But what happens when that cute little chubby toddler turns into an opinionated preschooler who refuses to eat anything but grilled cheese sandwiches? (Replace grilled cheese sandwiches with buttered noodles, or whatever your little one deems the food of the month.)
Even the best of eaters has been known to turn super picky during the preschool years, and the vegetables that they used to gobble up are now fodder for dinner time fights.
While food should never turn into a power struggle, you also shouldn’t completely give up, and allow them to eat only plain buttered noodles for dinner every night.
Like I explained previously, everyone in our house eats the same thing for dinner. I cook only one meal, and as soon as my babies can eat solids, they eat what we eat. But I like to actually to enjoy mealtime, and don’t appreciate the tantrums my preschooler likes to throw at the dinner table. So I had to find a way to please everyone without turning to “kid food” every night.
The key is giving preschoolers something that looks either fun or familiar, but giving it a different twist every time. Try things that are mini, dip-able, or rolled up in some way. Breakfast for dinner is a fun treat. And cheesiness is always sure to please. But make sure to incorporate different colors, flavors, and textures into all of these foods. Not only to introduce new foods to your preschooler, but so the rest of the family doesn’t get bored.
For example, kids love pasta, but sometimes develop an aversion to anything green. So I serve pasta with basil pesto. They like the pasta enough that they will overlook the green sauce on it. And in the process, figure out that maybe green food isn’t so bad, after all. Plus, pasta with pesto is a dish that the rest of the family will enjoy as well.
Score one for Mom!
Below you will find my top 30 dinner ideas for preschoolers, that both kid-friendly and family-friendly. These aren’t dishes for when the kids are eating alone, or something special for the kid’s table at a dinner party.
So forget hot dogs and cheese pizzas. These dinner ideas are packed with flavor, vegetables and variety. They are great for everyone, including your picky preschooler!
- Baked Chicken Fajita Dippers
- Cheeseburger Sliders with Broccoli Tots
- Mix and Match Mini Pizzas
- Asian Noodle Bowls
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Chicken and Corn Tacos
- Pumpkin Pancakes with fresh fruit
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Pockets
- Sesame Salmon Balls with stir fried vegetables
- Pasta with Pesto and cherry tomatoes
- Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil Cheese on Toast
- Mango Shrimp Tacos
- Pulled Pork Sliders with Watermelon Salad
- Coconut Rice with Kale and Edamame
- Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
- Cornflake Crusted Chicken Strips with Zucchini Fries
- Hidden Veg Meatballs
- Papusas with Cabbage Salad
- Grilled Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- Sticky Hoisin Chicken Drumsticks with broccoli and rice
- Easy Cheesy Tomato Basil Pasta
- Mini Falaffel Pita Bites
- Zucchini Fritters with cherry tomatoes
- Sesame Beef Stir Fry
- Baked Fish Fingers with fruit and veggies
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Sliders with Tomato Guacamole
- Bacon Cheeseburger Kebabs
- Bean and Cheese Burritos
- Chicken Noodle Soup