A grazing platter or a plate, or lunch box that allows for a range of different foods is an excellent way of introducing new and exciting foods to kids and encourage healthy eating.
What is a grazing platter?
It is just a plate or container of whole foods with a range of different things for your kids to try.
The secret to keeping the grazing platter a success is to add a couple of new things every time. You don’t want to overwhelm the kids so adding some favourites on there will keep them interested. The ideal is to include something they are familiar with and love, something they are familiar with and ok with eating, and something they have not yet tried or typically do not like to eat. If they eat the new item – add a little more next time until they are familiar and comfortable eating it.
What can you use to create a grazing platter?
Just a normal plate will work if you have nothing else but kids seem to love it when their food is in different compartments. This adds a whole other level of learning to the experience! Doing it this way introduces mathematical concepts such as sorting and grouping. Kids like to feel in control of what they put into their mouth so this helps them feel comfortable with what is in front of them.
There are some wonderful plates you can buy with sections that little ones love to pick an choose from. I just love the Re-Play divider plates.
Other simple options are using things like ice cube or muffin trays. Another great idea are bento lunch boxes! This way the kids can eat what they want to eat and then you can pop it back in the fridge.
What are the benefits of using a grazing platter?
Toddlers like to snack their way through life so having food readily available when they are hungry makes life easier for you and avoids those “hangry” times! The reason for this is it can avoid their blood sugar levels dropping which is when they seem to misbehave.
Children are very sensory learners so being able to touch a variety of different textures and see all the beautiful different colours encourages eating.
Opening them up to a range of different foods and giving them choice adds to their sense of self esteem and is putting the power in their hands. They are more likely to try new foods if they feel like they are not being pushed or coerced into anything.
What kinds of things can you add to your grazing platters?
Really the options are endless! Anything in bite size pieces works well for little fingers, such as fruit and veg, dips, meatballs, cheeses, cold meats, sandwich pieces, mini quiches, scrolls, sushi, avocado, hard boiled eggs, pasta rice or lentils. Grazing platters can be used for any meal of the day, some examples are:
- Breakfast: a combination of fruit, pancakes and yoghurt.
- Lunch: a combination wholegrain crispbread spread with nut butter, vegetable sticks and hummus dip.
- Afternoon tea: a combination of Choc Apricot Bites, cheese sticks and fruit.
- Mexican dishes are great to serve up in this manner so your little peep can pick and choose their own toppings. Check out this Quinoa Con Carne recipe for inspiration!
Rachel Cassidy is the author of this article and the founder of Little Peeps Eats. She is a passionate food blogger and brand ambassador, but her most important job is being a mum! Little Peeps Eats helps families take the stress out of mealtimes by providing healthy, kid approved recipes, as well as fussy eating tips and tricks. Their website hosts a directory of nutritionists, resources and mealtime products to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.