Feeding small people aka: cutting stuff up

Yesterday I whacked this snap up on Insta saying that I like to call this: IF YOU ASK ME FOR ONE MORE THING TO EAT BEFORE DINNER YOU NEED TO FIND A NEW FAMILY. Am I right, or am I right?

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You see, I had found a few minutes while Mags was rolling her lunch to get organised for arvo tea that starts with CAN I HAVE AN ICE BLOCK in the first 2 seconds of someone walking in the door from School. And then Mags starts up BOK! BOK! And loses her mind if SHE doesn’t get a BOK which she totally shouldn’t have but what am I going to do so then I eat the BOK and break bits off to her so that it’s not an entire BOK, but you know, then I am eating a BOK and I don’t want to eat a BOK. You get how the first 5-6 minutes of our arvo looks?

Sheesh.

Anyway. I decided to precede the ice block request by having a platter of food cut up lovingly by me on the island bench so that when they walked in they would be distracted, hopefully sated, and then not asking for a bloody ice block. And because I was feeling all proud and smug I naturally did what anyone does and took a photo of it for social media! You can insert the eye roll emoticon here if you see fit?

So we ate the platter which was smashed in maybe 4 minutes? And then they asked for an ice block and then you know how the rest went right? Except I did NOT eat a BOK because I am going to be #notafatmoleforchristmas #whosdumbideawasthisanyway

Now some people might be more for the let them do their best for arvo tea. I am usually this person because I am just trying to get through the afternoon without losing my mind, but I do find that sometimes the little people can’t reach that thing in the fridge or fruit bowl so I end up doing 15 trips to the kitchen anyway and with the platter, it’s done, they know that’s it and they can smash it or take as much time as they want THAT’S IT.

So on the odd occasion there’s these.

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Do you spend your life cutting stuff up too?
SO MUCH CUTTING.

I do have a couple of tips that I thought I would share to combat both the cutting AND the endless requests that come for food on an afternoon.

1. Let them eat greens

Because my Mother scarred me by saying that EVERY meal has to have something green in it, I usually make sure that every meal has something green in it. See Mum? I do listen. Now you know when you are cooking dinner and they start circling, like sharks, fingers grabbing bits, looking, sniffing around. THAT SHIT DRIVES ME MAD. Let me cook the dinner for the love of PETE! How about 30 mins out from dinner you five them ALL the green stuff you were going to serve them at dinner (that they inevitably turn their noses up at?).

So for us, the end dinner result might look like this. Schnitty, some veggies, home made chips.

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I’m saying 30 mins out give them that platter on the left to eat. And you know what? THE GREEN STUFF WILL GET EATEN. And then you can cook in peace and then when dinner comes you can let them eat 5 schnitties because you know there are green things in their guts. I mean GENIUS right?

2. Things on platters get eaten

I don’t know why, or how, but I reckon if you provide dinner in platters in the middle of the table things get eaten. Something happens at dinner time when this happens (well for my kids and lots of my nieces and nephews I have witnessed over the years). Put on their plate the stuff? NOSE TURNED UP. Put in on a platter and let them choose/have control? EATEN. I don’t know why, or how, but it works. Maybe it’s the communal sitting and watching other people try things, it just works.

3. A little prep can go a long way

I know it’s a pain to cut up but why not do a massive cut session at the start of the week? Whack them in tupperware containers and in the fridge and you can whip up a platter in no time! Also ready for school lunch boxes and snacks (better than a biscuit)

And can we all take another moment to bow down to the master platter my brother in law created at Archie’s Christening last year?

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But while my kids are animals I know that lots of people have kids that are fussy or don’t eat so much. I wanted to share with you a blog: Play with Food (a fab blog worth looking at) is a great resource for parents with fussy eaters or the like. This article was a great one (9 things not to say to a parent of a fussy eater).

You might also like this post I wrote earlier this year about feeding crowds at home, which has a sectarian dedicated to feeding kids.

So what are your best feeding small children hacks?
Cut up food platters?
Giving them greens before dinner?
Hit us up with your best tips!

Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got another small person to tend to and more bloody food to cut up for her!

Comments

  1. Chop, chop, chop. Every single day.

  2. We do this at home, I have one super fussy eater and another that doesn’t eat much. For awhile now we have been serving greens before dinner in a single bowl/plate that they can fight over. I’ve named it the hunger games 😉

  3. No cutting up here but I’ll give you 3 teenage boys and a $400 grocery bill a week (groceries are a lot more expensive in New Zealand- even last week in Melbourne we were stunned at the price differences!)… I give up on food – they seem to be still eating at midnight and start again around 7am. And a couple have resorted to taking themselves to the supermarket and buying their own food and then giving me the docket to apparently “pay them back”. I’ll have the cut up stage again easily!

    • Dimi Cromdos says

      Oh Kimberley! I grew up with four brothers so I get the whole food thing – and I reckon I matched a couple of them plate for plate too!! The kids buying their own food & presenting you with the receipt is just hilarious…good luck!

    • Oh Kimberley I feel for you!

    • My Mum had three of us girls then what turned out in his teenage years to be a strapping lad. He used to eat 16 weetbix a day. 8 at breakfast, 8 when he came home from school. Then he’d make himself a dish of pasta with a tomato based sauce. We were a bit older and just used to look on in amazement. Three lads would be like a locust plague on a daily basis I’d imagine.

  4. Gosh those platters look good. I could smash one myself(ies) x

  5. All my kids big and small will eat anything cut up! If I tell them to just grab a piece of fruit they will sure as hell find something else!!

  6. I usually try & include dairy & nuts/seeds for afternoon tea with the option of a piece of fruit or veg like a carrot. I read once that dairy and nuts keep you fuller for longer – just have to watch the portion sizes. You may of also heard we often mistake thirst for hunger so I always say if they’re complaining of hunger to drink a glass of water then wait 15 minutes.

