Make Meals Fun!

One of my favorite tips for Parents of Picky Eaters is to make meals FUN! Novelty and imagination goes such a long way with little ones!

It can transform a normal meal into something completely new and exciting with something as simple and quick as cookie cutter & a sandwhich– and in less than 5 minutes!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my full disclosure here.

Advertisements

Fun Shapes

Cutting out shapes from larger pieces of food and vegetables/fruits can make the most mundane foods interesting again! Now its no longer a carrot but a heart, star, or even a bunny!

Learning letters & numbers can be fun and nutritious with these little helpers!

Advertisements

Food Picks

We are a HUGE fan of food picks! They take meals to an entirely new level. In the beginning, we used “Starbucks drink stoppers” because of their blunted ends. As Jax mastered those, we moved on to more advanced food picks.

These “Starbucks drink stoppers” come with my coffee so I save and reuse them! They are the perfect shape and size for little ones. The ends are rounded!

Its amazing how now meals aren’t just “lunch/snack/dinner” to Jax but now they are “construction sites/jungles/zoo” or any other place we can make up!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my full disclosure here.

Our amazing RD mom-friend, Dashelyn, hand makes these adorable food picks! We began using these after Jax was about 18 months and he is obsessed. Check out here full website here.

Fun Containers

I have recently found my love for reusable cupcake liners – and not just for baking! I use them to divide up sections of our travel containers or I will use them on Jax’s plate to separate different foods. One of my tips for Parenting a Picky Eater is to look for ways to deconstruct what the adult is eating so that your little one can learn and experience each component individually. Check out more about that here.

Advertisements

Fun Utensils

In the beginning, these are perfect utensils for allowing your baby to learn to self feed!

Although these are also great for beginning BLW, they can continue being used for much longer! Jax is almost 2 and a half and still uses them daily. They also clean really easily.

Utensils do not have to be boring! Check out both of these sets. I especially love the construction utsensils! Those are next on our list to purchase.

Plates

Our “signature blue plate” that is featured in our IG post is from Target and quite honestly a STEAL!

No, seriously. It’s only $0.59 for a plate. And I know what your thinking- “At that price they must not last long.” But I am here to tell you just how wrong that is, my friend! These plate are unbelievably durable. I have been using the same 4 plates on rotation for almost 2 years now and they still look brand new– not even marinara sauce or curry leave a trace! They are also BPA free.

Many babies go through the “plate throwing phase” and while it is normal- it can also be frustrating and messy. These plate are awesome because they suction to the table or highchair tray!

I started using our “signature plate” when Jax was only a few months old however since then I have been slowly working to reduce our plastic usage. Some other really great plates that we love (and that don’t get their time in the IG spot light as often) are these stainless steel plates!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my full disclosure here.

Cups

When Jax was beginning BLW we started off with this straw cup. The straw is weighted at the end which helps prevent frustration for babies just learning our to hold and drink liquids.

Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Straw Cup, 7 Ounce, Blue
Advertisements

Another great cup to start with is an open cup like this one from EZPZ. These cups are intended to be used starting at 6 months old which is also when self feeding begins! They are the perfect size for little hands.

Recently, we have begun using this stainless steal cup. Jax is obsessed with Paw Patrol so by letting him pick out a “special cup” it makes drinking water more exciting!

Here are a few other well reviewed insulated cups (just in case your little one isn’t Paw Patrol obsessed like mine):

On-the-Go

Zulay Kids Bento Box Lunch Box – Durable, Leak-Proof with Toddler-Friendly Latches for Easy Access & 5 Perfectly Proportioned Kid-Sized Compartments – BPA-Free Bento Box Containers with Removable Tray

Currently, our lunch box of choice is from Zulay Kitchen. It is a bento box perfect for toddlers and preschoolers! The compartments are small but deep and in a variety of sizes.

I love these smaller containers from Sistema! Two of the he rectangular silicon cupcake liners (shown above) fit perfectly in each side of the container. This allows me to do an array of foods on the go which is especially important for littles who have difficulty with their foods touching. I also like using them to prevent things like cut berries or grapes from leaching juice onto other foods such as crackers.

Here are few other highly reviewed lunch boxes! Personally, I’m in love with the unicorn lunch box.

Another really amazing product for on the go are these BumKins reusable bags! I throw some dried or freeze dried fruit and crackers into this, sitck it in my purse, and head out! No worries about being out running errands too long and ending up with a “hangry” (hungry + angry) toddler. They also help to cut down on single use plastics! They are dishwasher (top rack) safe and also waterproof (so no leaking fruits in the diaper bag if I pack something fresh)!

Another product I have come to love recently are these reusable food pouches! Pouches aren’t my favorite way to feed toddlers because it prevents them from interacting and learning new textures and flavors. However, they are such a huge help for times and foods that self feeding wouldn’t be possilbe- like at daycare/school or while traveling! These open at the end with a zipper. I use a bottle brush to clean them after use and then sanitize them in the top rack of the dishwasher. I have been using the same one for close to a month for Jax’s school lunch and I have not had any leaking yet. It also cleans much easier than I expected and are pretty easy to fill, too.

Most Importantly- ENGAGE!

The best way to help your little one have fun during a meal is by our engaging with them. Particularly in a way that they can understand! This can be a simple as using familiar words (color, shape, size) to describe foods.

Imaginative play can be a great way to help engage toddlers in meals! Preloading a bite of food on an animal food pick and asking your little one to make it “walk into the water” (dipping sauce: See a full list of nutritious dips here) can help them become confrotable with a new food. Also, including a familiar dipping sauce can be a huge help for learning to like new foods. Check out more tips for Parenting a Picky Eater here!

**The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. For more information please read our full disclaimer here.**

Published by snackswithjax

Sarah is the creator and mom behind "Snacks with Jax", a social media community of over 85,000 parents/caregivers, where she shares her son's meals, nutrition information, and evidence-based tips for feeding children. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition emphasizing in Wellness from Texas Woman's University and years of experience as a culinary instructor working with ages 2+. She has coached hundreds of parents & caregivers through the journey introducing solids to babies and also navigating picky eating with toddlers and older children. Her focus is on establishing a life-long healthy relationship with food for children while also empowering, encouraging, and educating their adult caregivers.

2 thoughts on “Make Meals Fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: