Sunday, March 24, 2013

Self sufficiency through self service snacks

I want feeding my smalls to be quick and convenient, but prepackaged stuff is not cost effective.

I can portion out my big bags of stuff into smaller ziploc bags, but I do want to minimize trash.

I can use little glass containers, but those are not what I call kid friendly and pretty heavy to tote.

I could use stainless steel, but it's not transparent.

I want my smalls to enjoy their food but I want it to be somewhat nutritious and varied.

I want to spend less time standing at the kitchen counter playing the role of short order cook.

I want the kids to eat a specified meal and snack times, but I want to respect that their hunger may not follow my rules.

I want to end the conflict that ensues from the very reasonable limits I set around the consumption of things like dried apricots.

I want to foster independence in my kids but I am not enough of a free range parent to let them run amuck in the kitchen.  While my 4 year old is more than happy to scale counter tops to find knives and cut up his own stuff, I can't be convinced it will end well.

I'll own it, this dilemma of mine is undoubtedly a first world problem, but it's important to me and related to simplifying my life.  In this endeavor I invoked a self service snack box policy.  I will continue to make breakfast to order and a dinner that should appeal to everyone at some level.  For everything in between, here is my plan:

-Each day I  will fill boxes in the fridge with a variety of foods the kids like.
-When they are hungry, they can help themselves to whatever is in the snack box.
-If they want PB&J at 10am and a hard boiled egg for lunch, so be it.
-If they are unsatisfied with their options, they can have a banana.
-If they don't love dinner, they can finish their snack boxes.

I put these together today and the kids were happy to help themselves.

I landed on small plastic containers as the most reasonable option.  The kids can see their choices, they won't break, and it's for storage, not heating.  While it might be a stretch to relate this to urban homesteading, this is absolutely a lesson in making it simpler on me and encouraging the kids to practice becoming self sufficient.  Plus, with less time in the kitchen, I'll have more time for the garden!

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