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to dread the hell of mealtimes in our house?

(48 Posts)
ilovecake Sat 08-Sep-07 14:00:21

I worked out that lunch and dinner takes about an hour and a quarter to prepare, serve, feed and then clear up each! DD is 4 and DS 1 - DS makes the most enormous mess everywhere, throws it around, misses his mouth etc etc - and at the moment is not actually eating anything as he is teething. He won't take food from a spoon as wants to do it by himself. Plus there's the anticipation that sometimes neither of them will eat what I serve - so we have tears and strops (and that's just me). Anyone got any tips for making mealtimes less stressful or messy - I know this is a phase and it will eventually get better.

WriggleJiggle Sat 08-Sep-07 14:24:28

What are you making that takes so long to prepare and clean up? If its getting you down so much just give them beans on toast / cereal / baked potatoes type food for a short while then at least you won't be spending ages preparing things that aren't eaten. You are feeding them both the same food aren't you.

Oh, and invest in a labrador if you can, or at least borrow one for mealtimes grin!

ilovecake Sat 08-Sep-07 14:29:47

Well today it was rice, veg and chicken dippers (made self). I put a splash mat under DS chair - but still misses and gets all over chair, bib, self etc etc. They do both have the same for meals. Good point about the dog to do clearing up!

chocchipcookie Sat 08-Sep-07 14:36:10

Def put less effort in. It only gets worse in my experience grin I have 15 year old DS who thinks he is doing us a favour sitting at the table at all, endless arguments about sitting at the table as a family because son and usually DH want to watch TV, then they moan all the time about what I serve up. Feel like doing baked potatoes every night and leaving them to it. In fact I may.

I am trying not to get so emotionally caught up in food for my family.

ilovecake Sat 08-Sep-07 14:46:50

Oh god don't say that! It is so hard not to feel this constant guilt about providing the best / freshest / balanced meals for everyone! I am trying not to get into confrontation with DD over meals as this just doesn't work and exhausts us all. Cheers for back uo.

WriggleJiggle Sat 08-Sep-07 14:54:13

We have as many meals as possible outside - patio, garden, where ever, but outside where I don't care about the mess.

'Sticky' rice is easier for small hands to eat and doesn't fall off spoons as easily. LIkewise, chunky vegetables are easier to hold and quicker to clear up when they do end up on the floor.

The feeding themselves stage is a horrible stage when they want to but can't actually manage it. It will pass soon though. Perhaps only give him two or three chunks of food at a time. The less there is on the plate the less can be knocked off accidentally.

juuule Sat 08-Sep-07 14:55:08

I went through one phase where I was considering putting the food into the bin straight from the pans and cutting out the middle man. Would have at least saved on the washing up.wink
Try cooking double of things they like and freezing one portion. Then preparation gets less. Halve the portions, if they are still hungry or want more do the other half. Keep the portions small so that you don't have as much waste if they don't eat it and they might eat a portion at another time.
At one year old mine still preferred to be mainly spoonfed. If they don't eat it, don't get hung up on it. Keeping lots of fruit and chopping it into a bowl is popular in our house. Maybe try something like that.

chocchipcookie Sat 08-Sep-07 18:11:07

The mess never gets better, by the way...

sparklesandwine Sat 08-Sep-07 18:33:14

I know where your coming from but unfortunatly you just have to bite the bullet with this one for a little while longer (start a glass of wine when you start to prepare the meal it takes the edge off grin), try not to get too stressed about it though as your DC may pick up on it


...but if your DC are not eating much at the moment it may be better to give them smaller portions of 'chunky' food like carrots, courgette, chicken, bread just a few things at a time then if they eat that give them some more if they don't freeze or refrigerate what you can for another time

Tortington Sat 08-Sep-07 18:34:48

i wouldn't be preparing andything much more than toast avec beans or sandwiches for lunch or porrige ala microwave.


knock yourself out at tea time if you want - but my tip is - make life easier for yourself - make them butties and have done

sparklesandwine Sat 08-Sep-07 18:36:51

lol custy simple is best!

Paddlechick666 Sat 08-Sep-07 18:49:28

dd is 22 months and lunch is nearly always a ham & grated carrot wrap and a dollop of humous with breadsticks + anything else that's around/appropriate.

dinner is almost always out of the freezer as I generally make large batches of spag bol, beef & veg stew, chicken & veg stew, salmon & broccoli pasta sauce etc.

get a slow cooker, it's my godsend. takes 5 mins to dice some meat and onions and cook for the day. i add some frozen veg at some point and thicken with gravy granules or sour cream/creme fraiche etc.

i no longer make mash but buy it frozen and i freeze portions of rice as well as potatoe bake. jacket spuds are done for 5 mins in the micro then finished off in the oven etc.

it's all good time saving stuff and as i work 4 days a week and am a lone parent it's absolutely the only way i can cope!

