Family

10 genius food hacks

Tired of mealtime meltdowns? Try these tricks for feeding your kids.

By Today's Parent

10 genius food hacks

Photo: iStockphoto

Make DIY fudge pops

Use hot chocolate mix to make fudge pops. Prepare the hot chocolate according to the package directions, pour it into a dollar-store ice-pop mould and freeze. Bam! You’ve got the easiest and cheapest dessert around. 

Chocolate popsicle with washi tape on handlePhoto: Roberto Caruso

Toast enough bread for everyone

1. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Slide baking sheet onto the lower rack. Preheat oven to 450F. 
2. Arrange slices between every other bar on the upper oven rack so the bottom of each slide is resting on the baking sheet. 
3. Toast the bread in the oven (using tongs to flip halfway through toasting) for about six minutes per side or until golden brown. 

Illustration of multiple pieces of bread being toasted in the oven rackIllustration: Emily Beaton

Cool down your kid’s food—fast

Your kid is starving—but her food is still piping hot. You could blow on it, or try one of these three clever ways to quickly cool it down.

1. Take the heat out of a piping-hot bowl of oatmeal by adding frozen blueberries or strawberries.
2. Soup too hot to slurp? An ice cube should do the trick, but small frozen veggies, like peas or corn, are even better.
3. For pasta that’s toddler temperature, don’t heat the sauce. Just mix room-temp sauce into hot, just-boiled noodles. Perfect!

10 genius food hacksIllustrations by Sarah Rafter

Serve fun finger food

Can’t get your toddler to sit still and eat? Create a buffet out of an ice cube tray or an empty egg carton, with an assortment of favourite finger foods. Try a variety of colours and textures with sliced strawberrries or cooked carrots, and add in peas, corn niblets or cucumber pieces.

10 genius food hacksPhoto: Stephanie Han Kim

Peel a kiwi like a professional

1. Cut off both ends of the kiwi and make a small slice down the side of the peel. Don’t cut too deep!
2. Grab a spoon and slide it between the fruit and the peel, opening the cut like a zipper.
3. Rotate the spoon around the base of the kiwi to separate the peel from the fruit, The peel should slide off easily in one piece.

10 genius food hacksIllustrations by Grace Cho

Make a mess-free snack

Unsweetened applesauce is a happy compromise: It’s healthy and the taste is kid-approved. For an on-the-go, spill-proof snack that costs less than those squeeze pouches, pierce the foil of an applesauce cup with a thick, wide straw. Your kid can slurp away in her stroller or car seat.

10 genius food hacksPhoto: Roberto Caruso

Avoid ice cream mess

Ice cream and frozen pops are perfect summer treats, but they’re messy ones, too. To corral all those spills, use a couple of paper cupcake liners. Just cut a hole in the centres and insert the base of the cone or stick to catch drips and keep little hands and clothes clean.

Tip:
Avoid using coffee filters to catch ice cream drips. Filters are designed to let liquid pass through, so they’re just not up to the task!

10 genius food hacksPhoto: Tony Lanz

Off-load lunch-prep duty

Kids are more likely to eat their lunch if they get to pick what’s in it. Store snacks and fruit and veggies in bins in the cupboard and fridge. Add labels that say “Take One” or “Take Two” so they can fill up their own lunch bags.

Photo of a mother and daughter having breakfastPhoto: iStockphoto

Make natural nut butter easier to spread

Reincorporating all the separated oil that rises to the top of a fresh jar of nut butter is no fun. But here’s a little tip: Before placing it in the fridge, shake it as well as you can and store it upside down until you’re ready to use it. This will reduce that pasty texture it gets from oil separation and make it much easier to spread.

10 genius food hacksPhoto: iStockphoto

Slip in an extra serving of veggies

Put a scoop of frozen vegetables into the bowl and then pour the hot soup on top. The veggies slowly warm up, while cooling the soup down. Plus, you just added an additional serving of veggies to your child’s lunch!

An unhappy child holds an avocado and a spoonPhoto: Stocksy United

Read more: Essential tips for do-it-yourself baby food Confession: I’ve resorted to feeding my picky eater mac and cheese A heavy discussion: how to talk to your kids about their weight

This article was originally published on Apr 22, 2021
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