Creative Toddler Lunches

I'm fortunate to have a toddler who's only somewhat of a picky eater.  There are food phases he goes in and out of, but he's always asking for crackers.  Animal crackers, goldfish crackers, regular crackers...he could survive on only crackers and milk, if I let him.  It's taken some creativity to get him to eat more variety.  [...]

This meal brought to you by our trip to Trader Joe's.  Ok, not really---they didn't pay for it---but it was cobbled together as I was unloading our groceries at home.

Turns out, our little guy likes little foods (mini pockets!) and fruit that's pureed.  He's been on an anti-fruit kick for a while.  But the "squeezy fruit" as he calls it is perfect.  I was skeptical that he'd like the mixture of apple, carrot, pumpkin, etc., but he did.

Other creative ideas we've come up with lately:

Hummus and pita strips.  Roasted red pepper hummus with bite-size pieces of pita already stuck in the hummus.  Then when he pulls them out of the dip, he HAS to eat the hummus to get his favorite thing, the bread.

Carrots and dip. With this, it's all in how I sell it.  I used lots of adjectives (i.e., "let's have CRUNCHY,  ORANGE carrots!") and he bought my act. Plus, I put the dip in a very tiny container.  Why does my 2-year-old like miniature food?  I have no idea.  But I roll with it.

Anything cut with a cookie cutter.  Cheese, sandwiches, cheese sandwiches...toast...the list goes on.  If it's cut in a fun shape (we have duckies, foot-shaped cookie cutters, Noah's ark, and more), he'll eat it.  Even if he just refused the same food cut in a normal shape.

Anything called "nuggets" or "dippers."  Frankly, we don't eat fast food except when traveling, but I've taken cues from them about marketing food to kids.  And that's all we're doing when we try to get kids to eat something, right?  Marketing?

Oatmeal with "sprinkles."  Really, I started with plain oatmeal and gave him a tiny container of brown sugar.  Never mind that he ate the two separately---he ate his oatmeal.  And sometimes even asks for oatmeal with sprinkles right when he wakes up in the morning!

I'll post more ideas as they come.

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