Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken

This easy Mediterranean Bowl is full of so much flavor, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan. Loaded with tzatziki marinated chicken, tzatziki sauce, crispy chickpeas and more, most everything can be made in advance for quick weeknight assembly.

A Mediterranean Bowl loaded with chicken, tomatoes, cucumber and tzatziki.

I hope you’re ready for a life-changing, flavor-packed weeknight meal, because this Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken is just that! I’ve been dreaming about creating a recipe like this for a while, and now that it’s finally here, I couldn’t be more excited.

The other exciting part? All of the components of this bowl that require ANY sort of cooking can be made well in advance. I mean, this meal can even be served cold without ANY reheating! That’s the ideal weeknight meal if you ask me.

I think it’s about time we start talking about all of the delicious things that go into this Mediterranean Bowl. Shall we?

What Goes into an Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl?

This recipe is so loaded with flavor, the real question should be, “What doesn’t go into an Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl?” Because there’s not much!

Let’s start from the top with the real star of the show:

Tzatziki Marinated Chicken

I consider this a pretty genius idea on my part if I do say so myself. Yogurt marinated chicken is nothing new. It’s a great way to infuse some moisture and flavor into grilled chicken. So, when we’re talking about a Mediterranean Bowl, why not marinate our chicken with everyone’s favorite Greek yogurt-based sauce – tzatziki!

You’ll want to mix up the sauce and start marinating the chicken at least a few hours before you want to cook it, so this is where you’ll have to plan a bit in advance. The good news is, once the chicken is cooked, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few days before using.

Tzatziki Sauce

While you’re mixing up the marinade for the chicken, why not make the tzatziki sauce you’re going to top your bowl with? The ingredients vary only slightly, and there is a lot of overlap, so you can proverbially kill two birds with one stone.

You can store the tzatziki in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days before using as well. In fact, it gets better the longer it sits since the flavors have more time to meld.

An overhead shot of a healthy Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki marinated chicken.

Couscous

Since we’re going Mediterranean, we’re using couscous as the grain base for our tasty bowls. If you’re not familiar with making couscous, let me tell you, it’s so quick and easy to make! I just bought the whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s and whipped it up in less than 20 minutes. It’s also great to make in advance and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crispy Chickpeas

Yes, crispy chickpeas! These are another food that, if you haven’t yet made them, you better hop to it because they are the BEST healthy snack. And the flavoring possibilities are endless. For these bowls, I kept the crispy chickpeas simple with a dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano. They tie in perfectly to the rest of the ingredients with the best crispy crunch. You may want to make extra, because you won’t be able to stop nibbling on them as you cook!

The chickpeas can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for at least a couple of days. You’re going to have to practice your self-restraint to not eat them all before it’s time to top your bowls with them!

These are all of the ingredients for the Mediterranean Bowls that require any sort of prep, and as you can see, you can make them all in advance. Now you’ve got the hard part out of the way, let’s talk about how to make these bowls your own!

Two Mediterranean Bowls surrounded by fresh tomatoes, dill and cucumber.

How to Customize Your Bowl

The ingredients I mentioned above are the basic building blocks of your Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl, but they’re certainly not all there is to it. Here are the other ingredients – that require no prep at all – that you can mix and match to really customize this recipe to your own personal taste:

Tomatoes
Cucumber
Avocado
Olives
Hummus
Fresh dill
Fresh oregano

Serving Your Mediterranean Bowl

Since we’re still in the heat of summer, I highly recommend serving these bowls cold. Sure, they’re a great weeknight dinner option, but they’d also be great to pack for lunches for both yourself and the kiddos. I think they’d be the perfect picnic fare! Heck, you could even make a full Mediterranean feast for a crowd and serve these bowls with my Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb.

I hope you give these Med Bowls a shot ASAP because they are seriously bursting with flavor. And if you’re looking for more great meal prep recipes, be sure to check out my Meal Prep board on Pinterest!

An overhead shot of two healthy Mediterranean Bowls flanked by gold forks, fresh tomatoes and dill.

Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Marinating Time
3 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 30 mins
 

This easy Mediterranean Bowl is full of so much flavor, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan. Loaded with tzatziki marinated chicken, tzatziki sauce, crispy chickpeas and more, most everything can be made in advance for quick weeknight assembly.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: bowl, chicken, family-friendly, Greek, marinade, meal prep, Mediterranean, weeknight, yogurt
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 739 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the chicken:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the tzatziki:
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated and water squeezed out with a paper towel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • Dash of salt (to taste)
For the crispy chickpeas:
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Other ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups prepared couscous
  • 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, cut into sixths
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Fresh dill and oregano
Instructions
To make the chicken:
  1. Place chicken breasts in Ziploc. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, then pour into Ziploc. Seal Ziploc, smoosh around to coat the chicken with the marinade, and refrigerate for a few hours, or ideally overnight. 

  2. When ready to cook, turn grill on medium heat. Place chicken breasts on grill and cook until done, about 10 minutes on the first side and 8 minutes on the second side (but use your best judgment.) Let cool before storing.

  3. Before adding the chicken to your bowl, dice it up.

To make the tzatziki:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place in a resealable container in the refrigerator to store until ready to use. 

To make the crispy chickpeas:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Using a sieve, drain the chickpeas and rinse off with water.

  3. Pour the chickpeas onto a dish towel and rub until dry. It’s okay if some of the skins come off.

  4. Place chickpeas in a small bowl and coat with olive oil and salt. You’ll add the other seasonings after cooking.

  5. Pour chickpeas out onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until crispy.

  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle on garlic powder and oregano, toss to coat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

To assemble the bowls:
  1. The couscous will form the base of your bowl. Then, just top with diced chicken, a dollop of tzatziki, a sprinkle of chickpeas, and whatever other toppings you decide to use. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: High

Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait

This Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait is just as suitable as a healthy dessert as it is as a wholesome breakfast. Coconut milk chia pudding, thick passion fruit puree and homemade haupia all come together in a single dish. You won’t be able to stop eating this tasty treat!

Two dishes of Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait topped with pink flowers.

One of my favorite parts about traveling is finding new foods and dishes that inspire me to get in the kitchen and create my own special version of them. On any typical vacation, I’ll probably come home with at least two ideas of recipes I want to recreate on my own. It’s one of the reasons I love traveling so much – there’s nothing like it to broaden my imagination and get my home-cooking skills flowing again as soon as I get home.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, chances are you noticed we took a little trip to visit my cousin and her new baby in Kauai at the end of July. While the great majority of our vacation was spent hanging out in our beautiful vacation rental and lounging by the pool with our babes, we did manage to get out for a few tasty treats.

There’s a small local market close to where we stay in Poipu that, while not fancy, is perhaps best known for the shave ice “wagon” that parks out front of it or the sushi bar inside of it. We stopped in for some Spam musubi one day on our way home from the beach, and my cousin came out with a Mason jar full of what looked to me like the dreamiest (and tastiest) chia pudding concoction I’d ever seen in my life:

A Mason jar of coconut chia pudding layered with haupia and passion fruit puree.

Coconut chia pudding was layered in between passion fruit puree and creamy haupia, and as soon as I tasted a bite of it I casually informed her that she better eat however much of it that she wanted FAST, because otherwise I would 😉

Lucky for me (and for little Raia, who couldn’t get enough of it!) she was more than generous with sharing and I was able to savor each bite just enough so I’d remember how to make my own at home. Lucky for you, I’m sharing that homemade recipe with you today!

There are a few things that go into this Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait, but no step is too difficult. Just remember that you’ll want to start the process a day before you want to serve it, as both the haupia and the chia pudding need to set up in the fridge overnight. It’s also good to give the passion fruit puree some time to set up in the fridge since you’ll be heating it thicken it up.

Here’s how the process goes:

Step 1: Make the haupia.

Full disclosure, this was the first time I’d made haupia from scratch, and I was blown away by how easy it was! I used this recipe from Tasting Table, which involves just four ingredients:

Cornstarch
Water
Coconut milk
Sugar

It’s a quick and easy process, just boil everything together, pour it into a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. No baking or fancy temperature taking required. You can also find haupia mix packets in Asian grocery stores (or on Amazon [*affiliate link]), but after making this from-scratch recipe, I’ll tell you I never feel the need to buy the packets again!

Looking down on a dish of Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding topped with coconut chips and a pink flower.

Step 2: Make the chia pudding.

If you’ve never made chia pudding before, prepare to meet your new favorite make-ahead breakfast. All it takes is some chia seeds, coconut beverage (or milk of your choice) and some vanilla and honey. Pour everything into a Mason jar, shake and seal, then place this in your refrigerator overnight as well. Are we seeing how easy this is yet?

Step 3: Thicken up (and sweeten) some passion fruit puree.

I know, I know, you’re probably wondering where in the heck you’re going to find some passion fruit puree. But I’ve made it easy for you! You can order it on Amazon [*affiliate link], and it’s even on Prime so it will be at your doorstep in just a couple of days.

We were lucky enough to have some passion fruit puree in our freezer from a family friend that grows them, so I simply thawed that but then thickened it up on the stove with some cornstarch and a little extra sugar for sweetness. I highly recommend giving whatever puree you end up getting a taste before doing this, and only adding sugar as needed.

Step 4: Assemble, top with toasted coconut flakes and enjoy!

The next morning, your parfaits will be ready in seconds. Simply take your serving vessel (I like small Mason jars or clear parfait dishes) and start layering:

First goes the coconut chia pudding,
Then goes the passion fruit puree,
Followed by cubes of your homemade haupia,
All topped with roasted coconut strips to add the perfect crunch.

An overhead shot of a wooden spoon resting in a dish of coconut chia pudding.

If you’re looking for a special kid-friendly breakfast treat that still packs a ton of nutrition, this Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait is the answer.

And if coconut and/or passion fruit aren’t your thing, check out some of my other tasty chia pudding recipes like this Tropical Matcha Chia Pudding, this Coconut-Vanilla Chia Pudding Parfait, and this baby-friendly Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote!

Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait
Prep Time
30 mins
Refrigerator Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 30 mins
 

This Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding Parfait is just as suitable as a healthy dessert as it is as a wholesome breakfast. Coconut milk chia pudding, thick passion fruit puree and homemade haupia all come together in a single dish. You won’t be able to stop eating this tasty treat!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: breakfast, chia, coconut, dairy-free, dessert, Hawaiian, healthy, kid-friendly, passion fruit, snack
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 570 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups diced haupia pudding Link to recipe in Notes
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla coconut beverage
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups passion fruit puree Link to purchase in Notes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • Sugar, as needed to sweeten
  • Roasted coconut chips, for topping
Instructions
  1. The night before you plan to serve the parfaits, prepare the haupia according to directions and allow to set up in the refrigerator overnight.

  2. The same night, combine chia seeds, coconut beverage and vanilla in a glass bowl with a lid and place in the refrigerator. If you can, give the bowl a shake a few times before bed to make sure the seeds are well incorporated with the coconut beverage. 

  3. You’ll also want to prepare the passion fruit puree the night before. Place the puree in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. In a small, separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, then whisk into the passion fruit puree. Continuously whisk as you add however much sugar you need, probably a few tablespoons but taste as you go. Remove puree from heat and let cool before transferring to a Mason jar or other container and refrigerating overnight.

  4. In the morning, scoop chia pudding into your serving vessels, then top with passion fruit puree, then the diced haupia. Top with toasted coconut chips and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Dish Density: Medium

Haupia pudding recipe from Tasting Table.

Passion fruit puree link to purchase [*affiliate]

4 Things NOT to Say When Speaking to Your Toddler About Food

When it comes to feeding toddlers, what you SAY can have just as much of an impact on how they eat as what you do or serve. Here’s a list of four things NOT to say when speaking to your toddler about food to set him or her up for success right now and in the future.

