My toddler has been a slow eater which, has caused her to eat less and need more assistance eating. So, the occupational therapist in me decided we need to get a little more creative for meals to increase her independence and timely completion of meals.
We started with adding some food coloring and using cookie cutters to make mealtime more of a fun experience for all. I choose to go with powder food coloring because it had more natural ingredients.
Cookie Cutters, Food Coloring and Pancakes
First, we tried making purple pancakes with heart, butterfly, and flower cooking cutters that my toddler selected from our new set of cookie cutters. When completing tasks with my toddler I try and include her in as much of the process as possible so that she is more invested and has some freedom to make her own choices.
I found this homemade pancake recipe that had good reviews. We put that together and then my toddler choose the color pancakes she wanted to make. Of course, she went with purple. We added the purple powder food coloring to our pancake mix. Then, we cooked the pancakes. Once the pancakes cooled down my toddler picked out which cookie cutters she wanted to use. She went with hearts, flowers, and butterflies. We put one pancake on her plate and let her help cut out the heart shape on her pancake. We made a few more shapes with the other cookie cutters and she was ready to dive in!
There were small and larger cookie cutter shapes. I thought the large shapes would be fun however, I ended up having to cut them some into safe bite size pieces. Whereas, with the small cookie cutters they cut the food into shapes that were already bite size pieces. Something to explore with what works best for different kinds of foods to increase her independence and fun with eating in the future.
The cookie cutters we used came with some small animal toothpick like things, and man were they a hit! I put one in her food and she thought it was so fun to eat with. Plus, she ate more than she typically does and in no time flat! I thought that was great then, she asked for seconds! We made enough to have leftovers and she continued to enjoy eating them with her animal toothpick for a few days to come. We’re definitely going to be utilizing our cookie cutters for more than just cookies if this keeps up! Comment below any tips or ideas you’ve used for fun toddler food ideas with cookie cutters and/or food coloring. I’m always looking for additional inspiration!
Sandwich Cutter and Sealer
Now that the occupational therapist in me has seen how cookie cutters and food color can make meals fun and less time consuming, I ventured into making sandwiches more exciting too. My toddler enjoys eating sandwiches but, those too can take some time for her to eat as well. Sandwiches make for great lunches on the go. However, when we’re out and about stopping to eat it can be a real struggle to focus on eating instead of playing.
I got a heart and circle sandwich cutter and sealer to assist with lunches on the go, as well as cleanliness with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. First, I tried a turkey lunch meat sandwich with mayonnaise and cheese. I set the lunch meat on top of one another, and it was hard to cut through. Next time, I would like to try rolling up the lunch meat to see if that makes it any easier to cut through. This was a big hit, and I was able to make two heart shaped sandwiches. One with the heart shaped cutter and once with the heart shaped sealer. I diagonally cut a few cherry tomatoes to resemble hearts as well and added them to the plate. I talked to my toddler about how much I loved her and other things we loved while eating her heart shaped inspired meal. I must say, these fun shapes made the sandwich disappear much quicker than normal!
Next, I tried peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the circle sealer. I like how the cut the crust off and I didn’t need to worry about messy hands since the sandwiches are sealed. The sealer worked so well we didn’t even need a napkin! Definitely a go to now! I have used the circle sealer a few times now for PB&J’s and it’s worked great and been a hit every time. I thought maybe the circle sealer wouldn’t go over as well as the heart shaped one but, my toddler didn’t seam to notice. I prefer my circle shaped sealer because it makes larger sandwiches and mainly cuts off just the crust.
Ants on a Log
Growing up I remember my mom making ants on a log for me and how I thought it was such a silly idea. Now that my mom has passed, I enjoy carrying on her traditions, ideas, and arts and craft projects so she still lives on with us in memory.
Such an easy and fun snack idea. Simple cut up celery, add some peanut butter and sprinkle on some raisins.
Comment below with your tricks or ideas you have for eating on the go with your kids. I’d love to hear any ideas you have that our family and the justcraftingaround.com community could try as well!
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.