If you’ve ever had lunch with a picky toddler, you know that the golden rule at mealtime is all components of said meal must be separate. Don’t you come at them with some type of “mixed” food like a vegetable hash or casserole. And heaven forbid the sauce be ON TOP of the pasta. That stuff should be on the side in its own dish where it can’t contaminate the pasta. Geeze, mom. Get it together.
During this special time of my children’s development I took to the Interwebs to find ideas for well-rounded, but separated meals. Sadly, there was not much information to be found 5 or 6 years ago. So I was forced to get creative, and the “Pick Plate” was born.
The general formula for a successful Pick Plate is some type of bread/ cracker/pasta, a dip, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables cut into finger-food sized pieces-extra points for a variety of colors and textures. I found that the more variety I offered, the more my kids would try. When they were tots, I initially offered just a tablespoon or two of each component and dished out more of their favorites after they have eaten at least some of everything. This is a great way to increase your kids’ exposure to new vegetables and get them to eat the rainbow!
Thankfully, my kids have grown out of the “foods cannot touch” phase, but they still love a good Pick Plate for lunch. And I love them too! It’s great for those days when you can’t decide what to eat. The best part is, you don’t have to decide. You can eat ALL THE FOODS. I make sure to prep a wide array of fruits and veggies on my meal prep day so that a colorful Pick Plate is never more than 5 minutes of work when lunchtime rolls around.
Today’s lunch is whole-wheat pita wedges and oil-free roasted garlic hummus (recipe coming soon) on our favorite Ikea KALAS kids plates. Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and carrots are perfect for dipping in the savory hummus. For fruit we have pineapple, watermelon, blackberries, grapes, and some peaches from my friend’s backyard tree (thanks Kelly!).
Super simple, quick, yummy, healthy, filling, and fresh-all the things I am looking for when it comes to lunch. Next time you’re at a loss for what to serve your kiddos for lunch (or even dinner!), give a Pick Plate a try!
Did your kids go through an “all things separate” phase (or are they currently in one)? Tell me about it in the comment section!
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