I published a while ago that my 2 year old really doesn't care a lot about the new foods I try to bake for her, at least a lot of the time. She's cycled from being happy with lots of hot dogs, to lots of dry potato pearls, to lots of chicken drumsticks, etc. But sometimes she does seem to tire of the same foods. She does have little variety sometimes. Giving her much variety at all seems to take extra planning and time and can seem overwhelming, at least for me, when I have my hands full with a 2 1/2 year old and a 10 month old. So I was happy to read some ideas in a very helpful book I've been reading, " Understanding and Managing Your Child's Food Allergies," Scott H. Sicherer, M.D. On a quick side note, I highly recommend this book! Check it out from your library or buy it online. It's full of information about allergies and has several practical ideas for helping to manage your child's allergies, at home, school, and elsewhere.
Anyway, a toddler was a picky eater, and his diet was very limited to begin with. He was on a special formula, could eat one type of meat, and then several fruits and vegetables. He started to refuse to eat his sweet potatoes, which were always prepared mashed. The doctor recommended letting him choose his own utensils, plate, cup, and bowl. He also had plates with pictures that he could see as he got to the bottom of his plate. And the sweet potatoes were prepared in a variety of ways, including french-fried, diced, and even cut into cookie cutter shapes!
My two-year-old has been having a hard time eating very much food at all, at least at a time. I know that can be a typically toddler problem, but hers had gotten worse. I thought that she was tired of her same food, and could use variety. I tried the cookie-cutter sweet potato idea, and it was a great success! We cut out the shapes together. I sliced the potatoes and pressed the cookie cutter down, then she'd remove the shape and place it on a plate, then I'd deep fry a batch in a frying pan. I let her watch, taking care to keep her away from the hot oil. She loved the shapes! She ate a lot in one sitting(well, most of the time she was standing next to me as I was making them, and eating). She ate more food in one sitting than she had in a long time!
So, to get variety, you don't always need to find a new food! You can find various ways to serve the same item, and a toddler even gets some variety and fun out of choosing his own dishes!