Top 10 tips to feed the kids & survive the school holidays!
School holidays can completely mess with your usual food routine. But that’s ok. The trick is to make holiday food feel a bit more fun, make it more relaxed, give yourself a well-deserved break, yet still nourish those growing bodies with healthy food for kids. We can help you do all this, with these simple tips to feed the kids.
You might be juggling work and children or have the kids home for days on end. Perhaps you’re heading away these holidays? Whatever you’re up to, these tips are designed to give you ideas for staying healthy these holidays without being a slave to the kitchen. After all, no restaurant is on duty 24/7 and you shouldn’t have to be either!
- Find your holiday routine. You deserve a break from the endless rounds of food prep and stricter term-time routine. But, dropping all your standards will only end in disaster - kids overindulging in junk food leads to frayed moods and poor behaviour, which just isn’t worth it. Work out what your holiday food schedule will be and communicate it. Set mealtimes tend to work best as kids like routine; it makes them feel safe. Your rules may mean that the kitchen is closed between certain hours or that the kids make their own lunch, for example.
- Start the day with a solid breakfast. Eating a nutritious, wholegrain, protein-rich breakfast will set you all up for the adventures of the day ahead and will limit snacking. It will also ensure better concentration, mood, and energy. Good options are eggs, porridge, avocado toast, or protein smoothies. Try to avoid sugar filled cereals or white bread.
- Lunchbox solutions. Offering food around the clock is exhausting so some parents like to prep a lunchbox and drink bottle, just like in school time. This can ensure the right quantity and quality of foods. It can also mean independence for your little one - they know when they’re hungry and can eat their food in any order. You’ll love the freedom from ongoing meal prep and not hearing the words “I’m hungry” anymore!
- Sit down to eat. Whether you choose a dining table or a picnic blanket, sitting down to eat provides an important signal to children that it’s a mealtime and ensures proper focus on the food in front of them. Taking breaks between meals is not only good for working up an appetite but crucial for dental health too. Sitting down with your child means you can role model healthy eating. Plus, it has been shown to improve family and social connectedness.
- Get them involved. One of the best ways you can ensure that you are teaching your kids about good nutrition is by getting into the kitchen with them. Cooking doubles as a boredom buster and you’ll have something lovely to show for your efforts at the end. Baking is a great introduction, so why not get started on some healthy food for kids such as savoury muffins or fruit cakes? Make a double batch, freeze some and you’ll have snacks to-go for the week. Once the kids are older you can challenge them to make the recipes themselves or start them on savoury foods, so they contribute to lunch or dinner. Creating a vege garden at home is another great holiday activity to get them interested in healthy eating.
- Make meals fun. There are plenty of ways to make eating more enjoyable for kids. One way is to try a deconstructed dinner that they assemble themselves. It also means that they can help with the preparation. Good examples are tacos, poke bowls, rice paper wraps, home-made pizzas, baked potatoes, meze platters. Get the kids to assist with chopping the components and putting them in little bowls, plus setting the table. Another idea is to serve up meals with plenty of plate-appeal. Do this by adding lots of colour, creating a smiley face or simple picture with the ingredients or simply using a special plate or bowl. You can even stick a cocktail umbrella in it!
- Snack right. Holidays tend to be synonymous with relaxed eating and more treats. But it’s important to try to offer the right snacks to avoid fatigue or meltdowns. The ones to really avoid are soft drinks, lollies, chocolate and deep-fried foods. Keep these to a minimum as they provide no nutritional value, are loaded with sugar, fat and additives. Foods like this don’t make kids feel good so tend to lead to poor behaviour.
- Be outing organised. If you’re heading to the park, the beach or away, preparing some food in advance will ensure that you don’t rely on unhealthy fast food, plus you’ll save money. Sandwiches or wraps, vege sticks, crackers and cheese, cold sausages or boiled eggs are all great fun options to feed the kids and can be enjoyed picnic style.
- Keep them hydrated. Children often forget to drink enough, especially when they are busy at play. This can impact their energy and their mood so encourage water drinking often. A good tip is to fill a large water bottle in the morning and ask your child to finish it by lunch. Then refill for the afternoon.
- Give yourself a much-needed break. It’s your holiday too so don’t feel guilty about having some time off from the kitchen. Gourmet Dinner Service has a range of delicious Family Sized Meals that can be enjoyed together, as well as specially created, Kids Meals that will appeal to the little ones. Stash some in the freezer to fall back on when you’re too tired or just can’t be bothered to cook. They make a quick, healthy alternative to take away and are much more economical too!
Check out our full range of Kids and Family Meals here and make these school holidays more fun for the kids and more convenient for you!