A super simple but effective little meal time tool I’ve used over the years is the ‘cafeteria tray’. I bought these fun colored ones at my local Target, I see them in each seasons new set of colors every time I’m there so I suspect you can still find them. My kids love their trays for meal time and the fun benefit to using them that I’ve found is that it instantly encourages more variety in the meal, both for whomever is preparing and in the kids eating and trying more things. Its like they get a special satisfaction out of seeing every compartment has an item in it.
Take today for example:
kids-‘Mom, is it lunch time yet….?’
mom- ‘yep, what do you guys want to have?’
kids- ‘I don’t know’
mom (in the middle of some paperwork and wondering how on earth noon came so fast)- ‘um, can you go check what we have?’
kids- ‘there is nothing’
mom- ‘oh come on guys’
kids- (enter here a long list of their many culinary desires, none of which do we have ingredients, time or interest for)
mom- ‘ok let me look’ (when I enter the kitchen I stare blankly for a few minutes, then find some leftover PB and honey sandwiches in the fridge and a watermelon- there, that should do it)
The kids watch as their culinary desires are dashed in favor of stale leftover sandwiches.
Suddenly I remember the long forgotten food trays, the ones we haven’t used since before the move! The heavens part and rays of light fill the kitchen, the children rejoice and dance with glee, inspiration arrives as I look at the many adorable little tray compartments and options flood my mind- string cheese! raisins and craisins! yogurt! graham crackers! a quick micro zap of that refrigerated sandwich to make it more appealing and voila!
Happy kids munch away at their feast!
Now if you’d like to be about a million times cooler than me, or if you just happen to have a day where you can do a bit more pre-planning (as I hope to have throughout the school year), you can take lunchtime to a whole other level with these great links!
Lunch trays and muffin tins and bentos- oh my!
May your meal times be happy, and healthy and fun 🙂