What is a Snackin’ Tray?

“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).

  1. I was really having fun and didn’t want to stop to eat.
  2. I was only a little hungry, but then I ran around and got really hungry.
  3. 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.

Breakfast Ideas:

  1. Egg Burritos
  2. Muffins
  3. Sausages
  4. Pancakes
  5. Pig in a Puddle
  6. Fruit
  7. Hash Browns
  8. Quiche Cups
  9. Overnight Oats
  10. Granola Bars

Lunch Ideas:

  1. Cut Meat
  2. Cheese
  3. Fruit
  4. Veggies
  5. Bread or Crackers
  6. Pickles, Olives, Dilly Beans
  7. Quesadillas
  8. Hot Dogs
  9. Mini Pizza’s
  10. Popcorn
  11. Tea Sandwiches
  12. Pinwheels
  13. Savory Croissants
  14. Mini Pot Pies
  15. Sliders

Review: Hello Fresh

Let me start this off by giving a few quick facts…we are a family of five. Two adults, an elementary aged kiddo, a toddler (still breastfeeding), and a baby (starting baby led weaning). Nobody is a picky eater, we have no allergies or special diets, and we eat an average amount of food.

Okay, so now that’s out of the way we can move on. 🤣

It’s been two weeks of using Hello Fresh, and honestly I’m impressed. I love cooking, I cook three meals a day…every day. I know my way around the kitchen. But I also end up in a cooking rut quite frequently. Being that we are a large-ish family I’m not going to be buying specialty ingredients for one meal…despite wanting to mix it up. Food waste is something that I just can’t tolerate in our house.

So having funky recipes and all of their ingredients dropped off on our porch each week is a breath of fresh air. We’ve really enjoyed eating cuisine from other countries that we wouldn’t get to try outside of date nights. Surprisingly, the kids have enjoyed the new dishes as well…and the best bonus is we use the simple recipes as a cooking class for our oldest! Homeschool for the win 😁. Besides pretending to be Martha Stewart for the night, I also noticed a few surprising benefits to having a meal delivery service.

  1. I’m less stressed. Meal planning is much easier when you have three fewer meals to figure out each week. I also have to buy less groceries, and if I forget to get to the store it’s not a big deal.
  2. The price is worth it…for the most part. I’m going to be honest, you can absolutely buy the ingredients for less in the store. But being a mama to many is exhausting, and sometimes convenience will save your sanity. Consider it a bit of self-care.
  3. Our kids get to try new foods. I’d like to think that the kids will look back and think of all the interesting foods they were able to try and of fond memories of cooking as a family in the kitchen. Hey, I can think ahead.
  4. It’s not just dinner. It’s true, these little meals have been used as date nights, lunches, brunches, and even add ons to other meals. Plus you can always add some of your own extra ingredients to help stretch the meals. For example….add more rice, roasted vegetables, or a side salad. We get the meals for two people, and we feed everyone…sometimes with leftovers!

All in all, we’re busy parents and need a break from time to time. Hello Fresh has become a go-to for us and we plan on using it for quite some time. We haven’t tried any other meal services, and I’m not sure if we will….but who knows. Do I recommend giving it a try? Yes, if it fits with your budget. Is it for everyone? No, its not. But one thing we all need to do is set priorities for our families. For us, it was needing a break from mundane chores, and Hello Fresh came to the rescue for that.