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  • Dr Nicola Lowth

School Holiday Challenges

With the long school holidays looming it is so normal for parents to start getting a little nervous about how they are going to cope. Providing food for your children is a massive job and as we all know organisation or lack of can make or break your day.

I now have 3 small people in my life so I can 100% relate to the stress that feeding children can bring. In fact, thinking about it now at any chosen time point in the day there is generally at least one of my children saying ‘mum I’m hungry’.

My family this year has chosen the theme of ‘simplicity’ in all aspects of our lives. And in my experience simplifying our food choices which includes the planning and preparation has been instrumental in reducing our stress.

So, I’d like to share some of the strategies that we have implemented in our family which hopefully may help others.

1. Be very clear and consistent with when meal and snack times are. It is so easy to respond to every cry of hunger with giving food. This is exhausting and you end up feeling like a servant all day which certainly builds resentment. It is also not ideal for the children as they tend to want to snack all day and don’t ever really feel true hunger. The statement ‘I know you are hungry and lucky for you the next meal/snack will be in ‘x’ minutes’ is heard many times in our household.

2. Cook in bulk. I do a big batch cook up of at least 2 meals per week. So instead of making bolognaise sauce with 500g of mince, I triple it and make 3 extra meals which go straight in the freezer.

3. Keep it simple. Platter meals are my saviour now, put everything out on the table and everyone gets to choose what goes on their plate. Snack platters for morning and afternoon tea work well and they don’t need to be complex. A standard plate in our house looks like Fruit, veggies, cubes of cheese and some hummus and let them choose what they want.

4. My final point and probably the most important of all... be kind to yourself. Providing food for your family is not an easy task and the pressure we can put on ourselves can be exhausting. There is so much information available on what foods to feed our children and probably more on what not to feed them which can be quite exhausting and overwhelming. Meals do not have to be Instagram worthy every night.

Therefore, in summary my advice is: keep things simple, decide when your meals and snacks will be, do some weekly meal planning but most importantly...enjoy some mealtimes together as a family. We know that eating with your children is so important in developing lifelong positive relationships with food.

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