Cooking with a Toddler
More and more, we’ve been trying to make dinner an “everybody” event—that is, we cook together (or at least hang out in the kitchen while one of us is cooking), and we eat together. For a long time, Lila was eating earlier than us by herself—we’d sit at the table with her to eat, but she’d eat her dinner, have a bath, and then go to bed, at which point Ryan and I would
sit down for dinner eat dinner in front of the tv. I know, I know—it’s bad, but by the end of the day, it was SO nice to just veg out and eat dinner with a Breaking Bad episode.
But, around the new year, we decided to make more of an effort to eat dinner all together—the three of us, sitting at the table. It takes a little more effort, because that means dinner needs to be ready at 6 or 6:30, rather than the usual 7:15 or so. But, it’s worth it. Lila has gotten really great about sitting at the table, contributing to the discussion (though most of her points revolve around “Wa Wa”—Christopher Robin), and trying most of the foods on her plate.
I mean, she’s a toddler—she doesn’t eat everything (as demonstrated by the quinoa pictures below). But there’s an incredible “monkey see, monkey do” quality that we try to take advantage of at dinner time—if she sees Mama and Dada eating quinoa, she’s usually pretty likely to at least try it—even if she ends up spitting it back out.
Lately, I’ve been using our learning tower to involve Lila in the cooking process even more. She stands in her tower while I cook, and she watches me chop, pour, stir, etc. While I’m cooking, we talk about the colors of the foods, what they taste like, etc.:
I really do think involving her in the meal has made more more likely to try the foods once we’re at the table. She wasn’t crazy about the quinoa for last night’s meal, but she was happily munching on tempeh and roasted veggies:
For this dinner, we roasted a BIG pan of veggies and skillet-grilled some tempeh. We used those to build some tasty grain bowls: quinoa, veggies, tempeh, parmesan cheese, hemp seeds, and a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette.
Like I said, the roasted veggies were a hit. The quinoa didn’t go down so easily:
The cookie we picked up at Earth Fare for dessert, however, was a popular item:
Any child who gets THAT excited about a chocolate chip cookie has to be mine.
Hope you have a great Wednesday!