Toddler Meal Ideas + What I Ate Wednesday

I really want sushi right now.

I haven’t been able to find sashimi grade tuna in what feels like an entire freaking lifetime and it’s starting to make me twitchy. (and dramatic) Sure I could go with my usual smoked salmon, shrimp tempura, and veggie rolls but c’mon now! I want it ALL.

Paul swears I suffer from Veruca Salt syndrome and he’s not entirely wrong.

When it comes to food, I want it NOW!

Luckily I have substantially more self control with material items. But food? The cravings are real. I wouldn’t want to be the guy standing between me and a tuna roll right now. Things could get messy!

I suppose since it’s What I Ate Wednesday, I’ll simply embrace the mess! I’m about to over-do it with the photos in just a moment, so let’s kick this collage style!

WIAW 223

[breakfast] 2 scrambled eggs and half an avocado [snack] a banana split with chicken little [lunch] shrimp caesar salad with a yummy test batch of my awesome homemade caesar dressing [snack] a slice of the cookie cake [recipe] I made my partner-in-crime L for her b-day after the chickpea decided to jump onto her original birthday cake. It was equal parts mortifying and hilarious. Sorry L! [dinner] Raided my freezer for a bowl of chicken tortilla soup [recipe] and topped it with all. the. tortilla. chips. You’ll probably see 1000 more bowls of this leading up to the move as I try to empty the contents of my freezer and pantry into my face.

I still owe you details on those shenanigans as well, stay tuned!

Sooooo… bear with me here, but I thought it would be fun to occasionally highlight the chickpea’s eats along with my own. Especially considering we’re always taking bites off each other’s plates anyways, it seemed fitting!

Here are a few of her recent lunches as we’ve upgraded from baby bites to toddler bites!

Toddler Bites: Mini Meals for Tiny Tummies

  • Avocado
  • Mandarin Oranges (packed in 100% juice)
  • organic strawberries
  • gluten-free butternut squash pancakes
  • chopped roasted chicken thighs seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder and a little butter

Toddler Bites: Mini Meals for Tiny Tummies

  • kiwi
  • organic strawberries
  • mandarin oranges (packed in 100% juice)
  • cabot sharp cheddar
  • organic additive-free beef hot dogs (peeled and sliced)
  • butternut squash pancake

Toddler Bites: Mini Meals for Tiny Tummies

  • black beans
  • freeze-dried apple slices
  • mandarin oranges
  • cucumber slices
  • organic additive-free Applegate beef hot dogs (peeled and sliced)

Toddler Bites: Mini Meals for Tiny Tummies

  • natural peanut butter and whole grain crackers
  • guacamole
  • greek yogurt
  • black bean tortilla chips (for dipping)
  • organic strawberries

Toddler and Pre-K Lunch Ideas

  • plain hummus
  • carrot sticks
  • cucumber slices
  • pita wedges
  • strawberries

As you can see, she’s totally going through a hardcore “kiddie food” phase and my once uber-adventerous eater is a little more cautious at this stage. Clocking in a few months shy of 2 years, this is totally normal! Lately, she tends to eat best when I keep each food separate and will branch out and try new items as long as they accompany old favorites.

The goal is to keep offering up whatever P and I are eating at each meal, in addition to the pre-prepped items I have on hand for her. Dining out a few times a month also gives us a chance to shake up her eating routine and try a variety of new foods. It’s always so surprising to see what she loves [bean dip!] and snubs [mashed potatoes!] when out of our element.

Ooh! And because I’m sure a few of you will ask, the little bento plate I use is the Innobaby Smart Stainless Divided Tray – to say we love this is the understatement of the century! It’s made meal-time super fun and I swear my little ankle biter sits in her chair longer and eats more of her meals when we use these trays. Heart it so. This adorable plate also just came out and looks like it needs a spot on our table too – so cute!

Looking for more ideas for your pint-sized family members?

baby bites + intro to baby led weaning

baby bites II

baby bites III

:: NEW! toddler and pre-k lunch ideas ::

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  • Peggy

    Thank you for continuing with your Toddler Bites series. My daughter is 20 months and is getting sooooo picky with food. Any recipes that you can suggest that your chickpea likes would be greatly appreciated!! Somedays all she wants is organic string cheese and nothing else (Sigh!!), want her to get her veggies in. Any suggestions or help would be soooo appreciated!!

    • Jenn

      Hey Peggy! I completely feel your frustration! There’s this innate choosiness that they’re hardwired to experience at this age [the distrust of new and different and even many familiar foods was a defense mechanism back in hunter/gatherer days] is tough to power through somedays – you’re not alone! Some days all my nugget wants is cereal with almond milk and other days it’s all black beans and pancakes. Have you made any of my muffin recipes yet? She goes ape over those and I load them up with veggies and sweeten them naturally. The pumpkin muffins and carrot butternut muffins are pretty much never turned down around here. Pesto and guacamole are basically a food group here too lol – I’m going to start blending spinach into the pesto — I’ll let you know how it goes!

      • Peggy

        OMG my daughter loved the carrot butternut muffins!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe, its so nice to know she is getting veggies in and they are too sweet. Please keep the recipes coming!!!

