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It’s 5pm at my place… cue craziness, mess, screams and tears. Oh, and feeding time!

When the time approaches, I almost have to gear myself up… “let’s do this”, “the countdown is on” – as I fist pump the air. If I go in with an already defeated attitude, or I am tired (which is often the case) – I can tell you now, feeding time will be a complete flop.

So, here are my personal tips to make it more enjoyable for everyone:

  1. Preparation. Having pre-prepared meals in the freezer is a god send. Often I will make a batch of soup (a fam favourite) and measure portions into freezer bags. I cheat a little sometimes with bags of steam fresh frozen vegetables – the perfect combination and size for a toddler or two. 90 seconds in the microwave and voila, they are good to go.
  2. Variety. Check out @easytoddlerfood on Instagram – some great healthy meal suggestions for toddlers. I always offer ‘variety on a plate’; chicken, carrot and cucumber sticks or pasta, broccoli and blueberries, for example. Colour and variety make the meal look more appealing and therefore excites them to dig in.
  3. No options. At my house, you eat the dinner that’s provided or you go without. Ruthless hey? Well, in the past I was known to make up to five different meals on request with none of them being eaten. Almost became a little game and drove me mental – not to mention, wasted a lot of food. I put my foot down after that and decided dinner would be offered once, and that’s it.
  4. Rewards. My two year old is just coming to the age where he understands “rewards”. His current obsession is blueberries. So I’ll show him I have a little handful of them, and for every mouthful he eats of his meal he will get a blueberry. He gets excited for his rewards and it works, most of the time. You can mix it up with your child’s favourite food or even something like a sticker.
  5. Baby Led Weaning (BLW). This simply means, self feeding. BLW is all about exploring, experiencing and enjoying nutritious meals with the family from around six months. My first born never experienced this until much later, he was spoon fed mash. However, my daughter will eat anything from pasta, steamed vegetables, sushi rolls and lamb cutlets, all off her tray and all with no teeth. It makes dinner time more enjoyable as I can give the two kids similar food. Although a messy affair it’s a saviour for your time and sanity.
  6. Cleaning. Don’t stress if the kitchen is a mess or their is food spattered over the ground. I would suggest waiting until everyone is done and dusted before starting the cleaning routine. As mentioned above, BLW is messy! Food is smeared into the side of the highchair, the floor, clothes and hands. You almost want to take them outside and hose them off, but that would be cruel right? My advice would be, get an easy-to-clean highchair (we have the Ikea Antilop), put a drop sheet underneath said messy child and get a dog!

Below are two recipes that may help you. The first one, Zucchini Slice is a great one for BLW and the second, Breakfast Smoothie, is a great option for the fussy toddler.

Zucchini Slice

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 rashes of bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 5 eggs
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
  • Grease and line a non-stick lamington tin.
  • Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, flour and cheese in a large bowl.
  • Add oil and lightly beaten eggs, and mix. Season with a little salt and pepper. Pour into lamington tin.
  • Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and set. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Note: the vegetables can be substituted or added to – try corn kernels, grated carrot, shallots, shredded beans, and leave out the bacon for a vegetarian option.

Breakfast Smoothie 

(can be consumed any time of the day)

  • 1 Banana
  • Handful of fresh or frozen berries
  • 3 scoops of Greek Yoghurt
  • Sprinkling of Chia Seeds
  • Milk
  • Squirt of honey
  • A small handful of Weetbix

What tips and tricks can you share with us that you’ve found work in making feeding times calmer at your house? Please leave what works for you in the comments below.

Image courtesy of  Shutterstock.com
  • I used to have a small tarp that we would put down and could then wipe over with a cloth after meals.

    Reply

  • Great ideas and great recipes. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

  • Great tips and recipes! We have a plastic sheet on the ground to catch food and then just shake it out and wipe it after meals.

    Reply

  • Some great ideas and a couple of great recipes!

    Reply

  • You describe dinner time at your house as feeding time at the zoo? Lol! Bit harsh isn’t it. You must have messy dinner times

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  • Always eat as a family at the table.

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  • I can totally relate to this. Being a Mum of 5 it can be like a zoo at our place a dinner time too lol :)


    • lol ok feeding time at a very small zoo

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  • We have options for tea in our house. Take it or leave it :)

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  • ThIs is great Thanks

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  • The mess ahhhh drives me crazy it’s hard to let it go

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  • looks great

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  • great hints and tips as well as fantastic recipes .. thanks

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  • Zoo is the word used in our house at meal times… It looks and sounds like a zoo! Thanks for the article!

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  • I need all the tips possible.. It’s always crazy at dinner time!

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  • Great tips! I agree with freezing meals for adults and kids – it’s a great time saver when you just don’t have the energy or brain power or time to get something prepared.

    I’ll be trying that zucchini slice for my daughter this afternoon! Just what I was thinking of for her!

    Reply

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