The Toddler Café Tips and Tricks Contest

How many times have parents worked hard to make a new dish for their toddler only to have them throw it on the ground or refuse to eat it? Every mom has been there, and they all want to know how to get their kids to develop into healthy eaters that actually enjoy their time at the table. While there is no easy answer to this question, author Jennifer Carden and her photographer husband Matthew have created a cookbook to get parents started in the right direction. They learned with their own daughter that creativity, involvement, and fun are the keys to keeping kids curious about food.

The Toddler Café
By Jennifer Carden :: Photography by Matthew Carden

Check out the Toddler Café video to learn more about
their philosophy for feeding toddlers.

So now, we’re asking parents:

What are your favorite tips or tricks to get your toddler to eat?

Some tips Jennifer and Matthew Carden suggest are:
Putting the food in creative containers, like brown paper bags, an ice cream cone, or a teacup
Create creative dish names and stories when introducing new ingredients. For example, pasta with a creamy pea sauce is now Monster Mash and your little ‘monster’ can gobble it right up to get monster strength!


Chronicle Books and Boon, Inc. are sponsoring a CONTEST to find the best ideas for getting kids to eat. Whether it’s trying new foods or just getting them to sit still at the table, what works for you?

WHO WINS?: From your entries, author Jennifer Carden will choose the top TEN entries, who will all receive a signed copy of the book and a Boon Inc. feeding utensil for their child. Plus, will post all TEN winning tips here so everyone benefits from their brilliant tips.

Of the TEN, a GRAND PRIZE winner will receive a full line of the Boon Inc feeding utensils and dishes and the super-popular Animal Bag, along with several best-selling parenting books from Chronicle and the signed copy of The Toddler Café.

TO ENTER: Send an email to author Jennifer Carden at toddlercafe@gmail.com

WHEN: The contest lasts from April 1 until April 30! Winners will be announced on Mother’s Day!!! How appropriate!

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Magic Garden

We have a garden, it is the kind of garden that I let my 4 year old do pretty much whatever she wants in.
I let her plant seeds at the wrong time of year. I let her water whenever she wants to, and I let her pick and eat
any edible plants. You would think the garden would be a mess but actually it is quite nice. We have huge parsley plants, English peas and massive amounts of Broccoli.
We planted some broccoli seeds on a whim in the dead of winter. We do live near Wine Country in Northern California so the winter weather is mild. So, I let her plant the seeds and I never thought that we would have broccoli growing in our somewhat neglected garden. I think I am as excited about it as she is, I ran out for the camera and here is a photo of of our first harvest.
We steamed it and ate it bright green with olive oil and salt, it is delicious. I can't wait until our magic garden sprouts more delicious vegetables.

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Daily Candy Sweet on Boon Kids Products

Daily Candy has picked up on how cool Boon kids products are, and I am really happy about this.
Boon is a great company and has amazinly cool kids dishes.
We love them because kids can move around the cute little side dishes. You can fill them with small amounts of yummy cheese and other small food items that will keep a childs interest in the meal.

We have the Boon Animal Bag in oval and love it. Getting the kids to clean up is fun when they can toss all the stuffed animals in to it and zip it up.
It is storage and a seat all in one.

We also love the Boon Bath Frog Pod, makes cleaning up the bath toys a cinch.

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The Sea-Saw - How feeding your kids can take you for a ride!

The sea-saw was never my favorite piece of playground equipment. It required two people, and you really had to trust the other kid not to jump off and leave you like the look of the Coyote in the Road Runner cartoon when he realized that he was running with no ground under him. Wide eyed you'd fall to the dusty ground with a disappointed thunk. Now me, I much preferred the swing, smooth, easy to control and you could do it alone but it was even better when a friend was swinging next to you. You could practice jumping off in mid swing and get good air, something to be proud of. Not like the run and dump of the sea-saw.

Feeding your toddler can be something like the sea-saw, first off, it takes two. One is usually very excited (that would be you) and proud of the food you made for this little experiment with a taste-bud studded tongue . "Let's take it for a test drive you say, this kid will love the elaborate recipe I have prepared, I am sure of it." So you set up, the kid is swathed in plastic so you can be sure not one drop of food will touch the tiny pristine shirt. You have worked so hard all day to keep it clean, it would be a shame now to get a stain on it, so close to bedtime. You have a wet cloth and a dry one close at hand, in case a drip or g-d forbid a morsel falls to the floor. You have spent the proper amount of time blowing on the entree to cool it perfectly for your little ones mouth. You approach the hungry one and place some of the food on the tray of the space ship capsule like highchair. You stand back and wait, nothing happens. You try again, snubbed, "don't like it mamma." You are flabbergasted, you feel the mercury rising, the look in her eye, she is going to get off the sea-saw and leave ME wide eyed in mid air. Don't you do it, don't get off, you think to yourself. The flurry of thoughts are bouncing around your head, no, what will she eat...how could she not like this...this is a personal attack on my culinary skills...maybe there is to much oregano, that's it to much oregano. You find yourself tasting it, "hey this is good, what is your problem kid this is delicious." Although you would never say it you are thinking it. (#$@!@#!) Ok, compose yourself, remember you are not on the playground, you are not eight and Jimmy didn't just leave you in the dust.
This is your child, they need to learn how to taste and enjoy food. You can't expect them to just eat every vegetable, or sip every soup just because you made it with love. They need interaction, remember the "airplane, open wide here comes the plane, " that works for a reason. The child needs contact, so put them close to you in a similar chair or even on your lap.
Swing with them, you go up, they go up and you can pass each other on the way down. Make eating like recess, play, talk enjoy and share.

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