3andnomore Sat 08-Sep-07 19:01:00

We do the same as Custy suggested...Lunch will be just things like Toast/Bread and Butter or wholemeal Pitta Bread and a slice of ham , or some scrambled or heartboiled egg, etc...and a piece of fruit or some raw vegetable...and teatime is hot dinner time...

law3 Sat 08-Sep-07 19:16:09

long sleeve plastic painting apron on the baby instead of a bib. Never saw the point of bibs, i dont know any babies that only get food on about 4 inches of their chests!!

Anna8888 Sat 08-Sep-07 20:18:28

We have picnic-type lunches nearly every day - mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pre-sliced good quality hams and salamis, taramasalata, baguette, cheese, fruit... or else I make pasta which I serve with tomato or bolognese sauce which I make in huge batches and freeze in lots of tiny individual portions (little plastic pots from Lakeland). Takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 2 minutes to put in the dishwasher.

3andnomore Sat 08-Sep-07 21:12:54

Anna slightly off topic...but |I have a masticating Juicer , which can make Pasta, and I have not been brave enough yet...would like some really healthy pastarecipe...maybe even wheat/gluten free....

lucyellensmum Sat 08-Sep-07 21:17:36

shockgrin masticating juicer!!! well i never, it CHEWS up the fruit?

3andnomore Sat 08-Sep-07 21:26:48

lol, it kind off does...there are 2 kinds of juicers...the centrifugal kind which has a sharp balde and usually goes around ratehr quickly chopping, I suppose...this process does kill a lot of enymes and vitamins, as it produces heat, and enzymes and vitamins are very heat sensitive, which is why raw is the best way, iykwm....
a masticating juicer takes the fruit/veg through a tube with a slwoly spinning spiral, the slow process does allow the juice to be slowly expressed, which preserves even more good ness....but yes, mastication has become a bit of a dirty word, lol

lucyellensmum Sat 08-Sep-07 21:34:45

WOW - such an indepth knowledge of juicers, you really know your gadgets wink. Trouble is, you've made me want one now and i bet they are expensive. But, how does it make pasta??

3andnomore Sat 08-Sep-07 21:37:00

Well, a masticating Juicer usually can make pasta and even nutbutters due to the "chewing"....like I said,, not tried anything but the Juices...I have a easy Health life enzyme Juicer (for my masticating one, lol) and it was under £100
which is still a lot of money of course...but comared to some other brands that is cheap!

Anna8888 Sat 08-Sep-07 21:40:25

3andnomore - I only make pasta sauces, I'm afraid, not the actual pasta wink. Though I'm always happy to share recipes.

lucyellensmum Sat 08-Sep-07 21:40:58

ah, your just showing off now wink nutbutters?? Does the enzyme bit imply that that they preserve the enzymes? What enzymes are in fruits i wonder? or that they use enzymes to break down the cell walls etc. curiouser and curiouser

Skribble Sat 08-Sep-07 21:48:51

I don't think and hour and a quarter sounds all that long if it includes prep eating and clearing up.

3andnomore Sat 08-Sep-07 21:49:20

as far as I know...not that I actually know much...all fruits and vegetables in the raw state contain some enzymes and of course vitamins...it's heat that breaks them down and changes them...not that f&v becomes completely rubbish if heat treated there is still plenty of goodness in them,such as fiber...
and did you kow, that ahuman could basically pretty much survive on avocados alone...because they basically have everything in them what you need to survive...not that that would be the ideal diet, like..but it's the only fruit...or is it vegetable that has aswell as enzymes and vitmains also got protein, essential oils...etc...
Nutbutters, btw, are only squeezed, expressed nuts...although shop bought of course with preservatives...


as for preserving...like you probably fresh produce does rapidly loose it's "goodnesss", still is good unless gone off , like...but processing it in anyway will effect this...using a centrifugal juicer will actively distroy some nutrients, whereas if you forinstance use a slow masticating Juicer, the Juice will retain most of it's goodness for up to 48 h...depending on the Jucier...with a centrifugal one you are adviced to drink the Juice within 15 minutes...
obviously you are not going to preserve a fruit or vegetable beyond it's lifespan by Juicing or making a Nutbutter from it...hoe that makes sense...

3andnomore Sat 08-Sep-07 21:50:10

Anna, oh still share recipes...please...I do my own pasta sauces too...but new ideas never do any harm....do they

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