I don’t know about you but it’s easy for me to get stuck in a rut when it comes to feeding my toddler. I can offer the same foods over and over and over. I’d really like to raise a healthy eater though (and I’m hoping this one won’t be as picky as child number one), so I need to make more of an effort to offer new foods and a larger variety at each meal.
Enter muffin tin meals…
How genius is this? The muffin tin makes for a fun presentation and ensures that I offer at least six different food items in toddler-friendly portions. Here’s a slideshow, showing our muffin tin meal at various stages of creation and consumption with notes and tips along the way.
Prepare your muffin tins 1 of 8I used silicone reusable muffin cups to line our muffin tins. This is strictly optional, but makes the meal extra colorful and fun. These are Wilton cups purchased at a Michael's craft supply store.
Choose an assortment of healthy food 2 of 8I chose foods to represent each of the colors of the rainbow.
Cut your food to fit into the muffin tin sections 3 of 8To make little heart "sandwiches," I spread some mayonaise on a tortilla, added a layer of sliced turkey, then used heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut them out.
Cookie cutters make food fun 4 of 8Tiny heart-shaped cheese pieces were cut with a mini cookie cutter.
Assemble the muffin tin meals 5 of 8I created identical meals for both of my children using the rainbow as inspiration: red watermelon, orange cheese, yellow (oh, okay, white) open-faced turkey sandwich, green avocado, blue frozen blueberries, and purple grapes (sliced in half for the toddler).
Time to eat 6 of 8What a happy, yummy lunch!
Eating together 7 of 8My two daughters both enjoyed their muffin tin meals immensely (which is not to say that they ate everything, but it was a start). And yeah, I think I need to buy a second 6-cup muffin tin. Using half of a 12-cup muffin tin is a little silly.
A new tradition? 8 of 8This worked so well that we may make muffin tin meals regularly for lunch. My goal? To try it everyday for at least one week.
Muffin tin meals are not a new idea. There are posts and visual inspiration all over the web about them. To help you get started, check out the following links:
Muffin Tin Mom The muffin tin meal maven. She runs weekly Muffin Tin Mondays with people linking up and posting images and links to their own muffin tin meals.
Muffin Tin Monday: America’s Answer to the Bento A great article about getting starting with ideas for equipment and fun themes.
17 tips for feeding picky eaters Not about muffin tin meals, per se (although a “nibble tray” is suggested), this article offers some excellent advice from Dr. Sears on raising toddlers to be healthy eaters.
Learning during lunch with muffin tin meals – Amy at Teach Mama turns each muffin tin meal into a sneaky lesson on colors, counting, or categorizing.
Fill these sweet tins with Babble’s Best Recipe: Chocolate Chip Muffins!