Mealtime Monday

Getting your toddler or child to eat healthy foods can sometimes be tough. While some children are great eaters and their parents may not ever encounter mealtime troubles, others of us are not so lucky. I've discovered with my own children that if I make them one breakfast meal in the morning they will eat some of it, say they are finished, and an hour later they are starving. I'll admit, I'm far from old school when it comes to meals. I don't make the kids sit at the table until they have cleaned their plates. There are times when I don't clean my plate. There are times when I'm just not hungry. If that is true for me than I know it must be true for my children, too. I'm sure that as they get older my mealtime rules will change and probably get more rigid, but for now, we graze. The girls get a glass of milk first thing in the morning and then I wait for them to let me know when they are ready to eat. I then give them three choices for breakfast. Something like scrambled eggs, oatmeal, or a waffle. I keep the portions small and when they're done, they're done. About an hour later we have what I call "second breakfast". And I let them choose. It's typically something like yogurt and granola, a banana, or cereal. After that they are typically good until lunch. I know this won't work for everyone, especially those who have to take your children to daycare or school, but it works for us.

Another idea for picky eaters would be to "beautify" the dining experience. I discovered Bento Mama a few years back and adore all of her meals. If you've never heard of Bento before this is how she explains it: 

[ben-toh; Japn. ben-taw] 
noun, plural -tos; Japanese -to. Japanese Cookery . 
a meal, usually served in a lacquered or elaborately decorated box that is divided into sections for holding individual portions of food.Basically a meal that is delivered in a very divided box and is visually pleasing. Bento lunches for kids is gaining popularity fast. Partly because the school lunches, well, how do I put this nicely? Stink. My kids eat healthy and I want to be in control of what they put into their tiny bodies, what nourishes them and helps them grow. I don’t want them to eat sugar loaded peaches from a can marinating in a sugar syrup! Plus I’ve found that my kids are more willing to eat things they normally wouldn’t if it’s prepared and presented in a way that fun!


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Isn't it pretty?!?! If you visit her page there are links and recipes on how to make some of these creations as well as where to get the supplies. I'll admit, I have never done a full Bento meal. I have occasionally cut shapes into food for the girls snack, but putting together a few Bentos for the girls is one of the things on my New Years list of things "to-do". (Trying to stay away from resolutions this year) So how about you? Have you ever tried Bento before? Is it something you would like to try? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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