Manners were always a big deal growing up… please, thank you, chew with your mouth closed, napkin in your lap, no elbows on the table…. you get the drift. So, when I became a mom to a budding toddler, you can imagine my horror (kidding… kinda….). Eating with the hands (OCD tendencies for cleanliness cringing here….), throwing food on the floor (our pup loves that one)… again, you catch my drift. It was another point of necessary flexibility… a teaching moment, for both little miss and me…. and it continues to be as we navigate this part of toddler/motherhood. Yet, despite all of the frustrations, it’s also one of my favorite parts. I also have the opportunity to teach her what good food is… and by good, I mean in both taste and nutrition. I get to teach her how to eat to nourish her little body, and how to enjoy it. She teaches me flexibility and patience, I teach her how to eat with a fork. Needless to say, along this journey, I’ve found a few items to help me navigate a little more smoothly…..
1. High Chair: We have two high chairs. One we keep at my parent’s house, and one that we have at our house. Both excellent options that I highly recommend. We recently started using the Nuna ZAAZ high chair and love it. The design is sleek, no hidden crevices where food can get caught, it’s easy to use, and grows with her as she gets older (when she no longer needs the tray, you can remove it and the high chair transitions into one similar to a restaurant… and then it can function as a regular chair as well…. it’s pretty cool.). It’s not too big, so it easily fits in our tiny place. Since it can convert as she gets older, I think it’s such an excellent product to invest in.
2. Placemat: When little miss first started eating, we served her the food right on the tray. As she started to mimic how we were eating, she began insisting on eating out of a bowl….. after a little while, I decided to try out this placemat. She loves it. I like the different compartments for food, and she can easily see, and pick out, the food she wants. She also doesn’t throw her food as much when she’s using it.
3. Utensils: It’s still a work in progress over here, yet, we’re starting with this fork and spoon set. She still prefers to use her fingers, so I’ve started placing the fork and spoon next to her when she is eating. She will occasionally pick it up and try to put some food on it…. and sometimes I’ll help the process. I’m not forcing anything, and patiently helping her along.
4. Sippy Cup: Little miss’ distaste for the bottle was no secret…. I openly shared about my struggles. So, when the doctor said she didn’t need to use a bottle anymore, it wasn’t a difficult transition for us. We went from these bottles (the only ones she would take) to this sippy cup with great success. We own a few of them and she loves them. She actually shows a preference for a normal cup, so, when she reaches for one, we try to help her use it appropriately.
5. Snacking: When we’re out and about, we use this little snack dispenser/holder. It’s a great way to prevent spillage. Her favorite snacks are these lentil cheerios, dried cranberries, peanut butter crackers, nibbly finger bites, and these oat bars. She also loves Lara Bars, Perfect Bars, and Rx Bars…. actually, she pretty much loves anything….
6. Eating Out: When we’re out at a restaurant, we use this high chair cover and put down these disposable placemats. We either put a small plate in front of her on top of the placemat, or she just picks off the plate and eats off the placemat.
I’d love to know if you have any other must have products for eating with a toddler!