drained rice, and sauté. Add double amount of water that of rice, chili powder and garam masala powder (or chana masala powder), salt, and coriander leaves.  Pressure cook on medium flame for one whistle and then keep it on low flame for 5 minutes and switch off the flame.

This can be teamed with curd or any raita.

#15. Tomato rice

tomato rice

Another wholesome one-pot meal for the whole family.

Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Add the seasonings mustard, urad dal, curry leaf and hing. Add onions and sauté till it turns golden brown. Next, add ginger garlic paste followed by green chili, tomato puree, turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt needed. Cook well. Finally add cooked rice and mix everything well.

Pair it with some cucumber raita.

#16. Veg fried rice

veg fried rice

Veg fried rice can be prepared with left over rice or freshly cooked rice. If using freshly cooked rice let them cool completely.

Sauté chopped garlic followed by chopped veggies in oil. Add vinegar, soy sauce, pepper powder and salt, sauté for few min on high flame. Add cooked rice and mix everything well. Switch off the flame and garnish with spring onions (optional)

Serve hot with any gravy dish.

#17. Aviyal-rice-curd

aviyal

Aviyal with its curd base and loaded veggies makes it a delicious dish.

Cover and cook the chopped vegetables in a pan with little water, salt and turmeric powder (I normally use carrot, cucumber, beans, raw plantain and yam). Grind freshly grated coconut, green chili, jeera, and small onion in a mixer to a course paste. When the veggies are ¾ cooked, add the ground mixture. Cover it and cook. Now mix everything well. Add yoghurt and curry leaf. Adjust the salt and cook for two more minutes. Add coconut oil just before removing from the flame and keep it closed. After 10-15 minutes, mix it well and serve. If your kid doesn’t eat vegetable chunks, cook aviyal in pressure cooker so that the vegetables mash up nicely.

Team it with hot rice, curd and banana chips.

#18. Keerai rice

keerai rice

Another complete meal. You can use red or green keerai. For a cup of cooked rice, you can use ½ to ¾ cup chopped greens.

Wash and chop the greens finely.

Heat oil in a pan, add urad dal, chana dal, red chili, garlic crushed, thinly sliced onions with required salt and sauté until it turns light brown. Add the chopped greens and sauté till reduces. Add required amount of sambar powder or rasam powder, salt needed and cook for few more minutes. Finally add the cooked rice and mix everything well, switch off the flame.

Team it with moong dal fry.

#19. Rice-moru curry-bhindi fry

more curry

Almost all kids savour curd. Moru curry is prepared mainly with curd and coconut.

Soak little raw rice, cumin seed, tur dal, coriander seeds in warm water for 15 min. After the soaking time, grind this along with a piece of ginger, a green chili and freshly grated coconut to a smooth paste.

Now mix this paste with curd by adding water to curry consistency. Add turmeric powder, salt and mix well.

Heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, small onion, curry leaves and pour the moru curry over it. Bring to boil on low flame and immediately switch off the flame.

If you want, you can garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.

Rice, moru curry and bhindi fry is a great combo.

#20. Vegetable pulao

veg pulao

What a great way to sneak the much-hated veggies into your kiddos tummy? The amazing vegetable pulao is your answer!

Pair it with some cucumber raita to enhance the taste to another level.

#21. Venpongal

ven pongal

This is a south Indian dish usually done for breakfast. Sometimes, I prepare this for our lunch.

Dry roast rice and dal separately. Wash and pressure cook rice and dal together with required water and salt. For 1 cup rice and half cup dal I use 4 cups water. Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles depending on how mushy you want. Mash the dal and rice well once the pressure subsides.

Heat a tsp ghee and fry the cashew nuts until golden brown. On the same pan add little more ghee. add crushed jeera and pepper pods, finely chopped ginger, and curry leaves and sauté for few seconds. Now add this to mashed mixture, add fried cashew nuts also. Mix everything well.

Venpongal is paired with sambar, urad dal vada and coconut chutney.

#22. Rice -mint paneer gravy

mint paneer gravy

Paneer is so versatile and tasty.  Mint paneer gravy is a twist from the normal paneer butter masala. It tastes best with plain rice or roti.

#23. Mint pulao

mint pulao

Mint pulao is another quick to prepare one pot meal. Click here for more mint recipes.

