I have 3 boys - 1, 3, 5 (but close to 2,4,6) and I need to change up our morning routine. We all sit down to breakfast, but not for an hour or two after they get up and I think they need something sooner than that. I don't want to change breakfast time (it wont work with our routine) but I'd like to figure out some sort of snack I can either teach them to get themselves or leave out on the table for them to get. I don't want it to be wasted or make a mess (and we don't do dairy)... any ideas? So far all I've figured out is a bowl of bananas/apples but they can't open the bananas by themselves and they prefer their apples peeled (which would be wasteful if they weren't eaten that day...) Maybe just leave them out where they can be seen and readily asked for? They're not unsupervised in the morning... dh and I are just rushing around getting ready for the day... thanks!
self serve for littles?
I have a 2 and 4 yo (and a newborn). I normally keep a bowl of cut up fruit on the table and it gets munched on. At the end of the day my husband comes home and likes having a fruit smoothie. If there are any leftovers, they are close to the blender, and he puts them in his smoothie (no biggie if the fruit is getting a little brown). Sometimes, I cut up cucumbers and carrots but surprisingly they don't go as quickly..
For a snack, I sometimes give a variety of nuts, seeds, raisins/cranberries. I would not be able to let themselves to that because that would become the only thing they eat. I can put it in separate bowls for them. Good thing is that it does not spoil sitting out.
They also love eating cereal. They eat it dry so they get to snack on it while it remains on the table.
The 4 yo has gotten good at making herself sandwiches (peanutbutter or jam) and raisin toast. she cuts up her own pineapple using a dinner knife.
I did not think my 2 yo could get anything but this morning she got a slice of raisin bread on her own.
We used to let her oldest help herself to cereal but I found they ate too much cereal and too much of it ended up on the floor for me to clean.
I have a little selection on the kid height drawer in the fridge for my 4 year old. We eat dairy, so some of the suggestions maybe you can find a DF alternative. He can get a yogurt (I barely start the peel and he can finish it) cheese stick, fruit salad in a container he can open. I also have baby carrots and peanut butter he can help himself to. He also has a cup next to the water crock for when he is thirsty. He has been in Montessori since he was 2 and they were really big on the whole independent eating thing. He often has a cereal bar when he wakes up. He has a hard time opening the package so I start it for him and leave it out. You can also do that with a banana so long as you eat it that day. We also sometimes set up a muffin tin with snacks in each compartment. We have a jumbo one with 12 compartments. I put in sliced cucumbers, grapes, crackers, a dip in one like hummus. We have homemade granola on the shelf with the fruit that he helps himself to as well.
Another thought is to prepare raw oatmeal. I know it sounds strange but it is super yummy. Just take old fashioned oats, add fruit. I usually add banana, pear and grapes. Pour in orange juice to absorb and let it stand overnight (it only really needs 20 minutes) and it is an easy accessible snack/breakfast.
I always have a bowl of dry cereal, (either WholeFoods Morning 'Os or Nature's Path Harvest Flakes) ready for DS to finger-pick throughout the day. I'll also cut up apples, banana, oranges, of have berries ready for finger-picking. We will also have tiny muffins or Lara bars available for self serving as well.
My daughters are 3 and 6 and I put food out every night that they can get themselves. They need to eat as soon as they wake up or their blood sugar just crashes, so it's mostly for self-preservation and to buy myself a few extra minutes in bed! Here are some ideas:
I leave 2 bowls of leftovers in the fridge where my girls can get them. Any type of noodles or stir fry are easy for them. If we have pasta or rice noodles, sometimes I just put a bowl of plain noodles and they love it. They also love tofu, even plain. Sometimes when I'm lazy I slice plain tofu and put it on a plate. I leave anything though--spanokopita, veggie burgers, salad.
My kids love quinoa with lime juice and avocado, which is super fast and keeps overnight in the fridge. Sometimes I leave out the avocado because it can get a little brown, although I think the lime juice helps and they don't seem to mind.
We eat a lot of berries--expensive, I know, but it's my main indulgence. They can easily help themselves to that, although they usually eat all of it no matter how much we have.
I start oranges or grapefruits for them and they like to peel it themselves. The kids and the table end up getting pretty sticky...
Sometimes i make a little bowl with nuts, raisins/dried fruit, peanut butter crackers. I don't usually do dairy, but once in a while I'll get them each a string cheese because they love it so much.
My kids looove red bell peppers and eat them like apples.
My mom makes a lot of fruit/green smoothies and sometimes sends them home with us. I put those in individual cups in the fridge for them in the morning.
Hope that helps!
Hi all! My girls are younger but I like to leave out homemade granola bars and homemade graham crackers. I make them both with whole grains and they both keep mess to a minimum. I also do a lot of mini muffins, "toddler trail mix"--similar to gorp, and healthy "cookies". If you do dairy, another good trick is to mix leftover whole wheat couscous with plain yogurt. Keeps your kitchen from having a gritty floor! If you are interested, my homemade granola recipe is available on my blog and super easy! http://healthnutfoodie.blogspot.com.