Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Preparing Tiny Meals

I enjoy fixing meals for my family and try hard to plan meals that offer variety, healthy options and are delicious.  It can be frustrating to be a chef to the tiny people in your house because
A. They love something one day and hate it the next
B. They may completely ignore their plate of food
C. They want to snack all day instead of eating bigger portions at meal time
D. All of the above

I wanted to share some easy meal options that Olive enjoys with you today. She's 2.5 and these things are her current favorites.  She does not have any allergies that we know of so we just try to offer a balanced diet to her.  We almost always give her the same meal that we are having with appropriate modifications - an alternate item if something is spicy, deconstructed dishes - all the same ingredients as ours, but they are all separate and she's a pretty good eater.  She's pretty proficient at eating with a spoon and fork and seems really eager to do what we're doing at meal time.

A Few Food Tips:
I've noticed that I have to introduce a new food item 3-4 times for her to get on board with it.  She'll often play with it or try to give it away at the beginning, but then she'll usually end up giving it a try. 

The presentation is also important - if I give her half a banana she won't eat it, but if I slice it up and give her a fork she will, she prefers her strawberries whole, pretzel sticks are her preferred pretzel shape, etc.  I had to figure that stuff out with trial and error and I imagine that would be the case with any kids.  Sometimes I'll ask her input on how she wants something cut up.

 Offer your kids what you are eating and expect them to eat it as long as it's not too spicy or a choking hazard.  I made chicken noodle soup recently and she was eager to get a bowl of her own.  She ate it like a big girl and loved it.  She's also been asking for cereal in a bowl with milk instead of dry.  Ask your child's input if you've got time.  We don't always have the same meal, but I try to plan it that way to save myself time and energy.

She'll eat nearly anything if I offer to share what's on my plate with her.  While I don't love sharing a plate, I love seeing her try new things so I do it.

Each kiddo or each family has their own food routine.  Olive isn't hungry when she wakes up, but seems starving a couple of hours later.  Her dad is the same way.  She's a slow eater so I often leave her plate out for her to finish instead of tossing it and having to prepare a snack later.  She'll usually clean her plate, but it doesn't happen in one sitting.

Offer a variety of things to your kid to eat, but don't give them so many options at each meal that it's overwhelming to them.  I try not to introduce more than one or two new foods at a time.  I'll usually add the new item to a plate of things I know she likes.

Make the meals as colorful as possible.  Eat the rainbow!

She wolfs down any form of turkey sausage or turkey pepperoni.  I buy the precooked Jimmy Dean variety and it's always gone first.
She'll eat steak, brats, hamburger, ground turkey and chicken but has yet to learn to love chicken breasts.  She loves cheese, fruit, veggies, almonds, hummus, pretzels, tortillas, carbs, olives and salsa.

Many of these photos are from lunch.
You can find dinner ideas here in my January Recipe Round Up

yogurt + granola + fruit
granola bars
gold fish or any crackers
cheese & pretzels
apple slices
skinny pop popcorn
peanut butter + apples/pretzels

What do you feed the tiny people in your house??
I'm always looking to introduce new things to Olive or new sources of inspiration for meals so recommend all of your favorite food bloggers, instagrammers or yourself in the comments.


  1. I agree that it's all in the presentation! My kids won't eat something if it doesn't look visually appealing to them, so I have to be creative in finding ways to fix it so that they'll try it.

  2. You do a great job offering Olive healthy meals!! Wow, I'm impressed at the variety!!! Toddler picky eaters are so strange, aren't they?? Austin LOVES cheese, but only if it's not melted. If it's melted, he won't touch it. All these little things you have to find out!!

  3. Oh one day they love something and the next they don't. I try to mix it up just like you do, and presentation is key. Great tips!

  4. Yes! Emily is always changing her mind on foods... and she is 5! It looks like Miss Olive is a really great eater though. I'd love it if she even considered some kind of vegetable, sigh.

  5. Girlfriend, you are a pro! These meals are all so cute!

  6. Super cute meals!! I learned early on that if they're hungry they will eat (even if they say they don't like it)!

  7. Great tips! My Hal is queen of liking something one day and not the next!

  8. When I see the plates you fix for Olive, I always want one too. I love all the variety you offer her. Jack eats what we eat most of the time. If we are eating something I know he will not eat then he usually gets mini corndogs because I know he will eat them. Toddlers are just weird. We had shrimp and fries for supper last night so I gave him fries and a peanut butter/honey sandwich (two things I know he likes). He wouldn't eat any of it. I need to try some pepperonis. I think Jack would like them. Jack likes spicy food and I don't and he doens't like cold food but yet loves ice. Toddlers are so crazy.

  9. I won't lie, your selections for Olive are very appealing to me at the age of 27, haha. I love that you put such thought into the foods (like with colors and themes).


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Smiles, Whitney