The Many Little Joys

My favorite toddler lunch solution


Bed time conversation with Little Man the other night (I’m pretty sure he was stalling):

LM: Mom, why didn’t we have soup for dinner?

Me: Well, it wasn’t on our menu tonight, but I was planning on making soup tomorrow. Would you like that?

 LM: (Thinks for a minute, looking concerned) Don’t make green soup, okay?

Let me explain. Last week I tried out a new recipe for lentil sausage soup, and it happened to be green. I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but I like to expand our horizons every so often. I loved it. My husband loved it. The kids…well, they looked at me like I was trying to poison them. And apparently Little Man isn’t forgiving or forgetting any time soon.

Little man is actually a pretty good eater. He’s gone through phases where he’s been pickier, and he has a weird aversion to melon and corn, but otherwise he is willing to eat most things I put in front of him.

His little brother, however, if a different story. He’s what I call capricious. Sometimes, he eats like a champ. Other times, he squawks and refuses things he happily ate the day before. Grr.

There is one thing, though, that I always know both of them will happily eat. It’s our go-to lunch menu:
Tasting trays…baby bento boxes…nibble trays. Whatever you want to call them, they are simply awesome. And easy.

Here’s what you do: take an ice cube tray and fill it with a bunch of different finger foods. Watch as your child eats more that you’ve seen in weeks. Seriously. My kids pretty much empty their trays almost every time.

I love that it’s a great way to make sure we get all the food groups, use up leftovers in the fridge, and introduce the boys to new foods in small (less scary) portions. Here are the foods I put in one of our trays last week:

Oh, and lest you think that I am way over-ambitious, I don’t always put a different food in every compartment. Often I only do half as many different foods as you see above.

Click here to download a printable version of the chart below that I made for myself with ideas of foods that work well in a tasting tray, separated by food group (plus a bonus category for dips & spreads).

Can you think of any foods I forgot? I’m always looking for new ideas.