Simple As That: Toddler Meals (less is more)

toddlerlunchphoto by pillowhead designs

When our older daughter was twenty months old, we went out to eat at a steakhouse.  I was skeptical that there would be anything on the children’s menu for her and had tucked some toddler-friendly food into the diaper bag.  As I scanned the children’s menu, I noticed they offered a “toddler plate” that consisted mostly of sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and a few other bits and pieces of food meant to be eaten with little fingers.

I remember thinking there was no way that would be enough food to make up a meal, but to my surprise it was exactly enough.  As silly as this sounds, that was sort of a revelation for me!  I had been serving her half-sized portions of our meals, and often felt frustrated by the amount of food we were throwing away.

Jill Cooper (Living on a Dime) writes about this concept in an article at Mommysavers titled, “Save Up to 50% on Your Grocery Bill“:

It is easy to forget that children under the age of four have only about a quarter of an adult’s body weight. Often, we feed them adult portions and when we do give them smaller portions, each portion is usually only reduced to about half an adult portion . . . When deciding how much food to give your kids, start small and work your way up. Remember, if they eat what is on their plates you can always give them more.

Try applying the basic principles of simple living to the mealtimes.  Ask yourself, what is essential?  How can I trim back and serve only the necessary? Simple living and frugal living can meet in the kitchen, making a noticeable difference in your food bill as you become an even better manager of the resources entrusted to you.

What does toddler mealtime look like in your house? Any toddler meal challenges or triumphs you would like to share?