Inevitably, when I head into the kitchen to start dinner my kids are immediately starving. We could have just finished putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher from their after school snack and they would still be staaaaaaaarving at the sound of banging pots and chopping vegetables.
Sometimes I’m able to use this hunger to involve them in mealtime prep – they want to help and take nibbles - but sometimes they just want to hang around underfoot, without really helping. Always, however, they are asking for something to eat.
We’ve been experimenting with a way to combat these pre-dinner requests for food by putting out a plate of fresh vegetables. Sometimes I’ll include a few olives or roasted nuts, or a small bowl of hummus as well, but the idea is this: if they really are that hungry, they have healthy food available - food that I am okay with them eating. Having food on the table means they don’t have a reason to keep hanging around the kitchen. And if they do eat raw veggies in the 30-60 minutes before dinner and eat a little less of the food we’re serving at mealtime, at least I know they have had a healthy dose of vegetables. It’s a trade off that I’m comfortable with.
This offering shouldn’t be so large that they can entirely satiate their hunger; just enough that they can wait until dinner is served!