It’s school holiday time …. and while we as parents escape the line-up of the lunchbox military precision, we are now faced with tantalising our children’s tastebuds at least four times a day. This is often accompanied by listening to their quite vocal and unforgiving responses of our meal-time creativity – “yuck”, “don’t like that”, “I’m not eating that”, “I’ve told you I don’t like broccoli 100 times” or my absolute favourite out of the mouths of babes – “boring, snoring”. If this sounds familiar in your household, here are some tips for holiday food sanity …..
- Start the day with a family breakfast – sure it is likely that a sleep-in is inevitable but your day should start with everyone at the table for a hearty, family breakfast. Have a big bowl of warm porridge, served with fresh berries, nut sprinkle and a little maple syrup; fancy some dippy-ins (boiled eggs with soldier toasts with avocado and lightly grilled asparagus spears); scrambled eggs with grated cheese and grilled tomato with wholegrain sourdough toast; buckwheat pancakes with Greek yoghurt, fresh berries, sliced banana and maple syrup
- Try to keep some meal routine with three main meals a day, and one-two snacks. If you don’t have some structure with your family’s meals, you may feel that your home is the local café or your children may eat half their body weight in snack foods and be too full for lunch or dinner
- Keep your kids amused with some planned and spontaneous activities (eg sports classes, soccer or tennis camps, park play dates, adventure playgrounds, museums, art galleries, science centres, library, scavenger hunt at parks. All too often – “I’m hungry, really means I’m bored!”
- Get your kids in the kitchen – the holidays are a great time to skill up your sous chefs – get them choosing a meal each week (add their meal to the family’s menu board) and do the grocery list, buy the ingredients with you, do the prep, help with the cooking, write out the menu, set the table. Involve them in a bake-off at home – savoury scones, pumpkin, polenta & herb muffins, apple & blueberry wholemeal muffins, home-made pasta and tomato vegetable sauce, zucchini & vegetable quiches, date and nut bite bars. Enrol your kids in a local cooking class with In My Own Kitchen Come and Cook are some cooking classes for kids in Brisbane
- Farm to Plate – plan a day out with your children to a local farm or produce and get them to pick strawberries at Rolin Farms or Strawberry Fields or root vegetables or apples from an orchard, collect eggs on a farm stay. Start growing a vegetable or herb garden as their food knowledge, interest and cooking skills develop enormously when growing and nurturing of food is in their immediate environment. Enrol your children in a gardening workshop within your local area (eg Bunnings or Sprouts in the Park at Roma Street Parkland).
- To Market, to Market – organise a trip to your local farmer’s markets and have the children try some new foods, and buy some new vegetables to cook at home. Great markets to sample and buy produce in Brisbane are at Rocklea, New Farm, West End, Mitchelton, Manly, Northey Street. Check out Visit Brisbane for a famer’s market near you
- Winter Warming Foods – make the most of the cold weather and add some wholesome and hearty winter meals and snacks to your usual repertoire of family food. Serve up a big pot of hearty beef and vegetable soup with crusty warm bread for lunch, piping hot savoury scones with pesto for morning tea, home-made popcorn (chilli, lime & kale or coconut & cinnamon), MYO burgers (home-made beef patties, lettuce, grated carrot, beetroot, tomato, cucumber, onion, pineapple, cheese), ham, cheese and tomato toasties, vegetable and noodle stir-fry, hot chocolate (milk, cacao, honey) with freshly baked banana wholemeal muffins, vegetable pasta bake. chicken and corn and vegetable soup, fried rice, sweet potato and pumpkin soup, baked apples stuffed with nuts, oats, nuts
- Food Fun Days – try some different themed days like Mexican Mayhem with everyone wearing sombreros – burritos, nachos(made from pita bread), savoury mince, shredded beef, Mexican salad, guacamole. Pizza in Pisa – create home-made pizzas with plentiful vegetable ingredients (grape tomatoes, olives, capsicum, pineapple, mushrooms, herbs, onion, roasted sweet potato, roasted eggplant). The pizzeria champion is the child that can have the most vegetable toppings.