Title image for 4 Things NOT to Say to Your Toddler When Speaking About Food.

If you’re a parent, you know it. Feeding toddlers is tricky with a capital “T”. Chances are that at one point or another your toddler has wanted to eat the same three things over and over again, and/or has completely refused to eat anything of any nutritional value, and/or has liked something one second only to loudly exclaim “no like” the next. It’s a tough road to navigate, and it takes a lot of psychological manipulation to successfully do so.

That’s right, today I’m here telling you to psychologically manipulate your child. It sounds strange to flat out say it like that, but it’s the truth. What we say to our toddlers now when it comes to food and eating will lay the foundation for not only their current eating habits, but their relationship with food in the future. It’s just as important, if not more so, than HOW we feed them or WHAT we feed them.

Having studied psychology – and having gone through my own rocky relationship with food – I’ve made it my mission to raise my daughter to have the healthiest, most positive relationship with eating that she can. This means countless hours studying the research, perfecting my own relationship with food, and practicing all that I’ve learned with my little girl. Throughout everything, I’ve been able to glean what really works and what doesn’t when it comes to speaking to your toddler about food, and that’s what I’m here to share with you!

A toddler sitting on a kitchen counter eating blueberries with a quizzical look on her face.

Read on to learn the four things to watch out for when speaking about food with your littles, along with ways to rephrase what you say for optimal results:

Presenting things as “black and white”

One of the main things you want to watch out for when speaking to your toddler about food is presenting it as “healthy” or “unhealthy” or “good for you” or “bad for you.” This presents things as more “black and white” or “yes” or “no” to your child, where the real goal is to teach him or her balance and everything in moderation.

Rather than using these phrases, try focusing on other aspects of food and eating, like how the food tastes, how it makes our bodies feel, or how the food looks.

Some examples of this would be:

“Mmmm don’t these mashed sweet potatoes taste nice and creamy?”

“Doesn’t this broccoli make you feel strong?”

“How fun are all these colors on our plate? Are they making a rainbow?”

Your own negative self-talk

Toddlers are sponges, and they absorb more than we think. Be mindful of how you speak about your own body image or eating habits when you’re around your toddler, because it will most certainly rub off on him or her. Never make comments in front of them about needing to lose weight or not being able to eat something because it’s not on your diet, or saying you need to lose 10 pounds before you can wear a bikini. In a similar vein, be wary of your comments about THEIR size.

Here are some great POSITIVE examples of things you could say instead:

“I love eating lots of fruits and vegetables because they make me feel happy and energized.”

“Let’s put on our swimsuits and go swimming!”

“You’re so strong!”

A toddler and mom baking together at the kitchen counter.

Forcing

I talk about it a lot, but forcing your child to eat something will only lead to resentment and resistance and potentially set them up for disordered eating in the future. The secret is to continuously introduce new and different foods to your toddler, while allowing him or her the autonomy to choose what he or she will or won’t eat. If you offer enough healthy options, your little one will find SOMETHING he or she loves. Perhaps the greatest way to overcome the feeling of needing to force is to lead by example! If your child sees you eating healthy food on the regular, he or she will want to do the same (see my above note about toddlers being sponges).

Dwelling on the negative

Perhaps one of the biggest things we can avoid when communicating with our toddlers about food (and related to #4) is dwelling on the negative. Don’t focus on what they didn’t eat, or how little they ate. Instead, celebrate the wins and encourage positive behavior! If your child tastes something they’ve never tried before, let them know how proud you are of them. If they ate a well-rounded meal, exclaim to them how good they must feel. Kids love positive reinforcement, so dole that stuff out on the regular.

This is just my quick summary of what NOT to say or do when speaking to your toddler about food, but there’s a lot more where that came from! If you want to learn more about feeding your little one, click here for my free cheat sheet on dealing with picky eaters AND to get on the list to be notified when my next Feeding Toddlers: Unlocked! comprehensive course kicks off. I can’t wait to see you there!

