Monday, March 4, 2013

How We Lunch- Snack Trays

Pirates' Booty, black berries, turkey, grapes, carrots, donut hole

I'm going to come out and say it.  I hate making lunch.  We eat hot breakfast everyday (thanks to my husband!) so I am not super hungry by 11:30/ 12:00.  I usually just make something for Alaire and I eat after she has nap/quiet time.

I like lunches to be fast, easy, simple and mostly healthy.  We do make Mac and Cheese sometimes or go out for lunch, but for the most part I make "Snack Trays" for her.

Basically I bought a couple of 6 cup muffin tins that i only use for "Snack Trays".  That way they don't get burnt food on them and they are easy to clean.  I got these at the Dollar Store.

I fill each muffin well with a different food.  You don't need to overflow the wells, especially the less healthy choices.  I've thrown enough food away to know kids don't really need much for lunch.

I typically try to include the following options:
3- fruit or veggies
2- carb/dessert/dairy (you can always swap one of these out for a protein, fruits or veggies)

It completely depends on what I have on hand.  Alaire is much more likely to eat a little of everything in this layout rather than on a plate.  It's all about the presentation I guess.

(Please don't email me and tell me that I don't fulfill my own requirements on all of these.  I'm aware: )

Here are a few we have done recently:

cantaloupe, goldfish, blueberries, carrots, noodles, and zebra caramel corn

They are so easy, don't require much food, give your kids variety, and encourage picky eaters to try new foods.  I love them because there isn't a lot of wasted food and most of it can be put in the fridge and given back to them later for a snack.  If Alaire doesn't eat all of hers, I will snack on it too.  

string cheese, raspberries, broccoli, goldfish, carrots, and cookie
Side note: I bring these muffin tins on road trips too. It not only allows her to eat well on the road, but also keeps food contained on her lap if we don't stop the car for lunch.

She absolutely LOVES these and asks for them regularly.  You could put hot food in them but most of the time I just put raw food in it.  She can eat it with her hands and the clean up is dump, rinse and repeat.
strawberries, broccoli, "natural" Cheetos, carrots, Raspberry spread sandwich cut like a hand, and pineapple

One thing I never do is refill anything, unless it is one of the healthy options.  When I put this in front of her I simply say, "I would like you to try a little of everything."  Then I leave it alone. 
Raspberries, string cheese, broccoli, turkey, zebra caramel corn and honey mustard pretzels

Food is one of those things that kids have control over.  I try to not say eat your ____ eat your _____ eat your _____.  I keep offering things she "doesn't like" over and over and eventually she will try it.  You can't force food down your kids throats, but you can reduce the amount of bad options and increase the amount of healthy options they are exposed to.  My child will still eat broccoli even if the carmel corn is on the tray, if yours won't, then don't offer it.

With this method, no matter what you put on there for dessert, it probably isn't enough to make them not want anything else, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

So, what do you think?  Is this something that you would use or would work well for your kids?

I would love to hear if any of you have great lunch ideas for kids or picky eaters.  I am always trying to mix things up so  no one gets bored or sick of what were eating.

I hope you all are having a great week.  I feel like I've turned into a food blog, which is definitely not the case, but these are the things that I am doing right now in my house and maybe they can help you in yours.   I don't know about you, but I LOVE hearing others' methods to mix up the mandatory chores in our lives, such as feeding our families.

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