Quite a few people asked about my creative dinners after I posted the pictures of our happy face dinner and Christmas Tree dinner.
I regularly create fun formations with the kiddos’ food. I think it’s been key in their awesome food tastes. And the fact that we have a few strict food rules:
#1 We all eat the same thing
#2 You have to try it (as in 3 big bites not a lil’ nibble)
#3 If you don’t eat the meal you won’t get anything else to eat
Did you know it takes about 20 tries before a child may “like” a food? I’m not talking 20 bites, more like 20 knock-down-drag-outs of full meals (or 20 full baby food jars). Another great thing to do is get as many tastes AND textures into those sweet lil’ mouths within the first 2 years. Those first tastes are more important than you’ll ever know. (Check out Dr Alan Greene’s site as well as his book Feeding Baby Green. I’ve chatted with him and he is AMAZING!)
I thought I would share a few of my other creations!
Pasta w/ cream sauce & veggies, edamame, cucumber and garlic bread.
Spaghetti w/ meatballs, snap peas & cherry tomatoes.
Meatloaf (filled with herbs cheese and veggies), veggie stew (onions, tomatoes, celery & squash) and blueberries.
Pork loin, herb red potatoes and green beans.
Sometimes I’ll start with a salad appetizer. I’ve noticed they eat their veggies faster if the main part of the meal isn’t on the table.
My kiddos will eat salmon, Indian food, and veggies galore. Just make the food fun and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what they try. But be firm. If our kiddos don’t try a new food with 3 big bites (rule #2), the turned away vittles will be waiting for them to eat first at their next meal. About a year ago Cora Jane didn’t want to try some new herb chicken for dinner. It was waiting for her the next morning for breakfast (refrigerated through the night, of course), but she still turned her nose up at it. She was starving by lunch, and you know what? She ate the chicken. And loved it! It’s not like I’m serving liver and onions!
For lunch I serve more “kid food.” Mostly because I’m lazy and sandwiches are so darn easy (and inexpensive) to make. I don’t even mind taking requests or making PB & J for one and turkey for another. For me it’s no big deal to make different sandwiches (sometimes). It’s not like I’m having to cook two entirely different meals.
I tend to do faces a lot but just setting the food out in a cute way is also effective for my kiddos. I’ll put explanations on my more abstract creations! Sometimes the sillier a scene looks the more the kiddos are engaged. I love making up stories about the shapes or asking them what they see.
PB & J, cheese slices and oranges. (flower)
PB & J sliced turkey and oranges. (mushroom on orange grass)
Turkey melt, goldfish, oranges and cherry tomatoes. (butterfly flying in an orange sky over red and orange flowers)
PB & J, pears and strawberries. (I was just making shapes but Eli thought it was a maze and Cora Jane thought it was a cross)
Turkey & cheese sandwich, oranges and mozzarella cheese. (butterfly flying over orange flowers)
Bagel w/ cream cheese, olives and carrots. (House – bagel roof, carrot door and olive windows. This was right after Easter and we had loads of olives to get rid of!)
Bagel w/ cream cheese, hot dogs and sliced turkey. (I’m so embarrassed by this lunch but I remember our cupboards were bare and I couldn’t get to the store before lunch/naps. But the face is cute!)
PB & J, cheese slice, strawberries and apples. (abstract art… star?… firework?)
PB & J, cucumbers & carrots. (pac man chomping his veggies)
Chicken nuggets, cucumbers and carrots. (sleeping curly haired baby. Note – I had to try to explain who pac man was to the kiddos)
Turkey and cheese sandwich, turkey slice, cheese and crackers. (cracker pirate ship with bread sails)
Turkey and cheese sandwich, tomatoes, carrot and cucumbers. (clown)
Chicken nuggets, hot dog, cucumber and asparagus. (Dinos marching on grassy hills)
Warning: You will start getting requests!! For pictures not food!!
On this particular day Eli wanted a pirate ship sailing in the ocean to an island with a snowy volcano on a sunny day. (PB & J on rolls = the mountain; cheese slices = snow; tomatoes = ocean; snap pea = pirate ship; circle of cheese = sun)