Will and I eat all of our meals together, every single one, and for the most part, we eat the same thing. Tonight, we had pork tenderloin, broccoli, pineapple, and Fudge Stripes. I also had some wine, and Will had some cheddar bunnies, but besides that, we both really did eat the exact same thing... mostly with our hands. Sometimes, we both eat peaches and pizza. Sometimes, we both eat stir fry.
And this eating together and eating the same thing idea touted in books like French Kids Eat Everything and Bringing Up Bebe is working... for the most part. I'd say about sixty percent of the time Will is a happy, adventurous eater. Then, about twenty percent of the time, one of us eats, and the other cries and refuses to try tortellini or cries and refuses to eat the shrimp that he happily ate the week before. (So he has to wait unitl his next meal or bottle, which I'm not gonna lie, has never really seemed to bother him and is probably harder on me than it is on him. I just reassure myself that he is fine by loooking at his cheeks, the cheeks of a true American child.) Another twenty percent of the time, I just want to eat a Lean Cuisine French Bread pizza for lunch or to go out to dinner without William, and that's where Will's Go-To Meal comes in. This is the meal that he is always happy to eat that also seems like it includes most of the essentials to a balanced (toddler) diet; I present to you: Annie's White Cheddar Shells and Cheese with wilted, chopped spinach. Protein? Check! Dairy? Check! Carbs? Check! Antioxidants, Fiber, Vitamins, Minerals? Check! Check! Check! Check!
I've tried mixing peas and carrots and chopped chicken into the shells and cheese before, and Will picked out the shells and left the rest. So for us, the beauty of this meal is that the thing that the Will loves, shells and cheese, is literally stuck to the the thing that is super healthy, the spinach... with the added bonus that it is really simple to make and really simple to eat a.k.a easy-to-grasp. I like to chop fresh spinach before and after I wilt it so that it is super small when I stir it into the shells and cheese. If you have never wilted fresh spinach before, it is so easy. While you are boiling your shells, just throw the spinach in a pot or pan, turn the burner on medium, cover, and stir every minute or so until it looks wilted, darker green, and about one tenth the size.
Do you have any Go-To Meals or tips for feeding your baby or toddler? Besides eating the same thing and always eating together, Will (and I... for the most part) don't ever snack, and I've noticed that he does better if his food is cold. When I was still spoon-feeding him, he always did much better if he got to hold something like a spork or plastic lid. Below, I was trying to get him to use the spork as an actual utensil by putting a shell on the end. You can see what he thought of that.