School Meals for Toddlers

My daughter turned 5 recently and I look at her and just marvel at how grown she has become. I don’t know where time went! 5 sounds like a very small fraction of a human’s lifetime but yo! It has been the most intense and busy 5 years of my life.

I’ve gotten questions and comments about writing more food recipes or putting up videos. A lot of the recipes I have on here are recipes that I have experimented with and tested on my growing baby, so now that she’s older, I don’t experiment as much as I used to. Fingers crossed that baby number 2 will come along soon for us to try our hands on new recipes.

However, I have got mamas here whose babies have grown with mine so we can definitely talk about 5-year-old meals, and I know the food battles don’t end. Have you noticed that kids go through a lot of food phases? My 5-year-old goes through a cycle of foodie to picky eater to foodie. From meat eater to vegetarian to only chicken. I don’t know what triggers each of these phases. It could be a growth thing.

My blog was to inspire mothers to use local ingredients for their baby’s foods so that their taste buds get accustomed to our yummy and nutritious ingredients. However, if you plan on having an international career and moving countries, you need to get out of this blog! My daughter loves Ghanaian food but that has become a problem now because in the past 3 years, we have moved countries twice (within Africa). She loves her banku and fufu and spicy food, so she struggles with foods that are very different.

We moved countries in January and the first school we put her in provided breakfast and lunch (every working mother’s dream) but that didn’t work out well for her. We had the same arrangement in the previous country. That school provided everything including snacks and she was happy there so I didn’t think food would be an issue. I never saw what the actual meal looked like, the menu was pretty standard.

  • Monday- Chicken noodle soup – She did not eat this, and I will understand why.
  • Tuesday- Viennas and Chips– She loves chips and sausages, but she did not eat this.
  • Wednesday- Macaroni and Chicken– She ate this but I’m guessing she could separate the chicken.
  • Thursday- Fish fingers, rice and vegetables. She did not eat this. The vegetables were probably mixed in.
  • Friday-Spaghetti and Mince– She did not eat this. It is probably how the big the chucks of mince are, but we eat this at home all the time.

4 out of 5 school days, she did not have lunch. I provided home cooked meals on some days, but she still did not eat and lost some weight. Do your kids eat well at school?

We have had to change schools because of this and a few other reasons. Her new school does not provide lunch and their reason was, the children are of different nationalities and so thy cannot satisfy every child’s taste buds. This mama was not very happy but decided to give it a go because there were more important reasons for changing schools.

I am happy to announce that she finishes every single item I provide in her lunch bag at her new school. I’ll share the menu but here are the differences I notices.

  1. Familiar food. She is eating what she knows and wants. I actually consulted her when drawing up the menu. I don’t know if this is a good thing but she eats and that’s what matters to me now.
  2. They eat in a more relaxed environment. The school gives ample time for lunch and they eat about 3 times in a day. They give them lots of different opportunities in the day to eat. If she’s not hungry during the first break, she can eat during the next.
  3. They don’t label the break times as lunch or snack. Open your bag and eat what you want.
  4. Everyone is eating something different and she’s actually open to trying new things now!

I’m winning! The menu we drew up was simple and easy and does not take up my whole morning.

  • Monday- Jollof and Boiled Egg | yogurt, drink & biscuit)
  • Tuesday- Pasta and sauce (minced meat/ egg sauce) |drink, cupcake, banana
  • Wednesday- Chips and fried sausage | drink & bread
  • Thursday- Jollof & Scrambled egg | drink, orange, biscuit
  • Friday- Fried Plantain | drink, yogurt, biscuit

I always have Jollof and tomato sauce in the fridge. I cook the pasta and fried foods in the morning and cooking time is less than 15 minutes. I can mix and match when I want to, but I try to stick to the menu for better planning. I will review the menu in a couple of weeks but for now, we are happy and thriving.

Do you prefer school meals to home meals? What has been your experience with school and feeding? Let us know in the comments.

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