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Will You Eat it In a Boat? Would You Eat it With a Goat?

27 November 2011

Over the holiday weekend, I had the opportunity to share Muffin Tin Meals with my niece. We had all just returned from a long walk. We were a bit late for lunch and the kids were all starving!

My mom made quesadillas with leftover turkey, cheese, and guacamole. I quickly prepared some "Muffin Tins to Share," with carrots, red pepper hummus, berries, apricots, candy cane cheese, and a left a spot for the slices of quesadilla.

My daughter was very excited to share a muffin tin meal with my niece!

My niece happily ate her cheese, fruit, some of her carrots and hummus, and one slice of quesadilla. When she didn't eat the second piece, my mom asked her if she wanted a plain quesadilla (since that what she usually made for her.) Having just seen her eat one piece of quesadilla with turkey and guacamole without complain, I didn't think that it was actually the quesadilla that was the problem.

There had been some talk of going to sit on the swing behind the house. My daughter was still hungry so I gave her some quesadilla to take out on the swing, and also gave her a few pieces for my niece. A few minutes later, my daughter came back in and announced that my niece had gobbled the quesadilla right up!

This brought to mind a lesson that I had learned with my own kids- particularly my youngest: Never assume that the food is the problem.  Sometimes, particularly with my youngest, I felt like "Sam I Am." "Will you eat it in a boat?" "Will you eat it with a goat?"

Sometimes a different utensil does the trick- My sister discovered this on Thanksgiving when my niece didn't want to eat any turkey. She put the turkey on a toothpick and my niece ate it right up (as if it wasn't the same turkey she refused to eat just a minute before!)

Sometimes a different location will work (like the swing.) When my son was one, he would rarely eat dinner unless he was sitting on my husband's lap. Sometimes he wants to move to a different seat at the table before he'll eat.

Sometimes the presentation of the food is wrong... cut/ not cut, on a dish, in a bowl... if my son is expecting a whole banana and I cut it for him, he won't eat it.

Sometimes my son won't eat until I put it on the fork for him and feed it to him (despite the fact that he's been feeding himself for quite some time.) Sometimes he's just not hungry-- yet. I often leave his meals sitting out for a while after the meal to see if he returns later. If he doesn't, I don't stress it. If I'm really worried that he's hungry, I'll offer him a healthy snack later, but I make sure that meal time is over and that  having the snack is not connected to not eating the meal so that it's not seen as a "replacement."

I've often seen my two year old eat a food one week and not eat it the next. I've even seen him skip dinner, only to eat the exact same food for lunch the next day.

Toddlers and preschoolers can be quite a mystery.

Have you ever thought that your toddler/ preschooler wouldn't eat something only to find that they ate it when presented in a different way or at a different time? !

Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.comCheck out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun muffin tin meal ideas.


  1. It's great she ate it after all. My boys just love quesadillas.

  2. I'm not sure that I'd survive without quesadillas! They are definitely my "go to" meal... lunch, dinner and even breakfast :)

  3. You are so right! It isn't what they are eating at times.

  4. I'm glad my third wasn't my first... otherwise, I may not have realized this. Because I've seen all that my older two will eat, I know it's worth it to persist and to not assume that it's the food. When my oldest was 1 1/2 she ate just about anything. Then we went away for a week to a family camp and she ate NOTHING at the meals- we kept trying different foods, but finally realized it was the environment. The cafeteria was way too busy for her to focus on food. We had to start bringing food back to our cabin and once we were there, she would eat.

  5. Very good points shared here.
    And the meal sounds great too. Especially the quesadillas and hummus.

  6. I can completely relate to this. My 2 yr old son will eat a whole plate full of raw veggies standing up when we are watching a football game or he is watching his favorite show. Then, he won't touch them at lunch the next day (and sometimes the story goes the other way around). I am actually okay playing this "game" and finding ways to help him enjoy and be exposed to all kinds of foods. I try not to be offended when he doesn't eat them at the dinner table (i.e. a "traditional" setting). :)

  7. Christina- I agree... when he is no longer a 2 year old, he will remember that he likes vegetables and will likely continue to eat them. If you insisted that he eat them at the table and he refused- all he would remember is refusing to eat vegetables- When they are little--- "whatever works" is my motto!!

  8. Great Post --- you are right the first assumption is almost always "its the food, even when they have eaten it twenty times before". One thing my pediatrian shared with me, was that toddlers take their food in over a 48hr cycle. That in a given 24hr their caloric intake can vary significantly, but it is relatively constant in a healthy child over 48hrs. I never actually looked into this myself, but I assume that he didn't just make it up. :-)

  9. Thanks Shiela- I have read that about toddlers as well. I think it's definitely true with my son... some days he doesn't eat breakfast, some days it's lunch and sometimes it's dinner. I try not to worry about it, because overall (maybe over 48 hours) he eats more than enough.

  10. This is so true! My mom couldn't figure out why I suddenly didn't like pancakes when I was little, when I always loved getting them from McDonald's on roadtrips and such. (Why my parents let us order such a messy meal and eat in the car, I'll never know.) After a little while, it was discovered that she was putting peanut butter on the pancakes whenever she prepared them at home. I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter to this day, and I certainly don't like it on my pancakes! No wonder I stopped taking her up on those morning offers of pancakes before school. She eventually let me start putting my own butter and syrup on the pancakes and everybody was happy (and well fed!)


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