Holidays can be a tricky time for parents when it comes to feeding children. Routines and environments change so this may require new feeding decisions to be made. Even though eating is a habitual behaviour, holidays can change the food choices made due to accessibility and utilities available. Sometimes there’s a lapse in routine and tiredness sets in, resulting in food becoming quick and easy relying on take away options to fill the void of hunger but they don’t sustain the body for very long. In order to maintain a healthy balance try these ideas:
Keep a schedule
Maintain routine with the usual meal schedule at the same time as school hours. This way your children can still feel safe with the feeding routine and this will allow the transition back to school an easier one.
Have fun with food
Holiday time is the perfect opportunity for food play and exploration. At morning or afternoon tea time provide a variety of foods on plates and allow children to pick and choose, taste, lick, cut, slice, mash to make their own signature snack recipe or picture. Even if they don’t eat the food, the sensory exploration is still a valuable experience
Plant some veggies
Buy and plant a new vegetable that children can care for and watch grow. Simply by providing an environment where children are involved can increase acceptance of foods.
A little bit of food prep
Have a stash of pre-packed snacks ready to go. Fill small containers or ziplock bags with nuts and seeds, veggie sticks/portions, pre-cut fruit, cheese, crackers, popcorn, hard boiled eggs. The more visible these foods, the more likely you’ll reach for them.
Pack a picnic
Pack a picnic and get your children to help. They can cut up some fruit and veggies or help prepare sandwiches or wraps. Eat outside in the garden or even on the living room floor.
Pre-packaged foods for convenience
If away from home for a period of time, do a supermarket shop to grab some pre-packed food so that meal prep takes less time. Pre-cut veggies/stir fry packs, frozen veggies and pre-prepared salads are super easy. Roast chicken is always a great quick grab or some chicken or beef fillets and kebabs you can throw on the BBQ or under the grill. Add some fresh bread rolls and you’ve got a quick and delicious feast!
Take away + homemade
If you do decide on a take away meal, pair it with a homemade salad or veggies. Having a variety of options readily available increases exposure and you could also model some creativity. Add some other veggies/salad filling to your burger or add your own extra toppings from the choices you provide on your bought pizza.