If you’ve had the luxury of making meals for a toddler you’ll quickly appreciate the one constant that comes from creating a toddler feeding routine. Here’s a look at what my toddler eats in a day- from breakfast to dinner and snacks included!
The biggest difference I’ve noticed between feeding a baby and feeding a toddler is that my toddlers thrive off of a schedule— well, and feeding toddlers is REALLY stressful. And that goes beyond mealtime too- they do well with a schedule for activities and sleep. But really, so does Mom, so that shouldn’t surprise me that they are following in my footsteps. So what does a day in the life of feeding my toddlers look like? Here you have it! Hopefully Joey and Anthony’s toddler feeding schedule provides you with some ideas for structure. And please note, this isn’t precise and everyday changes depending on moods, sickness, and lack of sleep! Mom’s lack of sleep that is…. and other days we’ve been known to eat almost the same thing at every meal and Mom has finished everyone’s fruit and veggies on their plates. But for the most part, I TRY to offer meals and snacks with these components in mind:
Nutrition NOTES: I have to throw this in somewhere and right here seems like a good spot.
FOOD GROUPS: Fruit, Vegetable, Protein, Dairy, Whole Grains
3 MEALS DAILY: So at each MEAL, I try to always include 3-4 food groups:
You might like: 50+ Toddler Meal Ideas I’ve rounded-up!
2 SNACKS DAILY: For each SNACK, I always try to include 1-2 food groups:
You might like: 25 Toddler Snack Ideas
While I think there is a time and place to consider portion sizes [i.e. when they are offered a piece of cake at a birthday party], I’m not one for sitting and measuring out their food. Or do I necessarily keep track of things like, “today Joey must have 5 servings of fruit and vegetables.” I try to keep my nutrition notes shown above in mind with every meal and snack, and I also rely on their little tummies to tell themselves and ME when enough is enough. Easier said than done when presented with that piece of cake… but that’s why I’m not baking everyday!
If you’d like more info about exact portion sizes for toddlers and small children, I’d suggest this resource from HealthyChildren.org. Or visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to see how much the whole family should be eating. And for a list of my favorite foods to prep each weekly, check out this post on the healthiest foods to prep ahead!
It’s smoothie time! These boys love smoothies! Ted and the crew make a smoothie every morning before Ted goes to work (usually with spinach, avocado, fruit, milk, or yogurt). I usually sit back with a cup of coffee and watch their bonding over smoothies— NOT! I’m racing around folding laundry, showering before Dad leaves, or making them part 2 of their breakfast. Along with a smoothie, I’ll offer them a whole grain option, such as an oatmeal breakfast cookie, a piece of peanut butter toast, or a simple blender pancake topped with peanut butter or Greek yogurt. This ensures they are getting a good mix of fruit, vegetables, protein, and whole grains to start their day! Check out my recipe index for more of our toddler-favorite breakfast recipes.
Mid-Morning Snack: 9:30-10:30am
I think Joey and Anthony could live happily off of whole cow’s milk and all other dairy products. We are a Midwestern family after all! Their morning snack usually includes some type of dairy product— milk, cottage cheese, or yogurt. Mix that with a bite or two of Mom’s apple, a homemade muffin, or granola bar, and that holds them over until lunch. If we are out and about, then I’m sure to pack fruit and veggie squeeze packs, homemade trail mix, beef jerky, or more granola bars! Sometimes I’ll also have their leftover smoothie from breakfast as their mid-morning snack.
Lunch is usually “everything but the kitchen sink” for my guys. As much as I like to plan ahead, we are either on the go or running in the front door around lunchtime. They always have some type of fruit (clementines and watermelon are hit on the list right now) served with fresh or roasted veggies [I roast the veggies on the weekend to use all week]. Veggies of choice lately are red bell peppers. Yep. That’s it. Red bell peppers. OH and over-cooked broccoli. They chow that…. Along with the fruit and veggie, we have grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, lunchmeat quesadillas, or anything between two slices of bread with cheese. You catch the theme here, right?! They’ve also been loving Applegate beef hot dogs and Al Fresco Chicken Sausages.
Mid-Afternoon Snack: 2:30-3:30pm
The afternoon snack is less messy [meaning Mom doesn’t want to clean a yogurt mess]. So we’ll do string cheese with Wheat Thins, trail mix, dried cereal with dried fruit, half a peanut butter sandwich, etc. etc. I rounded up a list of my favorite toddler’s snack for my friend Lindsay over on her blog last year. There’s not much changing in toddler food preferences… so the snack list lives on at the Serbinski’s!
Dinner. Oh dinner. The dreaded mealtime with toddlers. I’ve drawn a hard line with this one and the whole family eats what Mom cooks. So that means they are FORCED fed dinner. NOT. They are just given what Mom and Dad eat—> here’s a look at our favorite dinner recipes. If there’s a toddler protest [which has been known to happen multiple times a week] I make sure I always have something they like on the table— and some nights that’s rolls. I also offer ONE thing that’s not on the table as a backup. And I try to make it as bland as possible… like plain cottage cheese! No bells and whistles there. But it’s nutritious and a good backup!
So there you have it. As you can see, our day revolves around food. Heck, I could write a whole post on what my toddler eats in a day so that only means one thing: toddlers are food obsessed! While a lot depends on what’s in season, my toddlers mood and appetite [not they don’t eat as much when growth isn’t as fast or they are sick/teething], I’d say this is a pretty decent snapshot of what the Serbinski toddlers enjoy day in and day out! Now who wants to help me with dishes?! Speaking of dishes, our favorite plates from Re-Play Recycled can be found and purchased here [affiliate link]