Make Your Toddler’s Meals Work for the Whole Family
Every parent knows that mealtimes with a toddler can be challenging. Two bites of this. One sip of that. One ginormous smear of yogurt all over the wall. It’s easy to see why parents fall into the trap of eating too quickly, badly–or not eating at all.
Finding foods that you all like to eat can help to add some sanity to dinnertime, make your meals more healthy, and cut down on the amount of food you end up throwing away.
It’s time for a New Kitchen Order in your house, but don’t think you’re in it alone. Get your toddler involved.
On a recent grocery shopping trip, I let my 2-year-old “help me” to choose her own foods from the fruit and veggie aisles. I also let her pick her cereal and cheese (though I did have to sneak the tremendously expensive imported cheese back onto the shelf). What surprised me the most is that as soon as we got into the car, she started asking when she could eat her carrots.
By the time we were at home, she’d lined up in her mind what was for dinner. And our new adventure began.
It’s too much to hope that she’d eat exactly what we’re eating, but we worked together to create a meal that could be good for her and for us. Spaghetti, olives, tomatoes, spinach, and cheese. That’s 5-courses for her. With a few quick adjustments, it tuned into feta and spinach pasta for us–just sautee the spaghetti and spinach in garlic and olive oil, then top with olives, sliced tomatoes, and feta cheese.
We’ve had similar success with turkey burger sliders. While she won’t touch the burger as a whole, the component pieces of bun, tomato, cheese, and grilled turkey all went down with a smile. We aren’t wasting as much food as we used to, and we’re eating well. Really well.
Of course there are still days when nothing will do but mac ‘n cheese. So make a big pot of it, put some aside for the kids, and stir some spicy brown mustard and ground white pepper into yours.
You don’t have to eat like a kid. Unless you want to.
By: Rachel Handel