My Muffin Tin Meal, Without the Muffin Tin

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I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of muffin tin meals. The concept is simple: instead of presenting your toddler’s meal on a boring old plate or in a bowl, you put the individual components in muffin tin spaces (or you can use an array of the little individual silicone muffin “tins” instead). It exposes the kid to a variety of food at one sitting but keeps servings small and interesting and might get kids to eat more/different foods than they would on a plate.

Sounds great, right? But then there’s a part of me who worries about the waste involved (since some people use paper muffin tin liners, which doesn’t seem necessary) and the pain of cleanup (we don’t usually wash our muffin tins in the dishwasher). Also, it’s possible we don’t even have a six-cup muffin tin right now, since I was all set to try it out last night and couldn’t find one.

(It is also possible we have one in a box somewhere that we still haven’t unpacked in the year and half we’ve lived in this house. I don’t know where such a box would be, but it’s always possible.)

So instead of doing it in a real muffin tin, I just gave the Bit a big plate and spread all the stuff out muffin-tin style. It’s not as cute as it would be if each little thing were in its own cup, but it worked.

muffin tin meal without a muffin tin
Our “no muffin tin” meal.

The cooked part of this was all my husband, and includes black beans, Spanish rice and turkey taco meat. I added cheese, tortilla chips and lemonade.

One thing I do object to when it comes to muffin tin meals is that they keep the food segregated. I know that’s the way kids usually like it, and often they aren’t really things that are meant to be mixed together — one compartment has fruit, another veg, a third a sandwich or something — but for this meal I really wanted her to be able to mix if she wanted. I ate mine in a bowl all mixed together, and when she saw that she wanted to try all the parts together, too.

Which was awesome, because it meant that she actually ate more of the vegetables in the rice and the taco meat because they were mixed with other things and she didn’t notice them as much. And that’s a total win, even if the presentation isn’t great.

Have you ever done muffin tin meals? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for visiting, commenting and sharing!

This post is shared at Muffin Tin Mom. Visit her site for lots more muffin tin meal ideas.

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  1. I can see where muffin pans would allow for more generous portions, and divided serving ware is great for getting a picky eater to accept a new food on their “plate”. We tend to use divided plates, old school cafeteria type trays, or reusable plastic containers, though. My 7 year old still doesn’t like her food to touch, and will deconstruct a turkey and cheese sandwich rather than eat it as a sandwich. :eyeroll:

  2. My little Muffin LOVES Muffin Tin Monday! I do hear you about the paper liners, but the answer to that is very very simple: silicon liners! I do use paper occasionally if I have some that really fit with my theme, but usually we use the silicon ones, which can then be thrown in the dishwasher.
    And about mixing foods: again, I know what you mean, but actually it can work both ways. My daughter will often deliberately move a food from one cup into another if she wants to eat them together (eg berries into yoghurt), plus I am not above putting a bit of a casserole-type meal into one of the cups! This actually works really well for us, because we have MTMs at dinner time, and The Muffin is not keen on casseroles, stir-fries and the like. This way she gets a little of whatever meal I decide to make for Husband and I, plus a few other things I know she likes. So she has to try something new, but I still know she’s going to eat dinner. (and it also gives Husband and I the freedom to now and then eat something that we like and she doesn’t!)

  3. I’m sure I’ll try a real muffin tin meal someday; at least it reminds you to offer a variety of stuff!

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