In our house, we do what I like to call lazy lunches. I started calling them that because they consist entirely of finger foods and I put them out on the coffee table for Isaac to graze. He naps right at noon so I make his lunch at about 11:30, set it out and let him eat for the entire half hour before he goes to sleep. I also wanted him to learn to eat off of a plate and out of a bowl.
Here are some of Isaac's favorites. Isaac is 16 months old.
[toasted whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter. dried strawberries. cut up grapes]
[fruit salad: strawberries, grapes, apples, oranges, bananas. wheat thins with cream cheese]
[cut up string cheese. plain corn nuts (from the bulk bin at Sprouts). cut up mango and banana]
[scrambled egg. raisins. broken up granola bar]
[homemade whole wheat blueberry waffles. cut up fruit: strawberries and grapes]
Here's how I go about making all of his meals: I make sure there is always a "main course". In the morning, it's almost always a scrambled egg (he loves eggs). For lunch or dinner it will be something like pancakes/waffles with fruit, crackers with cream cheese, toast with jelly or peanut butter, a quesadilla, or a bean and guacamole tostada. He refuses to eat the usual: chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and I'm okay with that!
Then with it, I'll add fruit (he rarely eats veggies on their own. I have to hide them in other food) and some kind of dairy: usually cheese or yogurt.
What I like to see in every meal: a grain, fruit or veggie, dairy, and protien. Of course that doesn't always happen, but I think it's a good rule of thumb. As you can tell from the examples above, there are usually three "courses" in each of his meals.
Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, Isaac also eats a morning snack at around 10:15 and he gets a "post-nap pretzel" as soon as he wakes up. Other than that, he'll drink milk in the morning, water all day long and usually a cup of orange or apple juice (if I'm feeling nice :) at some point.
Feeding a picky toddler can be very challenging! But I think the secret is to figure out what they really like, rotate those things often enough that they don't get bored and don't let them snack too much during the day. You want hungry babies at meal time so they eat all the good, healthy stuff!
What meals to you feed your toddlers?? I'm always looking for new ideas!!
For more pre-toddler and toddler meal ideas, check out the lazy lunches series here