It takes an army…

Well maybe not an army, but I definitely think feeding a young one requires an arsenal of sorts…

I’ve never felt the need to classify my son as a picky eater.  In fact, I’d say he’s anything BUT a picky eater.  But it takes some finesse, and a little bit of trickery, to get him to eat certain things.  If it’s over noodles or within some type of bread, we all win.  I do think that if I let him he’d actually eat a noodle sandwich…

There was a time when I could set a meal of chicken, carrots, and potatoes in front of him, neatly divided in his little compartment plate, ready for eager little fingers to dive in.  Fast forward to the days when stubbornness dominates curiosity and the willingness to “try anything” fades away.   Time for me to get creative; I refuse to make PB&J and grilled cheese our dinnertime staples.  Nothing wrong with those two items – they are loved and eaten often in our house – but variety is the spice of life, even for a toddler.  And quite frankly, it’s almost like a game for me.  Decide what I want him to eat, figure out how I’ll get him to eat it, then sit back and hope for a victory….

I love food and I love to cook, so I don’t consider dinnertime a burden per se.  But I understand that not all parents feel that way; trying to come up with something for you to eat AND dealing with a pint-sized picky eater at the same time can be daunting.  In a perfect world all kids will happily nosh on whatever the grownups eat.  In a perfect world…  But we all know that with kids we often become short-order cooks to accommodate their less accepting taste buds.  In my relatively short time as a parent I’ve developed some tricks and techniques that ensure my little guy eats a variety of healthy things, while at the same time utilizing a lot of the same foods I’ve prepared for my husband’s and my dinner.  Will it work for everyone?  Probably not.  But if my suggestions can somehow ease the nightmare of your own mealtime experiences, I consider that a win.

During the week I’m responsible for my son’s breakfast and dinner, and daycare provides his lunch and 2 snacks.  I know he rarely eats his veggies at daycare, and the rest of the stuff is OK but probably not straight out of a healthy cookbook.  So I try to make sure that his meals at home are balanced and tasty.  And I will in no way try to make you believe that I don’t whip up grilled cheese, PB&J, or a box of mac ‘n cheese here and there.  We’re all human and need a break sometimes!

Let me share with you some important weapons in my dinner-making arsenal…

1.       Slow cooker

2.       Chopper or food processor of some sort – doesn’t need to be fancy or big

3.       Fresh spinach

4.       Bread or noodles to assist with a fake-out here and there

My goal is to share tips, tricks, and my experiences during dinner time with my little fella.  I think it’s only fair to also share the not-so-successful stories, which are often humorous and result in my son eating a peanut butter sandwich.  But let’s start with some ideas that work well around our house.  Stay tuned!

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