A mama holding her toddler in the kitchen and giving her a big kiss.

Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry

An easy weeknight beef and veggie stir-fry recipe that’s ready in just 30 minutes. Serve over brown rice for a well-balanced meal that the entire family will love!

A close-up of a big pan full of Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry.

When it comes to types of recipes you guys like to see here on the blog, some of the most requested are easy, weeknight meals. It’s something I’ve been working on bringing you more of, especially now that I’m in that season of life where they are oh-so-important. After all, there’s nothing like having your hands full with raising a tiny human to really put you in your place when it comes to what types of recipes you have time to make anymore.

So when my brother (who happens to have his hands full with three tiny humans of his own) texted me asking for a good homemade stir-fry recipe, I knew it was time to get one in my arsenal – and share it with all of you!

Why Stir-Fry is a Great Weeknight, Family-Friendly Meal

If you think about it, stir-fry is a pretty ultimate weeknight meal, for a number of reasons:

  • It comes together quickly
  • It’s adaptable for many different diets
  • You can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand
  • It’s very nutritionally balanced
  • With the exception of some rice to serve it over, it’s a one-dish meal

Does this convince you that you need to make this Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry ASAP?

Well, what if I told you that, once you have the base recipe for this stir-fry down, you’ll be able to make this dinner in tons of different ways and improvise it however you want it so that you’re never serving the exact same thing twice? Let’s talk about the basic building blocks of a good stir-fry…

A dish of Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry ready to enjoy.

Basic Building Blocks of a Good Stir-Fry

When it comes to making stir-fry, there are just a few building blocks you need to make it a hit with the fam.

PROTEIN

You’ll want to always include some sort of protein, whether that’s beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc. This will give the meal it’s “stick-to-your-ribs” quality so that you’re not raiding the kitchen for a snack two hours after eating.

VEGGIES

The fun part about stir-fry is that you can really use any combination of veggies you want. I used carrots, zucchini, broccoli and snow peas for this recipe, but some other great ideas might be:

  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Bok choy
  • Water chestnuts
  • Mini corn
A TASTY SAUCE

There are tons of different ways you can go with sauces for stir-fry, but the basic one I’ve included in this Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry will work with just about any protein and veggie combination you decide on.

What You Need to Whip Up a Stir-Fry In No Time

The other great thing about stir-fry for dinner – especially on a weeknight – is how very little equipment it involves. If you have a wok, use it! But if not, a big, deep saute pan will do just fine. Aside from an Instant Pot or rice cooker to make some rice to serve it with and a wooden spoon to stir, that’s all you need!

An overhead shot of two delicious plates of Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry.

So if all of these reasons don’t convince you, you can stop reading now, but if an Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry sounds right up your alley for dinner this week, read on for the recipe!

And in case you’re looking for some more weeknight dinner inspiration, check out these recipes:

Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy beef and veggie stir-fry recipe that’s ready in just 30 minutes. Serve over brown rice for a well-balanced meal that the entire family will love!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Asian, beef, dinner, entree, main course, stir-fry, weeknight
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 354 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the stir-fry:
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound flank steak, cut into thin strips or cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups snow peas, cut in half or thirds
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic paste (optional)
For topping:
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in your wok or large pan on the stove over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add flank steak and sear on all sides. Remove from pan and set on a plate while you start the vegetables. 

  2. Return wok to heat on the stove and add 2 more tablespoons of sesame oil. Once oil is shimmering again, add garlic and vegetables and stir to combine. Let veggies cook over medium heat while you mix up the sauce.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Add to the vegetable mix, then add the flank steak back to the pan. Continue to cook on medium heat until sauce has thickened slightly and vegetables are cooked.

  4. Serve over rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

5 Tips for Introducing New Foods to Your Toddler

Use these five tips to consistently introduce new foods to your toddler – in a way that will actually get them to eat them! These pointers and strategies will help expand your little one’s palate and turn him or her into a healthy, adventurous eater for life.