#24. Idiyappam-chana masala

idiappam

I usually don’t battle with idiyappam maker in busy mornings. I make idiyappam/string hoppers mostly for lunch or dinner.

While preparing the dough, add some ragi flour along with rice flour to enhance the nutrition level.

Idiyappam and chana masala combo provide your kid the right amount of proteins, carbohydrate and iron all at a time.

#25. Carrot semiya

carrot semiya

This dish can form a healthy breakfast or even a lunchbox dish on days you feel blue.

Kids usually loves vermicelli carrot upma.

Heat the pan, add oil, temper with mustard, urad dal, chana dal followed by green chili, ginger, curry leaves, chili and chopped onion. Sauté till slight brown. Add grated carrot and sauté for a minute. Add vermicelli with required amount of water, salt and some masala powder (completely optional). If you want a tangy taste, add tamarind water instead of plain water. Cook on low flame until its cooked. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

#26. Chapati – rajma masala

rajma masala

 Rajma masala is a healthy and quick side dish for chapati.

#27. Chapati – palak paneer

palak paneer

Greens should be given regularly to your kids. Palak paneer is one of the my most favorite leafy gravy.

Shallow fry paneer cubes in butter or oil and immerse it in warm water.

Boil water, add spinach leaves and cook for 2 min. Once it’s cool, drain it and grind it to a fine paste with a green chili, ginger and garlic pod.

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, finely chopped onions and sauté until onion turns brown.  Add chopped tomatoes along with turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt needed. Cook until tomatoes are well cooked.

Now add in the spinach puree and cook on low flame for few minutes. Add the cubed paneer pieces and cook for a minute. Add required water and adjust salt, and cook till it becomes little thick.

Serve with chapati.

#28. Chapati – aloo palak

aloo palak

Aloo palak is another yummy side dish prepared with spinach which goes well with chapati.

Pressure cook potatoes, peel the skin and chop it into big pieces, sauté it in little ghee with salt. Rest of the steps you can follow same as that of palak paneer. Instead of paneer, aloo is used here.

#29. Chapati – gobi masala

gobi masala

Gobi masala is a tasty side dish for chapati when its cooked using this recipe.

Boil water with a pinch turmeric powder and salt. Immerse cauliflower florets for 5 minutes.  Drain it, sauté it in butter and keep aside.

Also, soak few cashew nuts in hot water for sometime.

Heat butter and oil, throw fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom. Add in ginger garlic paste, chopped onions and sauté till they become golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes along with chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and cook till tomatoes are well cooked. Switch off the flame. Cool it and grind this along with cashew nuts to a smooth paste.

Now heat a pan, pour the ground mixture, cauliflower florets, required water and salt. Boil it for few minutes. Add in fresh cream (I normally use yoghurt) and coriander leaves. Switch off the flame.

Serve with chapati.

#30. Aloo paratha

aloo paratha

Parathas can be an excellent variant from your regular chapati.

My favorite paratha is always aloo paratha. For any types of parathas, the filling part should be prepared without much water content.

Make wheat flour dumplings with the aloo stuffing. Roll out the parathas and cook using ghee.

Pair it with curd and pickle.

#31. Broccoli paratha

broccoli paratha

Broccoli paratha idea was given to me by my neighbor and good friend Aarti.

Boil broccoli florets for a minute, drain, cool and crumble it with onion, green chili, ginger, garlic pod in blender. Sauté this in a pan with required salt and garam masala powder.

Make wheat flour dumplings with the broccoli stuffing. Roll out the parathas and roast it using ghee.

Make this broccoli stuffed paratha and pair it with curd. I am sure your kid will munch on them at no time.

So those were the lunch ideas for toddlers from my kitchen. Please do share with us your lunch recipes for kids you make at home.What are your go-to lunch ideas for toddlers?

About Author

A darling wife of Vijay Varadarajan and a lovely mom to Rithvik. A Biotechnology post graduate, Jayalekshmy quit her job the very next day she became pregnant. Realized her passion for cooking after Rithvik came into their life and now loves to experiment different cuisines. Her other interests are home interior decoration, gardening, internet surfing,a bit photography and whatsaap chatting with her loved ones.

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