|Tomatoes, Carrots, Mango, Avocado, Blueberries, Purple Licorice, and Bacon|
Rather than sit at a high table, we eat at the coffee table so the kids can reach it easily, and they can come and go as they please. We do this two or three times a day, and we snack on things in between. As I explained in Food Freedom last week, my children are free to eat whatever, whenever. Sometimes they have ice cream or popsicles or chips while I am fixing a platter. Often they will put down a half-eaten popsicle once the platter comes out.
Some of my favorite things about the platter way:
- We all share the food so I don't keep track of how much they are eating. I trust they will eat when they are hungry.
- It makes me feel creative. Sometimes I try to make a rainbow platter (red berries, carrots, scrambled eggs, cucumbers, blueberries). I like playing with the colors of the food in patterns.
- It inspires me to always offer six or seven different kinds of food. I usually put hummus, ketchup, or syrup in the middle. It keeps me from being lazy about food most of the time.
- The kids love to eat this way. Almost anything can be made bite-sized and kid-friendly.
- There are fewer dishes to clean, and we hardly ever use silverware.
If the kids are not interested in anything on a platter, I am happy to make them something else. But this rarely happens because I try to choose mostly foods I know they will enjoy. I will include only one or two new things at a time.
The platter way of serving food goes along well with unschooling. It is a way to give the kids access to foods, without a prescription for how much and what time to eat. It means giving the kids opportunities to eat, without requirements. It allows them to have control of their food choices without pushing on them the responsibility of preparing their own foods. Right now, they don't like when I make things with recipes. Especially Louise does not like when things are mixed together, or when foods that she likes look different than she is used to (like melted cheese, or anything with sauce or dressing). But I figure that could change as they get older and they are more adventurous with tastes and textures.
I should say that we eat at my parents' house often, where we all sit around a big table and it is more traditional. We have also had some " " (even if it's just us) where we get to set the table pretty. But for now, while my kids are so young, and happier to eat finger foods, the platters work for us most of the time.
|A fruit platter.|
|A breakfast platter, including mango, French toast, tomatoes, bacon, "egg noodles," and toast.|
|After we got some new platters at Ikea, Louise wanted to have a "platter party." We came up with 15 different foods, one for each section.|