Hooper Eats.

I’ve started a campaign to transform Hooper into an independent eater. I no longer have the time, or patience, to be following him around shoving food in his mouth. Truth be told, I’m sick of it. Feeding him can be so frustrating and time consuming and it’s time for something to change. So today, I’m looking at the man in the mirror. I’m talking about ME people. I’m going to make a change… because I recognize my role in his dependency.
After Hooper was born, a friend of mine gave me some books including The Baby Book by Dr. Sears (Thanks Kris). Lo and behold there is a chapter about picky toddler eaters. Who knew it was a phenomenon? Okay, we all do. I digress. Anyway, I read about the nibble tray and thought it sounded like a great idea. Not only does it promote the trying of new foods, but it also caters to independent eating. Two birds, one stone? I practically jumped into the nibble tray pool with my clothes off I was so excited.
Here’s the tray I assembled:
I included a few things I know he likes to eliminate the intimation factor. To my surprise, he tried everything. And he did a good job of staying in his highchair and feeding himself… for a while at least. I have to confess that I did resort to our norm of feeding on the run once he grew tired of his highchair, but it’s a transition, right?
Have you tried the nibble tray before? Have any ideas for other foods to try in the tray? Other ideas for feeding a picky eater?
Side Note: For those of you also dealing with a picky eater, stop over and say hello to Sarah & Stanley. Sarah does an awesome series she calls “Honest Food”. The two of us have a grand ol’ time sharing frustrations and stories and it feels oh so good to know I’m not alone.

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18 Responses

  • Sadie is also a picky eater. She is 3 in a few weeks and I have given her a nibble tray most days for over a year and it works great! I think you already do this, but mine eats raw veggies like crazy as long as their is a dip of some kind(usually use a yoghurt ranch). She also loves ketchup,not the best I know, but if it is on the plate she will eat a multitiude of foods on her plate such as eggs,pasta, hamburger meat,pancake etc. Sadie has always loved fruit,but I also make smoothies on occasion and she slurps those up no problem!

  • Wow, the “after” picture is impressive! Go Hooper! And go you! You’re a very creative mom.

    Also, can adults have nibble trays? I kind of like the idea.

    • They have these awesome things called bento boxes, which are basically the same thing.. they have many containers so you can take a multitude of things in day a packed lunch. That idea comes from the Asian culture where they have many side dishes with rice. They are awesome, and make lunch much more enjoyabke.

  • This. Is. Genius!! I think I’d read about it as an idea before but god knows where, and then I’d clearly forgotten about it anyway. Thank you for the reminder and a great example of what to fill it with.
    Extra suggestion of what I might put it would be, chicken, boiled egg/strips of omelette, cucumber, humous, oat cakes/cracker things, boiled potatoes, avocado, smoked mackerel/salmon, cauliflower and peas. Phew. Better give this a go now!

    Thanks also for the shout out. I’m enjoying my food ‘battles’ a bit more now that I have you to share them with. Best of luck for the next nibble tray from this side of the pond!

    Sarah xoxo

  • We had a lot of success with the nibble tray in the past. Not so much because Kale was a picky eater (he’s the opposite), but because he’s a wanderer. He went through a phase where he refused to sit at the table. The nibbler tray helped – we just left it out for awhile and he could go help himself. Getting a little table and chair set he could eat at also helped.

    Have you tried making a snack tray for him? We do this with Kale and I think it not only encourages independence, but also gives him a sense of control of what and when he’s eating since he picks it out. I blogged about it here: http://harvestingkale.blogspot.ca/2012/06/montessori-monday-toddler-snack-tray.html

  • that’s such an interesting experiment! loved it!)
    ps: we’re giving away a watercolor painting on our blog this week – you’re invited! 🙂

  • I did this idea years ago with my first son who is not that picky in the first place and it turned out ok however my two year old now that’s another story even this would not work :/ he has very limited food that he will it it’s so frustrating.

    • I feel ya. It can be so frustrating. It makes me so angry some days. If only yelling made his eating better…

  • What is a good age to start this? I never know when to start adding more complex foods to their diet. Also, do you offer the same things often or different each time?

    • I think my son was 2 when I started doing this. I offer some of the same things each time, but I make sure to always add a few new things too — makes it less scary if there’s something familiar, I think.

  • This is genius!! Meal planning for my toddler is giving me nightmares but this is a great way to get in all the food groups.

  • I am going to do this with my 2yr old daughter. She does not eat much an picky eater.she loves fruits an some veggies but she dont eat much at all an I notice the more variety I give her she does good an she likes dip to dip her food. I think she will like this I am trying this tmrw. 🙂

  • I do this on occasion and it’s fun (for me to come up with ideas) and for my 2.5 year old to eat. She calls them her “food buses.” (Not sure why) 🙂

    I also add diced cucumber, grape tomatoes, nuts, cooked beans, sliced hot dog or deli meat pieces, jicama, celery, raw red pepper, apple…


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