If you have picky kids like I do, you will do almost anything to get them to eat. We have tried making the food into fun shapes/pictures, selling it as a treat, and even trying to fool them (e.g. spaghetti squash). One thing that I have found is that if it starts getting too messy and hard to eat, that it will deter my girls from eating whatever is offered, so here are 3 lunch time food hacks to keep things neat for picky toddlers.
Serve sandwiches in hot dog buns
My daughter always wants sandwiches for lunch, but the pieces of bread slide apart and she ends up with a frustrated pile of meat, cheese and bread that she won’t eat. One day all we had were leftover hot dog buns, so I made her a sandwich out of that and she ate the WHOLE THING! I realized that it was so much easier to hold with her small hands and kept all of the ingredients easily inside. Another great way to serve a sandwich would be in a pita that way it’s all contained, but there is something about the soft hot dog bun that my girls love.
My girls love feeding themselves yogurt, but they probably get more on themselves than they do in their mouth. I tried the squeezable yogurt tubes, but that was even worse! Then I read on the packaging “refrigerate or freeze” and a light bulb went off in my head, not only would freezing the yogurt help cut down on the mess, but I could also sell it as a treat :). Even though the yogurt tubes are convenient, my favorite way to serve this treat is to just blend whole milk plain yogurt with fresh fruit and then freeze in popsicle molds. This is great for lunch or as a treat outside on a hot day.
Wrap a paper towel around tacos
My girls love tacos whether we are out to eat or at home,
but they always get so mess that I would spend half of the time trying to restuff the taco. After a few messes I remembered that when I was a kid my parents would wrap a napkin or paper towel around the bottom of my taco, so I used this trick on my girls. Not only does it keep the mess from spilling out of the bottom, but it also makes it easier for small hands to hold. Of course you don’t have to limit this to a traditional taco, my girls love flour tortillas so we can stuff anything inside one, wrap it up and it makes for a great lunch.
What are some of your favorite ways to keep it from getting too messy during meal time?