With out daughter we had to just make meal time meal time - she sits there, until it is over, and eats or doesn't eat. I have to admit that for some meals she gets food we have discovered she loves, and is really easy to make (instant oatmeal for breakfast, and for a long time lunch or dinner was a gerber ravioli thing), but as often as possible we just give her a little bit of what we are already making for ourselves. It no longer feels like i'm doing a lot of prep and throwing things out on her account.
When she gets overly hungry and won't eat, i usually resort to drinking. She'll drink milk, or yogurt smoothies, and that gives her enough calories to calm down and actually eat something real. We try not to give snacks outside of meals because it makes her even less likely to eat the healthy meals we have, but this trick is our compromise to get rid of the worst grumpies.
Good luck. My daughter was horrible for the first 18 months or so, but now we've found enough foods she'll eat and enough of a schedule we can accept that its tolerable. Hopefully thats around your corner as well.
(ps. i don't know if this actually had an effect, but my daughter got better about eating when she was 100% weaned. If you still nurse your daughter or give her a bottle in the mornings, perhaps try eliminating it or at least moving it until after the sit-down breakfast. If you try the milk/yogurt drink i mentioned above, i'd also put this after the meal - maybe at the swim lessons?)