Young children and food: common questions
You could try:
Good sandwich fillings include canned tuna or salmon, hummus, hard or cream cheese, ham, egg or peanut butter.
For egg and peanuts, see advice on food allergies in babies and young children.
You could also pack a few vegetable sticks, such as carrots, peppers or cucumber, as well as a container of bite-sized fruit – for example, a peeled satsuma or washed seedless grapes cut in half length ways. A box of raisins is fine if eaten alongside their lunch.
Examples of healthier sweet options include a yoghurt, fromage frais, a scone or a currant bun. If you include a fromage frais or yoghurt, do not forget a spoon. A piece of kitchen towel is also useful.
You can give water or whole milk in a leak-proof beaker.
If lunchboxes are not kept in the fridge at nursery, use an insulated box with an ice pack to keep food safe and cool.
Always check with your nursey for any food policies (for instance, some nurseries may be peanut or nut free). If your child has a food allergy, make sure to tell their nursery or childminder.
Read more about healthy lunchboxes.
Fibre is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. But foods that contain a lot of fibre (such as wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice and wholegrain breakfast cereals) can fill up small tummies, leaving little room for other foods.
This means your child can feel full before getting the calories and nutrients they need.
It's good for your child to try different kinds of starchy foods, but do not give only wholegrain or high-fibre foods before your child is 5 years old.
Drinking sugary drinks increases the chance of tooth decay. If your child will only drink sugary drinks, it can take a while to break the habit.
Start to dilute the drinks with water, increasing the amount of water gradually over time, so the change is not too noticeable to them.
Water and whole milk are the best drinks for toddlers. See drinks and cups for babies and young children for a list of other healthier drinks.
You may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers if:
If so, you can apply online for Healthy Start vouchers, or get an application form from your GP surgery, midwife or health visitor.