Afternoon tea doesn’t get much easier than this! Sliced fruit with a nut or seed butter.
There’s no need at all for processed packet snacks when nature has some pretty amazing treats. We don’t do snacking at our place, just four wholesome meals spaced about 3-4 hours apart. It’s the way a lot of Europeans do it – no grazing on the go. That way the kids are nice and hungry at each meal.
It’s all in the waiting, and ensuring a good appetite at each meal, which is at predictable times and preferably at the table. No grazing, no giving into demands at the supermarket, no eating when the kitchen’s ‘closed’ after a meal.
In saying that, there’s no pressure to eat a meal or to finish it. Each meal is a stress-free event because of this arrangement, there’s no complaining, no battle to come to the table, and my son doesn’t know the meaning of fussy. He LOVES food! Don’t get me wrong, he loves ALL kinds of food with a passion. He would just as happily sit down to four meals consisting of cakes (homemade, of course!), as he would meat and veggies.
The only parenting book I read
‘French Children Don’t Throw Food’ by Pamela Druckerman was my only ‘parenting’ book I read before having my son (Read the Guardian’s review of the book here. I was determined to raise him ‘the French way’ when it came to food. It’s how a lot of the rest of Europe do it, too. I lived in Italy for a couple of years working as a Nanny. The kids there didn’t snack. They too had three main meals, plus an afternoon tea.
We have done this from the very start though, so I don’t recommend giving up snacks cold turkey. If you’re tired of thinking about snacks – baking, shopping for, and packing them; or you’re a bit over your child grazing (keep in mind, that some younger kids’ bodies work better this way though), why don’t you give this book a read. Here is an excerpt. (This post is in no way sponsored, I just highly recommend this book).
Our day usually looks like this
Breakfast 7.30/8am Eg. steel cut oat and chia porridge with nuts, seeds, coconut, almond milk, fruit
Lunch 11.30/12pm Eg. Boiled egg, carrot sticks, avocado, chickpeas, cheese, tomato
Afternoon tea 3.30/4pm Eg. fruit, nuts/nut butter, cheese
Dinner 6/6.30 Eg. steak with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, and peas (with melted butter or olive oile drizzled over it all)
As you can see, each meal is nutrient dense. It’s full of vegetables, fruit, protein, and good fats to keep us satisfied until the next meal. Nothing processed or only containing empty carbohydrates. I also haven’t given him milk before bed or before breakfast since he was 12 months old. They don’t need it after then anyway. He might have some with his meal, but not as a stand alone drink. It’s filling (think of it more as a food than a drink), and may mean that he’s not as hungry at meal times, or that he eats less dinner because he knows he’ll get milk afterwards.
Do what works for your family
Anyway, that’s just how we do it and it works for us. What each family does will vary within each culture. I just knew I didn’t want a fussy eater, and would do anything I could to prevent it. I guess I had the advantage of looking after kids for many, many years as a Nanny before having my own, and seeing how frustrated other parents were with their picky eaters. What does your family do? Do your kids snack? Maybe you’re totally fine with it, and it isn’t an issue, which is awesome. All of us parents are just trying to do our best!
Happy cooking xx