Do you have the dreaded “picky toddler”? I feel for you, mom. Allison’s about to make me pull out my hair, as she’s decided she will no longer eat vegetables OR fruits of any kind, except raisins. And she’ll be happy eating only cheese, Goldfish, and bread all day long, which is where we are at this moment. Now, I do hide the occasional carrots in her pancakes and zucchini in her muffins; but that can only go so far. I’d like to keep encouraging her to try new foods, so I have to make things exciting. Luckily, there are so many new gadgets to help create fun toddler meals! Here’s what I use to pique her interest.
Silicone muffin liners
These things are really cute! They come in different shapes, and you can bake muffins in them to give them a cute heart or star shape. You can also use them to hold your toddler’s little lunch items, like cheese cubes, crackers, pepperoni… sometimes the colors alone are enough to encourage your little one to try a bite.
I love these little food picks! You can find them in many shapes and sizes- long, short, double-pronged… Just stick them wherever you think they would look cute. These are probably meant for older children, so you’ll have to take precautions and let your toddler know that these are NOT for eating! But they’ll make any lunch a lot more fun.
My favorite tools are the cookie cutters. I actually feel weird saying “cookie” cutters, because I never actually use these for cookies! I have two different kinds- big and small- and each one has a different purpose.
The smaller ones are perfect for cutting cheese, fruit, and deli meat. My favorite ones are the heart and butterfly; I also bought Fall-themed ones because I used the apple cutter for Allison’s third birthday party. As a bonus, it also came with a pumpkin shape, which I plan to take full advantage of this year!
I like the bigger ones for cutting sandwiches. Like a typical toddler, Allison doesn’t like the crust, so I have to use Tetris skills to get the most sandwiches out of the bread to avoid too much waste. Luckily, if there are a few mis-shapen ones, she doesn’t seem to notice! Her favorite is the whale, but I also have a seashell and a fish, as well as Christmas-themed ones.
Now, I’m not saying that making your toddler’s meal more fun means that she’ll automatically eat it. Unfortunate, but true. Sometimes if I play it up and make up awesome stories and names for her food, Allison will dig right in. But other times she’ll look at the cute food picks, pull them out, and proceed to eat just her crackers. Drives me bonkers, but what can you do? Toddlers are fickle creatures, but hopefully if you remain persistent and creative, they’re bound to try new things eventually!
What other tools do you use to create fun toddler meals? Leave a comment and give us ideas!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.