Parents: how are you feeling about the summer holidays? Excited? Anxious? Relieved? Stressed? A mixture of them all? I've teamed up with Little Dish to share with you some of my tips and ideas to help you with healthy summer meals for kids.
For me the summer holidays are a mixed bag. Of course I look forward to spending time with my kids. I look forward to not rushing around looking for coats/hats/bags/musical instruments/lunchboxes etc at 8.30am. However, I am also realistic. I know that with our particular family and my children’s personalities lazy days spent at home don’t work for us. If we stay in much past 9.30am the boys in particular are bouncing off the walls, everyone is arguing and fights are just around the corner.
Lots of outings and day trips are fun but can be expensive and tiring and when I get home I really don’t want to then have to spend ages cooking dinner for everyone.
If you’re in the same boat you’re in luck because I’ve teamed up with Little Dish to bring you some tips for how to survive mealtimes this summer holidays plus there’s a fabulous giveaway coming to my Instagram on Monday 2 August. You’ll be able to enter to win a supply of Little Dish meals to help you with those summer holiday tea times as well as some fun games and activities.
Little Dish meals are fresh and nutritious and are specially designed with a nutritionist to be perfectly nutritionally balanced for toddlers. Every single dish, which you can find in the fridge section of most supermarkets, uses natural ingredients, is low salt, has no added sugar, additives or preservatives, contains at least one of your child’s five a day and is a source of protein.
And they’re not just good for toddlers - my older kids (aged 8 and 6) love them as well. There are two vegetarian dishes - Macaroni Cheese and Cheese & Tomato Ravioli and 12 non vegetarian meals including Fish Pie, Chicken Risotto, Pasta Bolognese and Sausage and Mash with Beans.
Here are my top tips for healthy summer meals for kids:
- Meal plan as much as possible - I find that if I don’t have a plan I am completely lacking in inspiration at tea time after a hot day out.
- Don’t worry about cooking a big meal. Sometimes, especially in summer, it’s fine to have a snacky tea - chopped up veggies, dips, leftovers, fruit salad. Stick a picnic blanket on the floor or in the garden and call it a picnic tea.
- Give yourself a break. Have some Little Dish meals in the fridge or freezer. They’re absolute life savers when you don’t have the time or energy to cook and the kids are frantic with hunger. They take just minutes to cook in the microwave or the mash-topped pies are brilliant when cooked in the oven.
- If it's too hot to eat then keep everyone hydrated with smoothies, ice lollies and lots of fresh fruit and veg.
- Leftovers are your friend. Take them out for packed lunches, make them into something new with a wrap or just reheat them as they are.
- Cook with your kids. If your kids are too young to cook let them choose what to make, help lay the table or set them a task like peeling carrots or breaking up broccoli that will engage them for a while so you can get on with the actual meal prep.
- Make salads. You might not think of salad as a kid friendly dinner but you might be surprised. Why not make a DIY salad bar and include your kids favourites. Things that work around here (not for all three kids but we all have our own tastes right?) include chopped hardboiled eggs, grated cheese, diced beetroot, roasted sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, crunchy iceberg lettuce, red pepper, hummus, pasta salad and new potatoes. These kind of meals lend themselves well to being prepared in advance and stored in tubs in the fridge.
- Get some new ideas for meals by looking through recipe books, magazines and blogs. Check out my main meals section for inspiration.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Little Dish but all opinions are honest and my own.