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Gettin’ Funky with Food: Mealtime Stress Relievers

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I partnered with PediaSure Fruit & Veggie Sidekicks on this post.

Feeding your children and the stress that can come with it has the potential to drive you batty.  From day 1 it was a constant worry of mine, even with nursing: Are they eating enough?  Are they eating too much?  And then when they switched to solids: Are they getting the right balance? Do I let them snack too much? What if they skip a meal? What if they are overeating? To be brutally honest 6 times out of 10 I’m dreading mealtimes.  As soon as I wake up I’m preparing breakfast and school lunches and as soon as 5pm hits dinner has to be ready or all hell breaks loose.  It’s a lot to deal with on top trying to get it right.

But this summer I made a pact with myself to get out of my own head before it’s too late.  I want my kids to enjoy meals and not “feed” off any stress I may have.  I’m going to do this by being better prepared.  In other words, not launching eggs off my forehead while pouring milk, heating up water, consoling a 20 month old and playing “I spy” with a 4 year old.  Here are a couple of tips and tricks I’ve learned through research (cough, Pinterest) and by discussing this often commonly dreaded time with other Moms.

Enjoy & Happy Summer…

Mmm let’s start with dessert since that’s what they ask for the most

Homemade fruit popsicles 

My kids are Coo-Coo for popsicles this summer.  They ask for one every night.  I find myself often using them as a bribe to finish dinner (shame.)  Check out this way to feel good about letting them have an after-dinner treat! (via NerdsWife)

1. Add a bunch of pre-cut up fruit to a popsicle mold like this –

2. Pour coconut water over it to fill the mold

3. Freeze overnight

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My go-to “Good N Easy” lunch box stuffers:

Cheese sticks. Peppers (bought cut up to save time.) Rolled up sandwich meat and cheese.  Chicken & Apple meatballs by Mom Made Bites.  And a twist on Peanut Butter & Jam which provides 1 full serving of combined fruits and vegetables. We substituted Almond Butter for Peanut Butter. (Psst: Make a batch ahead of time and freeze them)

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PBJ Recipe

Taco Tuesdays

I’ve found that if you let kids help in the creation of dinner they are more apt to eat. Let them dump ingredients in bowls (“stations”) and prepare their own.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Freeze milk boxes the night before and they will double as ice packs in lunch boxes the next day.
  • Hard boil a bunch of eggs in the beginning of the week for a quick breakfast or lunch side solution
  • Use cookie cutters to get sandwiches into fun shapes and win the no-crust battle
  • For kids 4 and over, try skewers instead of sandwiches.  Everything tastes better when you are eating off a stick….er,right?
  • Read a famililar book during mealtimes. Pretend you don’t know the words and ask them to help.  Sometimes distraction is the best way to get your kid to eat!
  • Siblings? Empower them. “Miss P., The D Man doesn’t know how to eat a hamburger can you show him?” “D Man, Miss P. isn’t sure she likes carrots. Do you like them? Show her how much.” And so on…

GIVEAWAY

Write in your own eating with kids tips on our Facebook page and get entered to win a free package of PediaSure Sidekicks Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Mix! 3 winners in total announced on Friday, please check back in comments.

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