        • Jenn

          Yay!!!! I’m so so glad she loved them Peggy! As soon as I make a grocery run I’ll get back at testing a few new tot recipes! <3

  • Everything looks amazing!!

  • I have had a craving for Japanese food for a few days, too! No sushi, just katsu and white rice! The craving is real and I better take care of it soon I love the plate you use for your lovebug, where is it from? 🙂 xoxo, ganeeban

  • I’m thinking “Toddler Bites” should be a once a month thing for WIAW. Maybe the first or last of each month?

    That school bus (it is a bus, right?) plate is awesome, I’ll have to find one for my 18 month old daughter. Oh, and the eats on the bus are perfect for a well-rounded healthy diet!

    Thanks for hosting and sharing your toddler’s bites!

  • LOVE the tray! So cute and you are doing an awesome job with her food!

  • That bus tray is SO stinkin’ cute!! I’m certainly not a child, but I would totally eat out of that 😉

  • Matilda’s lunches often look pretty similar to your little one’s. She went through a phase for a while where she hated avocado and now she LOVES it. But she won’t eat strawberries. I think it is a texture thing.
    I jokingly call myself Hangry Heather from time to time, because Hanger is real!
    Thanks for hosting the link up!

  • Is it weird that I want those divided plates for myself?? So cute!!

    Also..I haven’t had sushi in like a year. And I’m craving it really badly. Let’s go together?? 🙂

  • Luna

    What a fun WIAW! Obviously you know your readers well because it is possible that I already looked on amazon to purchase that little plate…so darn perfect! Unfortunately I can’t breastfeed my little guys and I can’t WAIT to get to solid foods. This post was super inspiring for toddler eats;-) I hope you find your tuna soon!

  • Ivy

    Interested in the butternut squash pancakes – is there a recipe??? I think my 18 month old would love them.

    • Jenn

      Hey Ivy! They’re a huge hit with kids and adults around here! I use Pamela’s Gluten-Free pancake mix [it’s one of the very few pre-made mixes I adore] and instead of adding water I add pureed butternut squash or sweet potato and some milk. Top it off with a shake or two of cinnamon and they’re divine! I make them by sight/smell mostly but I’ll jot down measurements next time I make them if you’d like! xoxo

  • god bless hot dogs, avocados, and all kids of fruit! Without them my little guy wouldn’t be the pudgey good eater he is today! Hopefully when he keeps up this good eating. I may have just jinxed it for his 18mo milestone hahah!

    • Jenn

      Haha you’ve got this!!! They wax and wane a lot with preference but keep feeding those awesome foods you’re making and you’ll be a-okay! <3

  • The little bus plate is so cute! I wish they had those when I was growing up. I hated when my food touched!

  • Your toddler eats are so cute and look delicious! I’d eat them all… 😉 And YES, I’m with you about food cravings. I’m not a very happy person when something or someone stands in my way of a big one. Happy WIAW 🙂

  • If my plate looked like Mia’s I’d clean my plate every meal. Not that I don’t anyway…

  • I’m totally digging the little chickpea’s tray! I want one for myself… oh yeah, and maybe my kid too. 😉 Love that you decided to share some of her meals. I’m always looking for new ideas for Hunter!

    • Jenn

      Danke darling!

  • Two things: 1. I love that divided tray (I think it’s totally appropriate for adults to eat off of!). 2. I want sushi so bad now too.

    • Jenn

      Let’s go get sushi!!!! <3

  • Thanks for hosting the party, Jenn. And I’d actually really enjoy eating my meals of that lovely sectioned-off plate you have for little one! So cute!

  • I love seeing the kid-WIAW and I’ve done a few myself! Hot dog bites, cut up fruit and cucumbers, peppers and carrots are big favorites for our lunch boxes 🙂

    • Jenn

      Love it lady! I need to do more carrots now that she can eat them with all her new teeth! Good call! 🙂

  • That’s such a cute little tray! Ethan is starting to get more picky, and it’s pretty frustrating. Luckily he still loves fruit, and he’ll often eat his veggies if you give him some ketchup to dip them in. (Gross, I know)

    • Jenn

      My friend’s kiddo does the ketchup thing too! Super normal – fret not! =) He’ll be back to old habits in no time <3

  • I swear I have that syndrome too. I get really angry when I’m hungry! Love Chickpeas plate. It’s like a baby muffin tin!

    • Jenn

      Hangry is totally a thing 😉 Thanks Megan!

  • I’m 23 and still go through those phases of being a kid and wanting food RIGHT NOW! Especially ice cream…

    • Jenn

      Haha I think we all do =) Right now it’s sushi, tomorrow it’ll be bagels, then who knows! <3 Feed me!

  • Love that little tray, I may have to get some for my little guys! That 2 year old pickier phase is the worst, but it looks like she’s still doing pretty good for ya! We went from my son requesting salmon with puttanesca sauce for his 2 year old birthday dinner to a phase of all PBJ and yogurt for a coupe weeks, but he got through it! 😉

    • Jenn

      Right? I’m trying to see it as her inserting her independence which is totally a good thing! From what I’ve seen with my client’s and friend’s kiddos, it waxes and wanes quite a bit but they always go back to the healthy habits we helped them start! Rock on mama! <3 And thanks! 🙂

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