Childrearing

Making Lunch For A Toddler In 10 Easy Steps

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toddler-girl-eatingWe know you’re not a short order cook, but your toddler? Well, they didn’t get that memo. Or they tore it up and ate it. Either way, when it comes to feeding a toddler, you’ve got a picky diner on your hands and I don’t just mean “picky” in terms of food. Maybe you’re an award-winning parent whose tot dines on caviar and raw kale, but I’m willing to bet they still freak out if those foods touch. To make your life just a little bit easier, here are 10 easy steps to making a toddler lunch:

1. Decide what you’re going to make, but tell your toddler you’re making something totally different so they can start bargaining and by the time they’ve exhausted all attempts to get cookies and candy, your food choice looks like a reasonable compromise. They never had options, of course, but best to let them think otherwise.

2. Gather your supplies and try not to get annoyed when they start begging for a snack while you’re in the middle of cutting things up for their meal.

3. Pick out a plate. Think about their possible reaction to said plate and decide to go with a different one. It’s still probably the wrong choice, but you won’t know that until you’ve gotten everything arranged and by then it’s too late. They can use the one they wanted at dinner time, you’ll eventually promise through gritted teeth.

4. Find utensils. In case you’re unsure, they want the one that’s dirty and in mid-wash in the dishwasher. Either that, or the one with the race cars on it that you accidentally busted up in the garbage disposal last week. Go with whatever is in the drawer and then use your peppiest voice to say things like, “The green fork! Green like grass and your favorite ball! You love green! Super heroes eat with green forks! All of grandma’s forks are green!”

5. Grab a cup. No, not that one. Not that one, either. Get the other one. Get the one they left on the floor of Aunt Cindy’s car when you went to Pennsylvania last Christmas. Okay, good. Now fill it with juice. No, milk. No, juice. Water? I don’t want water!

6. Serve the meal. Don’t forget the napkin, and for God’s sake don’t let that napkin be wrinkled.

7. They need ketchup for their apples. It doesn’t need to make sense to you, okay? They just really need it. No, peanut butter is not okay. Today is Wednesday and peanut butter only tastes acceptable on Saturdays.

8. Start making yourself a plate while they gingerly bite off the top half of a single grain of rice. Smile and talk about how yummy the food is. Really lay it on thick. Thicker! Your life depends on this.

9. Watch them slather an apple in ketchup and dip it in their water before licking it and announcing that they’re done. Encourage them to take a few more bites, but don’t push too hard because you don’t want to give them a clean-your-plate complex. Warn them there will be no snacking until after nap time. Repeat that over and over again while they beg for Goldfish.

10. Eat your lunch, then theirs, picking carefully around the ketchup apples and deciding you’re just going to start throwing their meals directly into the garbage so there are fewer dirty dishes to wash.

(Photo:  / Shutterstock)

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