1.9.17

Making Meal Time Fun for Picky Preschoolers

This post is sponsored by Smucker’s, as always all content and opinions are my own.
Do you have a picky eater? Here are a couple of ways I try to make meal time fun for my picky preschooler!

My oldest was the easiest baby. He ate, he slept, he ate, he slept, he played, he ate, he slept. Then he turned 3 and all hell broke loose. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. But, no lie, we definitely lived with a Threenager for most of 2016 and aside from the whining, our biggest struggle was with his pickiness about eating that appeared out of nowhere! Thankfully, his appetite and pickiness are starting to come around with age, but I’ve definitely learned a few tricks to keep meal time a fun time for all of us in the Dubs’ household.

One meal that is always a hit is centered around a classic, the Peanut Better & Jelly sandwich. It’s a comfort food for me (especially during pregnancy nausea), so needless to say, PB&J lunches have been a staple in our household the last few months. We’ve been eating it so often that I usually grab a jar of each when we’re at my MECCA, Target every week or two. Yes, yes, I go to Target weekly. Sometimes we have a fight, and I avoid it for weeks after I receive my Red Card bill. But seriously, Target is my happy place. With the kids or without, I love that Target has ALLTHETHINGS that I NEEEED (Want?) any day of the week. And their cartwheel app coupons are a great way to lessen the blow to my husband! Mamas, you feel me, right?!

Here’s a few ways that I try to keep eating well-rounded meals fun and enjoyable for my picky preschooler:

What you’ll need:

1.) Nothing says Pinterest Fail Mom as an easy PB & J sandwich, right? Slab on some Jif Creamy Peanut Butter & Smucker’s Seedless Strawberry Jam on a slice of your favorite bread!

2.) Use a cookie cutter to cut out different shapes from the sandwich!

3.) Cut up some your kid’s fave veggies, cheese sticks, etc. and throw it all into a Bento Box!

4.) Serve the meal before you end up eating it yourself! (Not that I’ve done that or anything!)

I love that this meal is always a hit with no complaints and I’m able to get in a couple of servings of fruit and veggies in too. It’s a fun way to make a classic meal more aesthetically appealing to the critiquing eyes of a four year old. I love that we can make it through a meal without any nagging or whining and that he gets a balanced, full meal.

Do you have a picky eater? What are some ways you combat whining at meal time?

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81 Comments

  1. Jessica wrote:

    So cute! Where is the bento from?

    Published 1.10.17
  2. Sane Mama wrote:

    I love the idea of using cookie cutters!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      So easy and fun!

      Published 1.10.17
  3. This is seriously perfect! I love peanut butter and jelly…and Target!! Only 1 of my 3 likes PB & J but I am going to try the cut outs and see if it helps. Wish me luck!!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Good luck!! So yum

      Published 1.10.17
  4. Jessica wrote:

    This is such a cute idea! When I have kids I am definitely going to do this!
    xo Jessica
    http://www.whatsfordinneresq.com

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      It’s a great way to make eating fun!

      Published 1.10.17
  5. Belle wrote:

    My daughter has been the easiest baby as well, she’d eat anything I make for her even veggies and fruits. But now, she’s starting to get picky. 🙁

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Aww hope she grows out of it soon!

      Published 1.10.17
  6. Linh wrote:

    I love this idea mama! It’s amazing what kids will eat if you make it fun for them.

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Yes! Making it an enjoyable experience is totally worth it!

      Published 1.10.17
  7. Stormie wrote:

    I love this idea and really loving that most of the serving is fruits and veggies. Btw, where is the plate from?

    Published 1.10.17
  8. These are such great ideas!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Thanks!

      Published 1.10.17
  9. So cute! I love that plate! We had a long and trying go around with a picky eater, glad to say he is finally past that stage! We used to have to turn everything he ate into Mickey Mouse

    Published 1.10.17
  10. Shay wrote:

    Love this creative idea! I’m always looking for creative food ideas for my kiddos! Love the box too!!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Super easy and fun!

