“Mama……I’m HUNGRY!” I hear as I roll my eyes. It’s been two hours since breakfast, how are they hungry again? Oh yea…they picked at some food but decided to go play instead. This was such an issue in our home. The kids, being at different stages didn’t necessarily understand to eat enough…or sit still…or be hungry at “meal time”. I can’t blame them though, I had an active second grader, a teething toddler who still breastfeeds, and a baby that only just started some baby-led weaning. So I had to come up with a savior for my sanity, the mounting dirty dishes, the picking, and the constant cooking. To fix the problem I took to Pinterest. Bad IDEA! Talk about overwhelming…then I asked the kids what they thought. Guess what? That solved the issue! To summarize, here’s what they had to say (the two older of course).
- I was really having fun and didn’t want to stop to eat.
- I was only a little hungry, but then I ran around and got really hungry.
- I didn’t really want ‘that’ but didn’t know what I wanted.
Honestly, it all made perfect sense. Putting myself in their shoes and thinking back to my own childhood, I could relate…and then I set out to come up with a plan to change our mealtime routine. After searching the internet I was inspired by a charcuterie board and thought that might be our answer.
Day one! I took out my cute serving tray and started cutting up fruit, veggies, cheese, meat, and little tea sandwiches. It took me about 3 minutes to load up the tray. Once I was finished, I called the kids into the living room (a shocker…not being at the dining room table). After I placed the tray on our low coffee table, the kids dug in as I turned on some relaxing music and grabbed our read aloud book. They came and went, played, nibbled, and then we continued on with our daily lessons….still having some food left on the tray. As the day lingered on, the tray continued to be picked at until it was empty by 2 o’clock…just in time for a cup of tea!
We continued using our little tray for the remainder of the week…then I got crazy and did a tray for breakfast foods. Since nobody in our home is really into breakfast, this allowed for some simple items to be put out on the table for those early risers. It definitely made my mornings much less stressful since I can prep once a week and even freeze items to be used, like pancakes and muffins. More importantly, the kids got to decide what they wanted and how much they needed. It solved the picky-ness, over or under eating, and hangry kids….and it even made meal times easier on this mama!
After my chatty post, I’m sure y’all are wondering how long I’ve been doing these Snackin’ Trays (the kids named it that since charcuterie didn’t go over too well). Well….it’s been over a year and it’s been wonderful! Of course I’ve added foods and mixed things up to keep the trays interesting, but it’s still a very simple and quick way to get meals on the table in no time with little effort. Check out the list below for some inspiration to make your own Snackin’ Tray.
- Egg Burritos
- Pig in a Puddle
- Hash Browns
- Quiche Cups
- Overnight Oats
- Granola Bars
- Cut Meat
- Bread or Crackers
- Pickles, Olives, Dilly Beans
- Hot Dogs
- Mini Pizza’s
- Tea Sandwiches
- Savory Croissants
- Mini Pot Pies