Lunch time can be daunting at times, especially when you have no idea what to do for your baby. Whether you’re packing a daycare lunch or your baby is eating at home, we’ve put together lunch ideas for six to 18 months that will make the lunch break a breeze. Check out our baby breakfast ideas here!
Lunch ideas for babies
Purees (usually 6 – 9 months)
When babies are first starting out with solids, it’s a good time to let them explore different tastes and textures. When you start out with solids, remember to introduce new foods as individual ingredients to make sure your baby is not allergic. Once you’ve determined that it doesn’t, you can mix and match these foods with other foods you’ve tested. Babies eat pureed food at this point. There are three types of purees:
- Level 1 – pureed, in which the food is liquid and smooth
- Level 2 – Food has a slightly thicker consistency
- Level 3 – food has chunks
Depending on how well your baby is sitting, you will determine which level you should use. All of these stages can be achieved in a food processor (like this one).
Vegetables of your choice
- Ingredients: 2 whatever vegetables you want, ½ cup formula or breast milk
- Add the vegetables you want (these can be frozen) and cook for 7-10 minutes until tender
- Put in a food processor, add formula / breast milk and puree to the desired consistency.
- Popular first vegetables are: green beans, peas, broccoli, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Apple, peas and spinach
- Ingredients: 2 apples (peeled and chopped), ¼ cup of spinach (wrapped), ¼ cup of peas, ½ cup of water
- Instructions: Cook apples until soft (7-10 minutes), then put in the food processor, boil peas (3-5 minutes), then put in the food processor, fry the spinach and put in the food processor, add water and puree until the desired consistency is reached.
- You can substitute any fruit and vegetable. Make sure to cook it before pureeing. Some ideas to consider:
- Butternut squash and sweetcorn
- Pears, cucumbers and kale
- Carrot, sweet potato and pea
Check out this article for homemade baby food recipes!
Adding meat protein (generally 7+ months)
Once your baby is comfortable eating fruits and vegetables, meat is introduced. Here are some ideas for a level 3 puree meat-based baby lunch.
Chicken, Carrot and Broccoli
- Ingredients: 2 ounces uncooked chicken (cut into pieces), 1 carrot (peeled and diced), ¼ cup broccoli, chicken broth (just enough to cover the ingredients in the saucepan)
- Instructions: Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cover with stock, simmer until the chick is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, drain and puree until the desired consistency is achieved.
Shepherd’s Pie (ground beef, carrots, peas, mashed potatoes)
- Ingredients: 4 ounces cooked ground beef, ¼ cup carrots, ¼ cup peas, ¼ cup mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons beef broth
- Instructions: Cook the ground beef and put it in the food processor, cook the carrots and peas until soft, cook the mashed potatoes, put all the ingredients in the food processor and puree until the desired consistency is achieved
Beef stew (mass recipe, good for freezing)
- Ingredients: ½ pound roast beef (cut into cubes), 2 teaspoons olive oil, ¼ small onion (chopped), 1 carrot (peeled and diced), 1 medium golden potato (peeled and diced), 1 cup water
- Instructions: Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high; add beef and cook 2-3 minutes per side; add onions, carrots, potatoes and water; stir and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes; Put in the food processor and puree until the desired consistency is achieved.
Finger food (usually 7-12 months)
As your baby grows, you may notice signs that they are ready for finger food. Almost anything healthy with a soft texture is great finger food. Small pieces of cooked vegetables, soft fruits, and pasta are great lunch ideas for babies.
Whole grain, protein and vegetable platters
- Whole grain: bread, pasta (mussels, bowties or elbows), wheat bread
- Protein: boiled chicken, boiled pork, or boiled beef (no processed meat until 12 + 00)
- Vegetables including: peas, zucchini, carrots, black beans, avocado, and pumpkin.
- Some ideas to consider:
- Pasta bowls, chicken, carrots
- Toast, minced beef, cheese (small bites or crushed)
Quesadillas with black beans and cheese
- Ingredients: 2 small tortillas (8 inches), ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese, ¼ cup of cooked black beans
- Instructions: Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, put the tortilla in a pan, sprinkle with cheese, put the beans in the cheese, top with the remaining cheese, cook until the bottom of the tortilla is brown and the cheese begins to melt, with another tortilla cover and turn over. cook until the other side is brown.
- Once you’ve mastered this quesadilla, try adding shredded chicken or ground beef.
Buttered Elbow Pasta
- Ingredients: 4 ounces elbow noodles, 1.5 tablespoons butter, a pinch of salt and pepper, grated parmesan (optional)
- Instructions: Bring a saucepan of cold water and salt to a boil, add the pasta for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, drain the pasta and leave 3-4 tablespoons of water on the bottom of the saucepan, place the saucepan on low heat, add butter until it melts Whisk, add pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and pepper (if desired).
- Add chicken and peas for a full meal.
Balanced meals (usually 12+ months)
Once your baby is done with a spoon and bite, they are ready for the healthy, balanced meals you will eat. This generally includes protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats (omega-3), and fruits / vegetables. Check out the balanced baby lunch ideas:
Chicken Sweet Potato Poppers (Family Size Recipe)
- Ingredients: 1 pound of ground chicken (or turkey), 2 cups of sweet potato (peeled and grated), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 2 green onions (finely chopped), 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, a pinch of salt
- Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease large baking sheet, squeeze excess moisture from crushed sweet potatoes, place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix, roll into balls, then flatten to a diameter of about 1 inch (should be between 22 and 25) Poppers) on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice (a favorite in our house, family size recipe)
Make it fun and put it in a pineapple, then serve it on a separate bowl for your little one. It makes it a pleasure for the kids
- Ingredients: 1 teaspoon oil, ½ cup onion (diced), 1 tablespoon garlic (chopped), ½ cup carrot (diced), ½ cup paprika (diced), ½ cup ham (suitable bite size for your baby), 3 eggs (beaten) , 3 cups brown rice (cooked), 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 cup pineapple (diced)
- Instructions: In a wok (or deep pan) heat oil on high; add onion, garlic, carrots, paprika and ham and cook until lightly browned then slide to the side of the wok; Put eggs in an empty part of the pan and stir; Add eggs to rest; Add rice, soy sauce, pineapple; mix well.
Here are fifteen ideas for a full lunch *:
- Turkey and cheese sandwich (bonus points: use a cookie cutter for fun shapes or grill it), carrots and blueberries
- Spaghetti (can be meatless), sandwiches and apples
- Quesadilla, avocado and mangoes with black beans, chicken and cheese
- Grilled chicken, mac and cheese, peas and strawberries
- Homemade lunchables (crackers, sliced cheese and turkey), cucumber and blueberries
- Cucumber and cream cheese, turkey and berries mix (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- Flatbread, sliced carrots, cucumber and peppers, simple hummus and clementine wedges
- Chicken and sweet potato poppers, green beans, corn bread and apple sauce
- Fried rice with ham and pineapple and edamame
- PB&J sandwich and banana slices
- Meatballs, roasted sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes (diced)
- Spinach and cheese tortellini (bought in store), grilled chicken, and broccoli
- Butter noodles, ham, peas and raspberries
We hope these simple baby lunch ideas are helpful to all of the parents out there!
Pin for Later: 21 Easy Baby Lunch Ideas They’ll Love!