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12-18 Months: Toddlers on the Move - Always on the Go (part 2) - Cheese and Ham Pit-zas & Packed Lunch Ideas

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Cheese and Ham Pit-zas

Pitas make a nice crisp base for pizzas—or pit-zas! Try my tomato sauce on page 183 or use a good-quality store-bought sauce. If you only have large pitas, then warm and split one as described in the recipe, and just use one half. Another good pizza base is a split toasted English muffin. For a vegetarian version, omit the ham.

5 minutes

10 minutes

NOTE

1 child portion

  • 1 small, round pita bread (about 3in diameter)

  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or Cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 thin slice of ham, cut into thin strips

  • 1 tsp sliced black olives (optional)

  • 2–3 fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Warm the pita bread in a microwave for about 10 seconds, then carefully split in half to give two thin rounds. Place the pita halves on a baking sheet, crumb side up. Spread tomato sauce over the rounds and scatter on the cheese, ham, and olives, if using.

  3. Bake until the cheese has melted and the pita is crisp, 9–10 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting each pit-za into four. Scatter a little torn basil on top to garnish, if desired.

NOTE

Toast the pita halves under the broiler, then add the toppings and continue cooking under the broiler until the cheese melts. For hungry toddlers or older children, use whole mini-pitas.

Packed Lunch Ideas

If your child is in a day care facility that requires a packed lunch, or you’re out and about, it can be difficult to come up with ideas. Here are some great lunches that cover all the requirements for a balanced meal.

Lunchbox 1
  • Cheese or ham sandwiches

  • Carrot and cucumber sticks

  • Pita bread fingers and hummus

  • Fruit yogurt

  • Apple slices and grapes

  • Smoothie or 100% juice

Lunchbox 2
  • Cheese slices cut into shapes plus strips of ham packed into containers

  • Mini-rice cakes or unsalted crackers (lightly butter them first, if you like)

  • Blueberries or quartered grapes

  • Oatmeal raisin cookie (or fruit yogurt)

Lunchbox 3
  • Tuna mini-sub—fill a split hot dog bun with 2–3 tbsp drained canned tuna, 2 tsp thick plain yogurt, 1/2 tsp ketchup, 2–3 drops of lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)

  • Carrot sticks

  • Cottage cheese and pineapple container (or fruit yogurt)

Lunchbox 4
  • Cream cheese and fruit wrap—spread 1–2 tbsp cream cheese over a flour tortilla and scatter on small pieces of dried apricots or add a thin layer of good-quality fruit spread. Roll up and cut into 3–4 pieces.

  • Cucumber sticks

  • Mini-muffin (or fruit yogurt)

Lunchbox 5
  • Peanut butter on a mini-bagel

  • Potato salad with chopped ham or chicken

  • Apple slices

Lunchbox 6
  • Cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread

  • Melon and strawberry salad (cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces)

  • Fruit yogurt

Lunchbox 7
  • Pasta salad with chicken, lightly cooked broccoli, and corn, and a dressing made with 11/2 tbsp light olive oil and 1/2 tbsp each of honey, soy sauce, and lemon juice

  • Probiotic yogurt drink

  • Mini-pack of dried fruit

  • Fruit and oat bar

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