Toddler Dinners: Teaching Moments

I was wondering what to talk about this week and then we went to the children’s  museum and it hit me. While I give Landon balanced meals for his health, I am also building teachable moments. He has healthy expectations.  There is always veggies, fruit, grains and protein for him. Now I know he doesn’t know what is a protein or not but he knows it fills him up. He gets to pick his fruit and veggie most nights based on choices I give him. Heck he even dictates the veggie we all have sometimes. Daycare comes behind and follows suit…so we are always teaching.

Part of me giving him variety really teaches him to never “expect” anything.  Dinner is kind of always a surprise.  He often runs to the high chair yelling “MAH DINNA MAH DINNA! *GASP* Mama what is it???” In this, he is constantly trying new things and learning it is 0k to try. It is also helping us set our expectations.

My expectation is that he try it.  I understand he can’t like everything (I mean look at his daddy…hehe). With every passing week, he is getting better at expressing what he does and doesn’t like.  He eats the bite (without spitting it out) and sometimes says “those potatoes are yucky” or “this is yummy!”. I have learned he loves couscous more than rice. He prefers pasta plain. He even likes his mangoes “icey cold”. We work together and compromise without giving up healthy options.

With working full time, we have to use our few hours wisely. We are learning together how to make meal times pleasurable for the whole family.  We want as few meltdowns as possible for all of us to be in a better mood about our day. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned and there is timeout breaks during dinner but ya know what? He almost 99% of the time goes back to eating nicely and saying thank you. It is all a balancing act…and I hope I am doing it right 🙂

Do you use dinner as a teachable moment? Do you get your kids to help cook? Let me know below!


And for a few dinners from our week:


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.

5 thoughts on “Toddler Dinners: Teaching Moments

  • March 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I love this! I am always on a mama mission to be less controlling about things like food.
    giving choices and having reasonable and age appropriate expectations. Sounds like a plan 🙂

    • March 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      It has taken some time to realize it but kinda proud of myself

  • April 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    This is great! I have three kids, twins age 3 and a 16 month old. They are great eaters and I think it is because we exposed them to a large variety of foods from a very early age. When they were babies I used to puree or chunk up whatever we were eating for dinner. They will eat Indian, Thai, Mexican, anything! These look like great meals!

    • April 2, 2012 at 8:04 am

      Always good to hear! Stay tuned each week for more ideas!


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