The lazy parenting trick to getting toddlers excited about food

If ever you’ve looked at the kids section on Pinterest, you would have undoubtedly come across the elaborate ways that people present food to tempt their children. I’m talking things like peacocks made with grapes, giraffe sandwiches, and tiny sushi trucks. They are exquisite, creative, inventive, beautiful, and sometimes creepy.

But ain’t nobody got time for that.

I don’t. Nor do I have the skill. Or the patience.

My solution to my inability and lack of motivation to create beautiful landscapes from fruits and vegetables is the simple ICE-CUBE TRAY. I bring it out just once every few weeks and my son’s face lights up with excitement as he browses the array of items. It gets him trying new foods, and is very handy when I have no clean plates left. It’s also useful when I am just generally disorganised and have to chuck some random things together for his lunch. Lazy parenting = excited toddler!

Below are a few of the ice-cube combinations I’ve tried lately.

Steamed green beans, wholegrain crackers, dried cranberries avocado, corn, carrot sticks, cheddar cheese

Steamed green beans, wholegrain crackers, dried cranberries, avocado, corn, carrot sticks, cheddar cheese, hummus dip

Note: I NEVER steam, or roast, or puree something specifically for these ice-cube trays. That would defeat the point of being a lazy parent! I only use what’s already prepared, or put some vegies aside during dinner preparation.

Boiled egg, carrot curls, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, cashews, blueberries

Boiled egg, carrot curls, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, cashews, blueberries

Where possible, use items like berries and nuts that don’t even need to be chopped up! Above, I made carrot ‘curls’ with a vegetable peeler because I couldn’t even be bothered chopping the carrot. My son thought they were pretty.

Spinach, steamed sweet potato, chickpeas, peas, walnuts, mandarin segments

Spinach, steamed sweet potato, dried apricot, chickpeas, peas, walnuts, mandarin segments

No, he didn’t eat the spinach – but he did try one chickpea.

Steamed broccoli, cheese, raspberries, pumpkin puree/dip, almonds, wholegrain crackers

Steamed broccoli, roasted beetroot, cheese, raspberries, pumpkin puree/dip, almonds, wholegrain crackers

Above I killed two birds with one stone – which sounds a bit ominous when talking about feeding children – I put aside some pumpkin ‘dip’ from the baby’s pumpkin puree lunch.

In addition to these ideas, others could include:

  • Other vegetables: capsicum, celery, zucchini, pumpkin, potato, rocket, mushrooms, eggplant, snowpeas, lettuce, cauliflower, fennel, asparagus – anything in season
  • Other fruits: Banana pieces, apple, pear, pineapple, grapes, strawberries, melon – anything in season
  • Dips and purees: Vegie purees, pesto dips, hummus, guacamole, tzatziki, yoghurt, nut butters
  • Nuts and seeds: Macadamias, pepitas, sunflower seeds – age appropriate to avoid choking
  • Dairy: Hard and soft cheeses, yoghurt (frozen in summer)
  • Use your imagination! Popcorn, rice crackers, cold meats, trail mix or granola, perhaps a little treat, such as a tiny teddy…

Use the same types of fruits and vegetables but just slice and dice them in different ways to keep them interesting, such as my lazy carrot curls – this would also work for zucchini and cucumber.

Go forth, and be lazy! I would welcome your ideas on other items to include in ice-cube trays, or general lazy parenting tips, in the comments below.

2 Comments

  1. jacquicastle says:

    I totally agree, who has time to cut random pictures for sandwiches and isn’t that a waste of bread!

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