Getting Children to Eat

As most parents know, feeding children or rather getting them to eat can be quite challenging. They can be bored, moody, fidgety or tired.

But we also know they like to help in the kitchen, help mom or dad and generally get messy.

Introducing your child to the kitchen and the art of making meals can be a rewarding experience as well as teaching very important life skills later on. It gives a bit of independence and creativity as well as the joy of knowing “I made that”.

Children love catchy names, colors and a great visual presentation. We know today’s parent does not have the time to design a swan from an apple or do radish roses but we can make everyday food seem like the extraordinary. Using cookie cutters on sandwiches, slicing fruit into fun shapes or creating layers that they can build.

One of the biggest challenges for school age children is creating lunches 5 days a week for over 9 months. What we see as a healthy, well balanced lunch could be seen as gross or boring to them. You want to make lunches that are creative, visually appealing and nourishing.

Meal Plan

Sit with your children and plan out the week of lunches. Have them come up with the themes and names of that particular lunch. Eventually you will begin to see favorites and you can easily remember them by name. Ones that do not go over so well? Change it up. If you can get yourself to 10 different lunches, as a parent, that makes you a rock star.

Get the Kids to Help

You can have them help you with the shopping, prep and packing. The more invested they are the odds go up that they will give the meal an honest try.

Small Portions

Don’t send too much food as most of us do. Try an assortment of food in small amounts.

Make Lunches the Night Before

Mornings can be a bit, shall we say hectic? Make it a part of the evening to have the kids make their lunch. You can also put aside time on the weekends with the kids to make items like muffins, small snack buns, salads and soups. Getting your children into the kitchen with you will mean so much to them and teaches them valuable skills.

Make Lunch Fun

Send items they can use to build their own lunch! For example send the ingredients for the sandwich and let them build it. Or send crackers, cheese and deli meats. And have cool ways to package it. Also add a tiny touch from home. Maybe a sticky note, treat or sticker.

Lunch is Time to Hang With Their Friends

Do not pack things that have strong odors unless they decided to have it themselves.

Lunch Bag/Box

Let them pick out the lunch bag or box for school. You want to be sure to have room for utensils, ice pack and thermos. Having a lunch bag that can accommodate these items and their lunch will open up the options or choices in the menu.

Other tips to keep lunch cool are a frozen juice box, freeze grapes, use a mini ice pack and have an insulated lunch bag.

Teaching your children to cook and be comfortable around the kitchen has tremendous value! They learn basic cooking skills, a sense of responsibility, a sense of independence and most importantly is pride. To see the results of their efforts and to enjoy the fact that they made that!

Harvest Bakery and Deli can help with some of the ideas to aid with lunch. Small buns for great sandwiches as well as deli meats to please the fussiest eater. And did we mention a free cookie for those 12 and under while mom or dad shop? Give us a call today to see how we can help! 204-489-1086

Saved by the Slow Cooker

For those of us with very tight schedules, have children or just want an easier solution to dinner, the slow cooker can be our go-to best friend. It’s a “leave it and forget it” thing. I mean seriously…you put your ingredients in one pot, turn it on, set the timer and hours later you have a great meal! Finding those recipes can be challenging. But if you put a bit of work into it you can find it makes life a bit simpler.

Meal Plan & Prep

Planning out the meals for the week not only makes dinner easier but it saves both money and time. Include everyone who will be either eating or helping prepare the meals. Prep meals on the weekend after shopping and put in large freezer bags. The more help the merrier and quicker it will go. If everyone helps clean and chop on Sunday for example the time will go by faster and then it is just “grab and toss in the cooker”. Don’t forget to label your meals!

Mix it Up

Try not to get in the same routine with your ingredients. Mix it up a bit. Chicken, turkey, beef or veggie. Soup, stew, casserole or soups. The more variety the better. Remember if the recipe calls for noodle or rice it may be better to add already cooked in at the end. Check each recipe as you go.

Have Kids/Teens Help

Let them help or give them a day that’s all theirs. From their choice of meal to putting it in and starting the slow cooker. Just remember no meal will burn if cooked on low and it goes past the time. So younger children have them start the meal on low.

Choose 5-Ingredient Meals

For most meals choose 5 ingredients so they do not get too complicated. You can always make the main and have rice or noodles cooked later and added at the end. Cooking with a slow cooker is about ease and convenience. Do not over think it.

Start a Recipe Journal

Finding recipes that really hit the spot and are loved by everyone should be saved. Start a recipe journal using a notebook or start a recipe box with index cards and box purchased at your local Dollar Store. It really does help you in your time saving efforts, with meal planning, shopping and remembering the loved recipes!

Soups Go a Long Way

Making soup or stew? You can make a big batch in the slow cooker and freeze in reusable soup containers for lunches or quick reheat dinners. A little soup can go a very long way.

Don’t Forget Weekends Too

There are some fantastic breakfast ideas or desserts you can add for the weekends when you might not use the slow cooker for your dinner. Nachos and dip for Saturday night movie maybe. There are some great nacho dip recipes that can be made in under an hour using the slow cooker. Or great oatmeal recipes as well! Heck you can even make bread!

Here is something to get you started. A great nacho dip recipe that is a definite pleaser!

  • 1 LB Ground Beef -pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 15 oz. can refried beans
  • 2 x 16 oz. jars salsa (hot or mild)
  • 1.5 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • tortilla chips
  1. Brown ground beef. Drain. Add salt, pepper, onion powder and minced garlic.
  2. Combine beef, salsa, beans, sour cream and 2 cups cheese in slow cooker.
  3. Cover. Heat on Low for 2 hours. Just before serving top with remaining cheddar cheese.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Make sure to add Harvest Bakery & Deli to your list for fresh baked buns, breads and pastries needed for your meals! We also have a great selection of cheese, pasta, soup bases as well as deli meats that would work in a variety of slow cooker recipes. Give us a call today! 204.489.1086