Toddler Dinners: What I Have Learned

I was trying to think of a concept for this week’s toddler dinners and in doing so had time to reflect.  I have been doing this for over 12 weeks. So while this post isn’t super long and informative, I wanted to let you know what this has done for me.

  • I realize I am lucky.  By doing the approval ratings for each day, I realize he is a rockstar.  In 12 weeks I think I have had on ranking lower than 5.  He doesn’t throw food in anger. He is excited to get to the table. He loves to see what he got tonight.  I hear audible gasps sometimes.  It really makes me feel good. This also lets me cut him some slack sometimes. We can’t all be rockstars every day…so I shouldn’t expect him to be after a long day. So thanks little Mann, you rock.
  • We have a lot to learn from one another. At first I thought this was a short lived idea but then I got emails and tweets and FB messages about how it has changed their habits.  Made them branch out and find new things their kids LOVE! I love helping people…hell it is 90% of why I blog. I also love seeing every one’s dinners each night. I think after the purees stage we are kinda on our own.  No one says “they can have salad now”.  It is trial and error and I am happy to be the guinea pig 🙂
  • This one is kinda simple but we eat more balanced meals.  Especially fruit.  Before Landon we did protein, grain and veggie almost always.  But since making dinners for Landon, I realized we were missing fruit.  Now I cut up an apple for all of us or make a fruit salad.
  • It helps with variety.  Not gonna lie.  If I have to show you every day, I am not going to give him the same thing EVERY DAY. Not that I really did before but this makes me more aware of it. With just writing it down, I start cataloging likes and dislikes.  New combos to try later. New tricks. It’s like a regular food diary.  You learn a lot just by writing it down.

So what have you learned that you want to share? And with that said, would you like a link up one week to share you week in toddler dinners? Or even just one night? I got burned with a link up before and I am a little gun shy.  Just let me know if you would be interested and I can make it happen.

Next week’s topic will be how closely Landon’s dinner matches ours and why I sub out things in some cases. I have had questions around that topic and I thought I would do a visual show of that throughout the week.

So here we go:

Toddler Dinners is my weekly series of posts to explore the world of feeding munchkins. Each Monday I will post our previous week’s meals and a rating on how they went as well as discuss numerous issues we all face. Find out more here. Also be sure to follow me along throughout the week with your creations on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #toddlerdinners.


  1. I suck at dinners (for all of us, not just the kids) because after cooking breakfast and lunch for three of us, I just don’t feel like cooking dinner for all four of us. Plus, I usually already have a sink full of dirty dishes from the other two meals and I dread cooking more and then having more to clean up. Another dinnertime hurdle we have is that Genevieve is allergic to legumes, which is where 80% of our protein came from since I don’t cook or eat meat. I’m so awful about just giving up and ordering takeout for dinner. Any suggestions or tips on how to not dread and resent dinnertime?

    • Hmmm. Well for saving sanity, could you just cook more of things for lunch and breakfast, then save for meals throughout the week? Buy a nice set of tupperware and just have “leftovers” on different nights.

      As for protein, that is a tough one. I have a few friends who are vegetarian but raise their kids with meat. She would get extras here at lunch of meat that was already cooked and take home. Or even precooked meats from the grocery store. Without legumes, I am not sure how you can get enough protein. Peanut butter? Dairy? But you start running out of options pretty quickly. Portebello mushrooms? Enriched pasta? That is all I can think of now but I am happy to ping my friends if you are interested in more ideas.

    • I am about six months late but here are some ideas:

      ~spend more time making dinner and eat leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day
      ~protein: chia seeds (you don’t have to do anything to them and can add them to anything – very healthy – fiber & very accessible omega 3s); greek yogurt; cheese; whole grain anything; farro; brown rice; a can of tuna or wild salmon for the kids; eggs

  2. I never thought of giving a toddler salad until I saw your toddler dinners, who knew my kid LOVES salad. Great way to get him meats and extra veggies especially when he’s being picky (like last night)

  3. I’m glad you addressed point 1. Nate was like Landon, would eat pretty much anything in front of him. Had preferences but never made a big deal about new foods. Alex was SO PICKY, he would cry the first 15 times he saw something. He chucked his birthday cake off the side of the tray. CAKE! We just kept trucking and eventually got him eating the food we eat.

  4. I love reading these and I love when I catch them on twitter live because sometimes it inspires me to make something different or try something new. One of the hardest things about dinner for me is that Brady is not always hungry…especially if he ate a lot for lunch or afternoon snack at daycare. I still offer it all but sometimes he just is not interested. I would love to link up (not this week but shiz is crazy in my world) but I think I could for sure swing it next week or the following!

    • Yeah sometimes I can tell he isn’t super hungry. I don’t push it. We cut back snacks at home. They snack much earlier at daycare so it doesn’t seem to matter.

  5. I love these too. not just for ideas of things I can put on her plate, but the actual plates! I found a bunch at Target a few weeks ago and now she loves eating off of plates that have separate areas and I’m better at making sure I give her more variety in her diet (although sometimes the little part of the tray is for ketchup! O well.)

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published