Paid partnership with Crunch Pak
Parenting comes with its fair share of challenges, but let’s be real: There’s literally nothing that compares to negotiating with a toddler at mealtime. I used to wrack my brain trying to come up with delicious meals my kids would actually eat, until the pediatrician gave me a little piece of advice that saved my sanity: forget meals — let them snack.
I remember blinking at him several times in confusion. Was he really green-lighting me to forgo the hours spent hovering over the stove each night, in favor of making small snacks the kids could just munch on wherever?
Yes; yes, he was. And I was more than happy to put the pedal to the metal and blow through that traffic light.
As it turned out, snacks instead of meals worked like a charm for my kids, and it may have been what single-handedly got me through those tumultuous toddler years.
But recently, I got to thinking: Why should these kids have all the fun? I like snacks. Correction: I LOVE snacks. And I can eat several small meals a day, no problemo. In fact, I’m great at eating all day.
I decided to see what it’s like on the other side of this culinary battlefield for a change. So, I gave myself the green light to eat the way I used to feed my kids when they were toddlers — and let me tell you, it was kind of freeing.
BREAKFAST — 8:00 A.M.
I woke up hungry (because I’m always hungry, if I’m being honest). Since my kids were happy with a frozen pancake or waffle in the morning when they were toddlers, I popped a waffle into the toaster. I opted for butter and cinnamon sugar on my soft and crunchy grid of love and sat down to watch morning cartoons. (Hey, if I was going to fully embrace this toddler thing, I might as well go big or go home, right?)
In my house, this particular breakfast is known as my signature “Katey Waffle,” and it’s a pretty big hit. My daughter’s friends even have contests to see who can eat the most in one meal. So far, two of them are tied for five waffles in one sitting. But because no man, woman, or child can live on carbs alone, I threw some sliced strawberries into the mix. Delish.
MORNING SNACK — 11:00 AM
I had some writing to get done, so I headed to a nearby park. Before I did though, I threw a Foodles Crunch Pak into my bag, because travel snacks are très important. After all, nobody wants a hangry toddler — er, 40-year-old woman — on their hands.
These little babies are the perfect on-the-go snack for anyone, but especially a mom with small kids. (Honestly, you might find yourself wanting to pack two — one for your kid, and one for you — because they’re that good). They come in different food combos, so you can choose between things like apple slices, cheese squares, and pretzels, and peeled applies with Mickey-shaped crackers and cheese.
It hit the spot (and went surprisingly well with my 32 oz. cold brew!).
LUNCH — 1:00 AM
One of the greatest mysteries of my kids’ toddler years was that they were always perfectly happy to eat cold cuts on their own — no bread, no nothing. They would scoff at a lovingly cooked piece of Thanksgiving turkey but throw a few slices of deli turkey on a plate and suddenly they were all GOBBLE, GOBBLE.
With this in mind, I went with a few slices of smoked deli turkey for lunch, along with sliced carrots and peanut butter for dipping the carrots into. My kids always loved eating carrots with peanut butter when they were toddlers, and now I know why. YUM.
AFTERNOON SNACK — 4:00 PM
Four o’clock you say? How ’bout TREAT O’CLOCK. Fresh fruit is usually my go-to, but for days when I’m running errands or want to satisfy my sweet tooth in a slightly healthier way, I try to have some organic fruit snacks on hand.
Today, I went with some good old-fashioned fruit leather (kid or not, I still love it to this day!) and Greek vanilla yogurt. What could be better to tide me over ’til dinner?
DINNER — 7:00 PM
Ask any parent, and dinner is always the trickiest meal of the day when you’ve got a toddler. But luckily for me, the choice between chicken nuggets or a hot dog is pretty simple at age 40. It is summer, after all, and that means it’s HOT DOG season!
Of course, my kids would never eat one on a bun (seriously, what do kids have against hot dog buns?), so I skipped that, too. I threw in some fresh green beans and low-fat ranch dressing for dipping and called it a night.
Easiest. Dinner. Ever.
I’m not going to lie — eating like a toddler has its perks. Aside from the fact that I actually ate healthier and was more conscious of my portion sizes, I didn’t have to turn on the stove or oven once. I repeat: NOT ONCE. (Turns out, the toaster and microwave get the job done just fine.)
And while I didn’t go full toddler by throwing a 2-year-old-style tantrum or angrily tossing spaghetti against a wall in protest, eating like a pint-sized food critic for a day was pretty awesome. So much so that I may never go back to eating like an adult ever again.
Foodles by Crunch Pak are available in stores nationwide — try their delicious snack options for yourself!