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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
(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
- 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.