A muffin tin meal is a fun way to provide your little one with a variety of different foods at lunch time. Fill the holes in a small muffin tin with decorative foods based on a theme, or keep it simple and just add bits and pieces of stuff you find in the fridge. Either way, your child will love seeing his lunch laid out before him in a new and interesting way!
If you’ve spent any time at all on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen a few muffin tin meals. The meals found online are often built around a theme (the web site Another Lunch issues weekly challenges), but muffin tin meals don’t need to be over the top or complex. To make one, simply fill the individual compartments of a muffin pan with different foods and then give it to your child in lieu of a regular plate or bowl. I’ve found that a muffin pan with six holes is the perfect size for my preschooler. You can go with something plain, or you can get jazzy and choose one with fun shapes like stars or flowers.
I’ve found that preschoolers seem to be just the right age for muffin tin meals. Older kids sometimes find them babyish, while babies and toddlers may find it just a bit too delightful to flip the pan onto the floor.
If you do go with a theme — which I like to do — it’s fun to talk to your child about the different elements in her lunch and how they all fit the big picture. For example I used the muffin tin pictured above to discuss rainbows with my four-year-old. We talked about the colors of the fruits and vegetables in the top row and how they are the same colors you find in a rainbow. Then I explained how the sun (the cheese sandwich) shining through the rain coming from clouds (the egg) is how rainbows are made. Delicious and educational!
Here’s how I put the meal together:
- red bell pepper strips
- steamed baby carrots
- rainbow sprinkles
- green grapes
- hard boiled egg
- sandwich bread
- sliced cheddar cheese
- sliced ham
- Place bell pepper strips in one half of the first hole in the muffin tin. Fill the remaining space with the carrots.
- Spoon applesauce into the second hole. Add rainbow sprinkles to the top.
- Cut grapes in half and add them to the last hole in the top row of the tin.
- Mold a hard-boiled egg into a cloud shape using the star-shaped egg mold. Cut it in half and add it to the lower, left hole in the pan. (For instructions on how to use an egg mold see this post.)
- Cut two sun-burst shapes from a slice of sandwich bread. Cut more sun-burst shapes from the cheese slices. Lay one of the sun shapes on top of the sandwich and use the rest to fill the sandwich along with any desired condiments. Add the sandwich to the tin.
- Cut ham slices into strips. Roll them up jelly-roll style and stand them on end in the remaining hole.
Have you ever made muffin tin meals for your child? Is it something you would like to try?