With growing, teething, and increased interest in food, toddlers eat a lot throughout the day. For me, this means my toddler snacks all day long and eats regular meals. The problem that I had was either she was always asking for the same food or I was not varying what I gave her… and by the end of the day I had no idea how much she had eaten or what! This made grocery shopping more difficult and I began to feel like the only 3 things in my daughter’s diet were strawberries, blackberries, and bunny crackers. Therefore, I had to devise a better plan since I knew she would be snacking throughout the day and that I wanted her to have well-rounded nutrition. Now with a major growth spurt in full swing, I also want to make sure I am feeding her body and brain to get balanced nutrients and vitamins.
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In the end, what works? Pre-planned portioning of food. I can make sure that she has had a variety of colors, fruits, veggies, grains, fats, etc. and know just how much she has eaten so I can shop better too. Now my toddler not only knows that she needs to complete what is in each container before she has something new, but she also knows that in order to get food, it must be in a bowl, on a plate, or in one of her portion containers.
The way I choose to look at the way my daughter eats now is through one of two ways: portions and/or options. Instead of being overwhelmed by the amount of food, I can feel very comfortable that she is not getting stuck in food ruts and that she gets exposure to a large variety of options.
In the end we have found a few different containers that have, functionally, worked very well for us especially with a toddler.
- Amco Round Condiment Cups – Ours are around a half cup capacity and are the PERFECT bowl size for toddlers. Typically this is my first course of action when she is hungry and wants food. They are super high quality, not plastic, not breakable, and very handy. Since it’s about a half cup of whatever is in it, it gives me a better idea of what she is eating.
- Green Sprouts Silicone Tray – Also super helpful in preparing healthy toddler snacks, this tray has been a great way to give our daughter a variety. Each little cube (really meant for pureed baby food) is an ounce, so again I know how much she has eaten. I also like that I can give her variety by making her choices colorful and sometimes even in a rainbow. Having to pick up each item, like a clementine wedge, out of the cube is also a great way for her to work those fine motor skills. This is also not breakable and not plastic which is a great option for us. I also like that it’s silicone so if I do freeze yogurt cube or something, it’s easy to pop out.
- BEABA Multiportions Containers – beaba’s portioned containers are awesome. They too are intended for baby food, but I use them for everything toddler food related. Again, I can provide portion and variety, but also IT HAS A LID! Furthermore, They are a great size to make smoothie Popsicles (just add a stick and freeze; pop out and store in a bag or other container). I really like these containers for toddler food too because I can include a portion of apples in one and next to it a portion of peanut butter.
- One cup glass bowls – while breakable, this is something our family has chosen as still a viable option. We like to teach respect and responsibility for the potentially dangerous and since we don’t do plastic, anything that is see-through could break. I do the same thing with these bowls as the metal ones, but these are just something I pick up when needed as pare bowls.
In the end, my toddler is not eating all “junk” food, she is not getting hung up on wanting to eat just one food, we are teaching her both the “one bite rule” and to understand patterns (“If you want to eat more grapes, you have to finish your cheese” type of statements), AND she has a healthy variety of food especially in growth spurts
How have you helped your toddler and kids eat more of a variety?
For similar articles on nutrition, check out some of our other sources by clicking the images below:
Raising a Non-Picky Eater | Baby Led Weaning | Dehydrated Snacks
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!