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Monday, November 10, 2014

Mommy Monday: getting toddlers to eat leftovers- the ice cube tray

I'm sure I'm not the only parent with kids who don't like leftovers. And to be honest, I understand- I remember hating leftovers as a kid. My least favorite meals were when my mom would announce that it was "clean out the fridge day" and she would pull out all the different little leftover things from earlier in the week, sandwich bread, produce that needed to be eaten before it went bad, etc, and told us to take what we wanted. You would think that would be fun to pick different things to eat... But no, I thought it was the worst.

So imagine my surprise when my toddlers had the same reaction to my same meal plan! They really do not like having the same thing twice in one week. Unless it is hot dogs. But those are never left over (because why would you leave hot dogs uneaten?). I digress...

Last week I got off my normal meal plan routine because one of the girls was sick. So I got to the end of the week and realized I had a half-eaten bag of spinach, two untouched bell peppers, and some other random things that I was going to have to throw away soon. Also I had been too tired to prepare anything for dinner before I left for work (yeah OK I guess that was the bigger problem). So I decided to try something I had been meaning to do for a while: 

That's right folks, it's an ice cube tray! Luckily I had just emptied three trays of ice and had the trays sitting clean and empty on my counter already. I had seen this idea for a party a long time ago on Pinterest:

toddler lunch in ice cube tray

It was one of those ideas that I thought, "yeah, that would be really cute if I had hours to sit and chop stuff up and arrange into cute and colorful trays for my kids' party... *sigh*", pinned, and moved on. But if all I'm doing is cleaning out the fridge with random bits and pieces, I figured why not?!?

It was actually a lot of fun to put together. The girls loved helping me pull out anything and everything from the fridge and pantry, and picking out where to put each item on their tray. By the time we finished (took us about 15 minutes total to get them ready) they couldn't wait to dig in! The whole time we were eating they would look around their tray, giggle with excitement, and pick a new item to stuff in their mouth. It was hilarious!

In case you're interested, these are the things that ended up going in our trays: banana slices, spinach leaves, tortilla, cheerios, frozen peas, frozen blueberries, goldfish crackers, canned corn, canned black beans, sliced deli ham, mixed nuts, sweet potato, shredded cheese, yellow bell pepper, and hot dog. Both girls finished most of their dinner.

I think we will be doing this again soon- the girls are still talking about it several days later! What do you do to get your kids to eat leftovers? Share your ideas in the comments!

1 comment :

  1. Cute idea! :)
    Is it a lot for a toddler to finish when you fill up the entire tray with food?
    Jinn barely eats anything, so maybe I could try this (since he's the pickiest eater I've ever met) , but maybe filling half of the ice cube tray?
    Hope everyone is doing well!!