5 Tips for Introducing New Foods to Your Toddler Title Graphic

Ohhhh feeding toddlers. The never-ending challenge. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever met a mama who doesn’t have at least one thing she’d like to change about her toddler’s eating habits. You’re not alone! It happens to everyone. Heck, I’ve spent the better part of a year consuming all of the research and techniques under the sun for this and I STILL sometimes wish my toddler would just eat whatever I give her with no resistance or complaint.

But there are a lot of things I HAVE learned in all of my research that have made the adventure of feeding my toddler just a little bit easier, and I’m sharing my top five tips with you today! Read on to learn some of the best ways to introduce new foods to your little one.

And if you’re ready to start introducing new foods but feel you need some accountability partners, I’d love for you to sign up for my Three New Foods Challenge. In this challenge, I personally walk a small group through the entire process of introducing three new foods over the course of a few weeks via a private Facebook group. It’s so much fun and is a great way to stay accountable (and meet some other mamas in the process.) Click here to learn more!

Now, let’s get on with these tips

Tip #1: If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying

If you introduce a new food to your toddler and he or she refuses it, don’t give up! Toddlers are discovering their newfound autonomy and will often go through phases of refusing something “just because.” Continue to introduce a new food at least once a week – perhaps prepared a bit differently (see #2) – and you may find that your toddler eventually comes around. To put things into perspective, it can take 30-40 exposures to a certain food before a toddler will eat it!

Tip #2: Try the same food prepared a different way

If your toddler refuses a food once, try preparing it in a slightly different way the next time you serve it. For example, if your little one isn’t into mashed sweet potatoes, try serving them as fries with a “dip” the next time, or prepare the sweet potatoes with different spices. Toddlers are into novelty, so anything that’s “new” and “exciting” to them is more likely to be a hit. Flex your creativity muscles!

A toddler enjoying a healthy lunch.

Tip #3: Serve the new food with a food they already love

If you have a toddler, chances are he or she is obsessed with one food or another. Use this to your advantage and work a new food into the food he or she already loves! Ease into it slowly, baby steps are great. For example, if your child loves grilled cheese and you want to get him or her to eat carrots, try throwing a few grated carrots into the grilled cheese the next time you make it. Don’t go overboard, remember, baby steps! Once they eat the little bit of grated carrots in the grilled cheese, you can slowly increase the amount. When your child is into eating carrots this way, try next serving grated carrots on their own but covered with melty cheese. If this continues to be successful, slowly ease off of the cheese at each serving. Before you know it, your little one will likely be ready to eat grated carrots on their own.

Tip #4: Model the desired behavior

We all know it – kids at this age are little sponges! That’s why, if you’re trying to get your toddler to eat a wider variety of foods, it’s important that you lead by example. If you want your little one to eat broccoli, be sure they see you eating broccoli. If you want him or her to not think twice about eating a tomato, let them see you eating tomatoes. Your toddler will eventually want to mimic you!

Tip #5: Don’t react negatively if they don’t like something

If your toddler tastes something and doesn’t like it, or flat out refuses a new food, be sure not to have a negative reaction. Forcing a certain item or speaking negatively to your little one about food will only foster resentment and rebellion, and may also cause your child to grow up with a negative reaction (in general) to eating. The important thing is to continue introducing things and modeling the desired behavior, without worrying so much about your little one actually clearing his or her plate.

A mama and toddler giggling at each other after a delicious meal!

I know how challenging it can be to get your toddler to try new foods (speaking from experience), so I hope these tips were helpful to you and gave you the extra boost of confidence you need to get in the kitchen and whip up something new and exciting for your little one. If you’re stuck in a rut and need some ideas when it comes to new foods to introduce to your toddler, be sure to check out my favorites for 12- and 18-month olds, plus my post on Creative Baby and Toddler Lunch Ideas!

I’d love to hear how these strategies worked for you in the comments below, and don’t forget to click here to learn more about my Three New Foods Challenge if you’re looking for a little extra support and motivation! Xoxo