This post was contributed and written by Wendy Ennis, writer, adventurer, and mama of 2 girls. This tip for meal time is one of my favorites. We’ve just started trying it at home! I hope you enjoy it, too!
Do you ever wonder what to feed your child? Are you ever at a loss as to what will fill that belly of your beloved who is growing? Are you ever trying to do more than just plan a meal for your child when you are prepping it? Do you ever wish you knew how to get every bit of nutrients into your child while also wondering if any of it will actually be eaten?
I’ll raise my hand to all of those. I struggle, at times, with feeding our kids. We eat very differently as a family which adds to it. My husband is a meat eater. My body refuses meat. Our children are a mixture, and they have very defined ideas as to what food is, what it should look like, how it should be served, and where it should be eaten.
After a period of food frustration, I found a solution in our home. Muffin tins! I realized that the little circles forced me into creating meals and variety for our kids. The portions are just right for toddlers and growing preschoolers, and even adults.
Once I shifted our meals to muffin tin meals, life with food became infinitely easier. It isn’t about some pretty picture, it was about what was best for the children. It is about knowing what they like, trying new foods, and accepting that sometimes meal life with kids is better without stress.
It is about honoring what their bodies need, and mine, too. I much prefer to focus on those little muffin tin spots than to become overwhelmed by the concept of food, growing bellies and minds, and time.
Muffin tin meals aide my growth as a consciously healthy mom by the scoop-full! There are meals when the children have two servings of something. There are meals when I place a small beloved treat in a muffin tin spot. There are times when the muffin tin is only half full, because I know they won’t eat it all. There are meals when one child eats all of the “dip dip” despite it being the smallest “serving” there, and barely touches the rest of the food options- even if they are beloved.
The beauty of muffin tin meals is that the kids are able to eat independently. Even the youngest, at a bit older than 18 months, can easily carry the tin to and from the kitchen. It fits naturally on a booster seat tray, too.
Both kids beam with wondering about what they’ll find in the tins, which I love. I enjoy their excitement for food and their embracing the curiosity of it. Sometimes they chime in on what they like versus not.
Overall, the simplicity of muffin tin meals supports the efficiency of our meal preparation which makes my life as a Mom more enjoy enjoyable. I’m able to focus on the children’s needs beyond the all encompassing, “what do I feed them now?” I’m able to expand and explore with them, to listen to them, to be with them. . . beyond the monster that was meals in the past.
If you are struggling with meals, I highly suggest you try it, even for yourself. You can always prep muffin tins and cover them for future meals. You could also have your child pick a slot and fill it with whatever he/she likes.
How would you use muffin tin meals? What questions or suggestions do you have about them? Please let us know! We’re all in this motherhood journey together.
Wendy is mama to two beautiful and energetic young daughters. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest where they tell their stories. More of her images on motherhood, life as a writer, and the wife of a filmmaker can be found on Instagram: @newmomstalk.