    • Good advice!

    • thelittleredhen says

      I second this-I always make sure that I include some protein with every snack as it is a really important way to actually keep kids (and anyone) feeling full. Doesn’t have to be heaps. A few nuts, some toasted seeds, a bit of cheese/cottage cheese/hommus/yoghurt, some cold meat, a hard boiled egg, chick peas crisped in the oven…heaps of options but so important as I find snacks with just fruit for example give my kids a quick sugar high followed by an energy slump and resulting behavior that I don’t love.
      Your idea about the veg before dinner when everyone is hungriest and then having less pressure at dinner time to eat the veggies is excellent.

  7. When I had little ones they loved a “bits & pieces” dinner, salad stuff, cheese, some kind of meaty thing or an afternoon snack of fruit ….. always cut up. When they were still highchair age I would park them in the corner of the kitchen in the chair while I cooked & keep them from wanting to hang off my leg by adding a constant stream of little cut up bits of the veggies I was preparing or fruit or cheese to the highchair tray so I could actually get something done.
    Now I just have to deal with a 13 year old that suddenly appears at my elbow just as I am juggling a pan of boiling water & stays there just long enough to turn her nose up at whatever I am cooking

  8. Dimi Cromdos says

    Aaaah yes, the magical food platter trick, works every single time! My kids LOVE a good platter. Of course if there is anything sweet in there that usually goes first, but thankfully they do then move on to the nutritious stuff. The other thing I find they like is a good mini skewer: frankfurt? chuck it on a skewer. Meatball? Chuck it on a skewer. Fruit? Dice it up and chuck it on a skewer! The thing that does my head in is my six year old not liking chicken or potatoes. Have you EVER? I mean, that’s like a million potential meal ideas GONE! A delicious roast chook & potatoes in the oven…GONE. A home made crumbed chicken schnitzel and thick cut chips…GONE. Mashed potato. GONE. Potato gratin…GONE. Makes me want to weep.

  9. I love it when someone else cuts up my fruit!

  10. Jo Weatherhead says

    But HOW DO YOU GET YOUR CHIPS TO DO THAT?!? For the love of god, mine always end up all stuck to the pan, and all stuck to each other, and end up just mushed (no, not mashed, my 6yo is quite clear on that) potatoes, because I have to scrape them out of the pan, rather than just picking up individual chips. I have tried using less oil, more oil, and everything in between. What’s the magic trick to getting ACTUAL chips? Help!

  11. Lynda M Otvos says

    Love all the great Sharing your blog generates, Beth; I get as much from the comments as i do from the blog itself some days, I must confess.

    I’m on the Feed the Greens First gig-have taught a couple dozen of my charges to love bell peppers and broccoli by feeding it as the app to dinner. Incredible how it just seems to evaporate as they do homework or read.

    Many thanks to all your commenters; what a super community, Beth, you’ve generated here.

  12. Right from the time my kids started on solids we have all had a plate of cut up veggies before dinner, even taking them in containers when we were out and about when the kids were little. It would keep them occupied munching in the car on the way home from somewhere and got the dinner routine started. My kids for the longest time actually thought there was a meal called veggie time:). The kids now somedays will beg for veggies and often a plate will be greeted with a yum. I love a plate too! I mix it up when I feel like it (e,g add little corn cobs) but each plate has at least 5 different types of veg and the rule has always been you have to eat the green ( and I’m happy to adapt based on green taste preference). So often the main meal (for the kids) looks like your with meat and a carb like potatoes, rice, pasta or bread. But we have never had a fight about eating veggies at dinner… And I can chop up a plate of veggies sticks in no time flat.

    • Yes this is the usual routine in our house too. Cut up vege sticks in the afternoon. Always have mini tubs of hommus in the fridge too as well as avocadoes for anyone who wants to dip their veges.

      Feed ’em the good stuff when they are the hungriest.. Also, takes the pressure off the dinner when everyone’s getting tired.

      ps had to laugh at the two good-lookin’ mint slices in the middle of that fruit platter.

    • I wish restaurants and pubs would do this!

  13. Yes, yes, yes to all three!! And my biggest meal time revelation was discovering that all my kids will eat anything you stick in a wrap (or tortilla) yourself. Dinner most nights was grilled meat or mince (eg taco mince), wraps/ pita/ mountain breads and a huge platter of veg/salad. Same same but different and each kid could eat whatever bits they liked the best.

    I had terrible carpal tunnel with my pregnancies and it didn’t go away after the third, so I invested in one of those electric slicer thingies. Best. Buy. Ever. Well, maybe second after the apple slinky maker 😉 The kids are 11, 13 & 15 now and all my kids still use them (themselves! ha!) daily.

  14. Yes yes yes to giving them greens before dinner! I tell the Little Mister that he’s my taste tester and he feels all important and then he eats a good serving before dinner and then anything else is a bonus! Today he thought I was making something special because I was mixing coleslaw in a bowl (with very minimal dressing – because #notafatmoleforchristmas here either) and I let him taste the really special food and he kept coming back for more. If you knew him, you’d know this was a miracle!

  15. My little one loves ice blocks as well and I was always concerned that she shouldn’t be eating them, but then decided to make my own for her. Pureed mango, pineapple and banana and put into moulds….. Voila! She thought she was getting ice blocks but she was just eating frozen fruit….. I took it as a win!

  16. I give my toddler raw veg before dinners, little bowls of snow peas and capsicum, but her favourite (and easiest) is a raw whole carrot, she munches it like a rabbit while watching play school and I can make dinner. Totally agree that the pre dinner veg is the way to go.

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