      Published 1.10.17
  11. Oh my!! I LOVE this!! Thank you for this great idea! <3

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Super simple yet really effective!

      Published 1.10.17
  12. Francesca wrote:

    This is such a great idea! I know my kids would love this!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Yay! So fun and yummy

      Published 1.10.17
  13. Patricia wrote:

    The bento box is so cute!! I love this idea! PB&J is the best!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      One of my faves!

      Published 1.10.17
  14. Angela Kim wrote:

    Such a cute idea! I will have to do this allll over again with Baby D. Is it crazy that I’m kind of looking forward to it? 😉

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Hehehe you’ll love it all! So will he!

      Published 1.10.17
  15. Those little sandwiches are oh so cute and so are the little bentos!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      So cute and easy to make!

      Published 1.10.17
  16. lauren wrote:

    Such a cute idea! And it’s great to have a second use for all those cookie cutter!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Yes! Love that it’s useful!

      Published 1.10.17
  17. Barb wrote:

    This is so awesome. I’m totally making this for my son tomorrow for lunch. Thanks for the inspiration. My son is such a picky eater!

    http://www.flashesofdelight.com

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Hope he loves it!

      Published 1.10.17
  18. Daria wrote:

    I love this little peanut butter sandwich! I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! My favorite to go to for myself. Thank goodness I didn’t have a picker eater until she became an adult and started buying her own food. So far, my 15 month grand-daughter isn’t a picky eater either. Thanks for sharing!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Aww you’re lucky! He’s growing out of it so hopefully it’s a short phase!!

      Published 1.10.17
  19. Deb Dutta wrote:

    These are so incredibly cute!!! I’d love to be a picky eater 😀

    Published 1.10.17
  20. Rachel wrote:

    I love the idea of this. My preschooler would love it!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      So easy to make too!

      Published 1.10.17
  21. Abby wrote:

    This looks like I would eat it! Haha. Great ideas for my toddler. Thanks!

    Published 1.10.17
  22. Angela wrote:

    I have a picky eater in my house. He likes his happy tot pouches, chick-fil-a, and fruit. I’m hoping he’ll start liking peanut butter and jelly soon. Love all the cute shapes you made. I might try that.
    Angela
    http://www.prettyinherpearls.com

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Yum! My kids love that too!

      Published 1.10.17
  23. Meg wrote:

    I love that little tray! We sometimes use ice cube trays to eat out of because my boys think it’s fun to have different foods in all the little cups.

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      So fun! I’ll have to try that next time!

      Published 1.10.17
  24. Melissa wrote:

    I love the idea of using the cookie cutter and the Bento Box makes it look even more delish!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Yes! Presentation makes a big difference for my kids! Haha

      Published 1.10.17
  25. Hanna wrote:

    Love this idea! I have a VERY picky 3 year old as well and I never thought of cutting his sandwiches with cookie cutters! You’re a genius! Thanks for the idea and tips!

    Published 1.10.17
    • JeeYoung wrote:

      Yay glad you will try it! Hope he likes it!

      Published 1.10.17
  26. nancy wrote:

    Wow these are the absolute best! 🙂

    Published 1.10.17
  27. Such a cute idea! I absolutely love that bento box too! It’s funny because I just wrote a similar post about picky eaters. 😛

    Published 1.10.17
  28. Bailey wrote:

    So fun! Love this idea!

    Published 1.10.17
  29. I love this idea, I seriously need to up my lunchbox game!

    Published 1.10.17
  30. I love the idea of the cookie cutters for the pb&j. So many cool tips in here 🙂

    Published 1.10.17
  31. Great ideas! My daughter is being a bit picky lately, so I will have to use these tips!

    Published 1.10.17
  32. Eryn Lynum wrote:

    This is so cute. I love the sandwiches cutouts. And I have kind of always dreamed of having Vento boxes for all three of my boys. Our middle guy cannot have any gluten or dairy, which makes lunch (and all meals….) a bit more difficult. But I bet the cutouts would work fine even with Gf bread, and he would love them. Thanks!

