TATT: A Simple Toddler Lunch

Wanna guess what one of my 2013 goals was?  It was to blog at least twice a week.  You wouldn’t have known that though, because I never blogged about it.  Oh the irony…

I’ve been thinking about it the past couple weeks and have decided for the first time in my blogging life, to attempt a weekly series.  I figure having a specific topic to write about on a specific day of the week adds some accountability and structure to my very unstructured, non-topic focused blog.  Therefore, I give you: Tips And Tricks Tuesdays… which does abbreviate to TATT, but will not (at least regularly) have anything at all to do with body art or the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago either.  No, Tuesdays will now be me sharing things that make my life a little simpler, easier, and more organized.  (And for that large percentage of my readership who sticks around strictly for pictures of the girls, I’ll try to sneak some of those in there too, okay?)

Hang on now, because here we go!

As the mother of two toddlers, I’m always searching for easy, healthy lunches to put on the table, because too often we get stuck in a rut alternating between PB&J and chicken nuggets when the lunch hour rolls around.  Most of my attempts at being creative have encountered resistance from my little connoisseurs, but we’ve had one resounding success: The Ice Cube Tray Sampler

I take two ice cube trays (I found our pair at the grocery store for $1) and fill each square up with whatever finger foods I can find in the kitchen, trying to get a rainbow of colors and a variety of textures.  At first I thought it might be challenging to find stuff to fill 12 squares, but it’s surprisingly easy.

We love crackers, croutons, pretzels sticks, cheese, lunch meat, bits of chicken or hamburger, frozen peas and corn, apple, orange, kiwi, banana and mango slices, pickles, cherry tomatoes, berries, carrot and celery sticks, ranch dip, raisins or other dried fruit, grapes, snow peas, etc, etc, etc.

I love whipping this out on days when I have zero mental energy and nothing in the cupboard seems to go with anything else.  It exposes the girls to the idea of trying lots of different foods and they think it’s so much fun.  They will keep me updated the whole meal through on how many empty squares they have, so it’s great for the counting skills too!

Yay for mealtime fun!

Okay, now it’s your turn!  What are your go to toddler meals?  Any tips or tricks to share?  I’d love some new ideas, so please leave yours in the comments!

12 thoughts on “TATT: A Simple Toddler Lunch

  1. looks like a fun lunch! Our lunches consist of dutch babies, pancakes, waffles, french toast, quesadillas, grilled cheese, mac and cheese and eggs. On Tuesdays at co-op the boys eat corndogs. As a special treat we sometimes have pizza or chicken nuggets. We usually have fruit, applesauce or yogurt as a side. My mom gave me this new recipe that the boys love: smash a banana, mix it with an egg. Put some of the batter into the frying pan and throw some blueberries onto it. Flip it over. Serve with syrup. It is like a super easy pancake!

    • I wish my girls liked quesadillas and grilled cheese, but they always pick at those when I make them. We do have eggs and toast on a fairly regular basis. I have to admit that I’m not sure about fried banana and egg…. really? They eat that? But it sounds super healthy, so I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks!

  2. One of the things I do for my grands.when making sandwitches, I use a cookie cutter to make different shapes. Letters, numbers,holiday shapes ect. They enjoy guessing what the shape is. I’m stealing your ice cube tray trick.

  3. Ava loves wraps. Anything in a wrap. So we do turkey and cheese with ranch, or just melted cheese. Our latest favorite (thanks to a continual craving of mine): Cucumber wrap. We mix cream cheese with chopped cucumber, add turkey (on hers) and lettuce, and then roll it up. Delicious!

    Ava is also into the crackers, cheese, deli meat, and sides options (usually raw veggies) Similar to your ice cube tray idea, but without the tray. I just put a bunch on a plate, and we share it. I like the tray idea- then we have our own, and I don’t have to pick up half-eaten carrots or pieces of cheese that she has put back on the plate.

    Like your girls, she doesn’t care for grilled cheese or the typical “kid” foods. And she will ALWAYS ALWAYS go for a salad. Lots of greens and a bit of dressing.

    • I’ve tried wraps, but my girls seem to find them hard to eat, since they sort of fall apart on them. Do you have any tricks for keeping them rolled tight?

      My girls say they want salad, but then they just eat the croutons, tomatoes, apples, craisins or whatever else is on top and leave the greens. Nice that Ava will eat them, it’s such a healthy thing to like.

      • Elise, I just fold the ends in first before rolling. Then I flatten it a bit to make it stick that way. I don’t seem to have a problem with it unfolding on her, especially if the tortilla is warmed a little. She used to unwrap it and pull all the insides out when she was younger, but now she just eats it how it comes.

        I would say your icecube tray idea is just as healthy as a salad, since they are getting all the colors and variety on the pyramid! I don’t add anything extra to her salad when I make it, because she would pick it apart, too! sometimes she doesn’t even get dressing, and she’ll just snack on lettuce.

  4. I found you on WFMW. Oh my goodness! This is probably the most wonderful idea I have ever heard. My daughter only wants a tiny bit of each type of food and then gets annoyed. I’m frustrated because she doesn’t eat a good variety of foods. Thanks so much for this!

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