Just recently, we discovered that it’s not ‘normal’ to server your toddler multi-course meals. I only know this because we started talking with other parents about family dinner time, and how tricky it is to have a sit down meal with a little one.
Most parents lament how much time they spend flying the pea-plane and into the toddler hanger. Some would share secrets about how to get pumpkin soup out of the carpet. I would chime in with complaints like “X will never finish his current course if he sees the next course lined up on the counter.”
At this point, I’d get bizarre stares.
“Courses? For a toddler?”
“Oooh, aren’t we fancy!”
“Does he get a personal waiter too?”
Yes, his name is Daddy, but that’s beside the point.
Anyhow, I started to wonder: If you don’t feed your kind in courses, how do you feed him?
Here’s what we do:
His first course is always a bowl of veggies. Ideally a portion of whatever we are eating, or maybe just some frozen peas.
Next comes the carb, and often some kind of protein. Think: Quesadilla, Mac&Cheese, Humous and Toast.
The third course is optional – if we didn’t give him enough protein in round two, we offer a cheese course to balance things out. Or, sometimes, just a big glass of milk.
Finally, he finishes each meal with some kind of fruit. Grapes, a half an orange, or a nanana.
OK, yes, the cheese course is often brie or roquefort, but that’s just cause the kid hates cheddar. Otherwise, I don’t see this as being too fancy.
It doesn’t really take any extra time, just extra plates.
It lengthen’s his meal, and he stays interested because of the variety (don’t like your peas, how about this bowl of noodles!).
If it comes in sessions, he eats what’s in front of him instead of just picking his favourites. When it comes all at once, he eats way less, and tends to use the remaining portion as wall art.
It takes an extra minute or two of prep, but it means that he’s way more interested at dinner time, and Mommy and I can get a short break while we scarf back our daily grub.