    Published 1.10.17
  33. Sometimes I think I’m feeding my kids the same darn thing everyday! I figure at least they don’t get tired of it, and they’re eating it! Question, do you eat the remnants of the sandwich after you cut it out? I’ve always wondered what people do with those. Love those bento box type things, my kids love those too!

    Published 1.11.17
  34. Shannon wrote:

    So cute! I want to eat this!

    Published 1.11.17
  35. Gladys Jimenez wrote:

    This is great! We also love PB sandwiches with fun shapes.

    – TheMotherOverload.com

    Published 1.11.17
  36. Danielle wrote:

    I totally need to try to cutting up sandwiches into shapes. My three (almost four year old) is also a very picky eater. Like she doesn’t even like jelly on her sandwiches. It makes life interesting, to say the least.

    Published 1.11.17
  37. Jaclyn Q wrote:

    This is such a cute idea and I’m totally getting that stainless steel bento box!!!

    Published 1.11.17
  38. Kristen wrote:

    Great idea and so easy!

    Published 1.11.17
  39. The PB & J sandwich are always a score! 🙂 Your photos are so cute. Thanks for sharing.

    Published 1.11.17
  40. Jenna wrote:

    My daughter is 2 and boy pickiness hit hard! Her dinners these days consist of spoonfuls of Parmesan cheese. The spoon she eats the cheese with *has* to be this tiny little Minnie Mouse spoon from a toy tea set. I don’t know. But because I’m pretty sure Parmesan cheese and chocolate milk and the occasional hunk of play doh account for the bulk of my daughter’s calories I just roll with it.

    Published 1.11.17
  41. Aly wrote:

    We are about to hit the threenager stage and I’m not looking forward to it! My daughter would love this!

    Published 1.11.17
  42. My mum use to do this for me – cutting shapes into sandwich. Very nice idea for any picky children. xx

    Published 1.11.17
  43. Miri wrote:

    Neat! Thanks for the link to the Bento Box too 🙂

    Published 1.11.17
  44. My granddaughter is 18 months old, and I am dreading the threenager stage!! I am hoping her eating habits will stay good, but I know that her other grandparents allow her to eat junk food, so I may not be the favorite for a while LOL

    Published 1.11.17
  45. Love the bento box!! My kids won’t go anywhere near carrots tho!! Everything else in that box, they’ll definitely gobble up! Thanks for sharing!

    Published 1.11.17
  46. I have two picky eaters and my 9 year old still prefers to eat Bento box style with food staying in their nice little corners not touching the other foods 🙂 Cute Bento box!

    Published 1.11.17
  47. Tamara' wrote:

    I wish I could send pb&j sandwhiches to school with ym daughter, she’d actually eat something for once!

    Published 1.11.17
  48. This lunch looks AMAZING

    Published 1.11.17
  49. This is so cute, my daughter would love her sandwiches designed with a cookie cutter. I would do that tommorow. Thanks Jee!

    http://www.aprilwashere.com

    Published 1.11.17
  50. Alesia wrote:

    My 2.5 yr old is all of a sudden so picky. If it isn’t blueberries or blackberries, he wants nothing to so with it. I’ve been trying to just be as patient as possible and work through this phase. Good luck mama!

    Published 1.12.17
  51. Sandwich cut outs is such a fun idea!

    Published 1.16.17
  52. What can I say? I’m a sucker for great containers, lol. Totally ordering these bento boxes for my son for school next year! I have sectional plastic ones, but these look great!

    Published 1.17.17
  53. Kim wrote:

    I bet if I cut a little diva’s sandwich into shapes, she may just eat it 🙂

    Published 1.18.17
  54. PB and J is one of my son’s favourite sammies ever! I love how you cut these ones into shapes for your little guy. Sweet mama.

    Published 1.18.17
  55. Taylor wrote:

    I am loving that Bento box and the sandwiches you made are so cute! We LOVE Jif PB and Smucker’s Jelly! As a matter of fact, I think it is time for me to get more jelly.

    Published 1.19.17

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