Enjoy relaxed meal times this summer

Sometimes I just want to sit down. This parenting lark can be incredibly rewarding but for the most part it’s frustrating, tiresome and sometimes just plain difficult. Even with having older children I still can’t shower or use the bathroom in peace and I am constantly bombarded with questions and splitting up sibling quarrels. The only time I can almost guarantee I’ll be able to sit and enjoy a hot coffee is when they are eating! With the long summer days coming up I’m not going to want to be stuck in the kitchen for an hour with every meal and that is where our ‘picker meals’ come into play.  I’m not quite sure where the picker word comes into play as my daughter insists on calling them pick up meals. Picker meals are for us consist of the sorts of foods you would find in a picnic basket or a mini buffet at Christmas. Ours normally consist of fruit, bread, crackers, meat, cheese, enough butter to make your arteries wince and maybe the odd carrot stick thrown in for luck.

butter grapes cheese and ham picker meal


ham and grape picker meal creation

The best thing about them is that I can dish out the plates with some cutlery and simply empty the contents of my fridge on to the dining table and the children can then pick and choose what they would actually like to eat for their meal. My kids are old enough to safely use a knife and fork without being constantly monitored so they are able to cut off their own blocks of cheese and cement crackers together with an array of butter and fruit or whatever bizarre concoction they can come up with. I only have five rules for this type of meal and all of them coincidentally seem to make my life as a busy parent a lot easier!

  1. You must eat at least one piece of all the items on the table ( got to get the carrot in somewhere)
  2. If it’s on your plate you eat it ( none of this wasting food from realizing you don’t quite like squashed strawberries and pepperoni together)
  3. Eat slow and until you are satisfactorily full ( basically don’t start telling me you are hungry ten minutes before bed because you didn’t choose enough food)
  4. You make the mess you clean it up ( you need to hoover up your crumbs and butter smeared place mats)
  5. Don’t follow the rules and I will stop delivering your favorite type of meal

cracker and grape combination meal


So you see it’s a very incredibly relaxed approach to eating a main meal but it normally results in empty plates, full tummies and I haven’t had to spend an hour in the kitchen prior nor do I then have a whole picnics worth of mess to tidy up. All this means more warm coffee drinking time for me! Some might call it a bit lazy but it really does benefit everyone involved! Let me know if you do anything similar or have any other brilliant ways to make meals times more relaxed.



“This post is an entry for BritMums Confessions of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor”

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