After doing my recent Yummy No-Cook Dinners post and listening to an episode of The Girl Next Door podcast, I decided to make assembly-only dinner ideas a weekly series. There are days when it's either too hot to cook or there's too much going on to have time to cook—or both!—so this series is meant to help you get a nutritious and yummy dinner on the table in a flash.
I've found that these sorts of assembled dinners are usually really popular with the little ones, probably because they just look like a collection of snacks which is somehow more appealing. I try to include:
- At least one vegetable (thawed peas, snap peas, cucumbers, or cherry tomatoes)
- At least one fruit (grapes, berries, sliced apples, sliced kiwi, clementines, peaches)
- One protein (cubed salami, leftover meat, diced lunch meat, beans, or nut butter)
- One good source of calcium (yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese)
- A complex carbohydrate (whole grain bread, crackers, rice cakes, tortilla, pita)
Sometimes this works out better than others, but aim for an assortment of foods so that your toddler and pick and choose what they like. Use up leftovers, include foods you might otherwise reserve for "snacks", and make it colorful!
The idea above has diced summer sausage, diced mozzarella cheese, Happy Munchies Rice Cakes, chopped fresh snap peas, and halved grapes. This would pair nicely with milk or water, depending on your child's needs.
Stay tuned for more No-Cook Toddlers each Monday and chime in with your toddler's favorites!
The divided plate is by Replay Recycled.