With the kids off school, it can be impossible to keep their snacking (and your grocery shopping!) under control. Grazing plates could be the answer.
We are now week three into the summer holidays and for the most part, all has been well. We have been out and about exploring (what we do best), we've had a few indoor movie days on rainy days and the bedtime routine isn't too far off the chart.
However, keeping the kids fed has been an absolute nightmare, they are eating me out of house and home. My four kids pretty much snack from the minute they wake up until their heads hit the pillow later that night, so much so that my grocery bill has gone up significantly in recent weeks.
But while the constant need and want for food is never-ending, I think I have found the perfect solution to keep my kids summer snacking under control.
Last week, Instagrammer Orlaith Donlan shared an awesome summer hack that parents across Ireland are praising, including myself - this woman is an absolute genius.
So what is? I can hear you ask. Documenting life with four under six, Orlaith introduced grazing plates to her children just last week and they have been a massive hit in her home.
The occasional photo taker has shared numerous grazing platters bursting with kid friendly idea's that are not only simple to create, but they could also save you a fortune on quick-fix snacks while filling their little bellies.
Giving children a wider choice of foods at mealtimes not only gives them the power to choose, but it also encourages them to try new foods in their own time. For example, my fussy little fella never ate grapes.
In fact, he's declared his hatred of them on varies occasions but since I added them to our grazing plates he cannot get enough of them. I've since added a variety of different textures and colours and they are absolutely loving it.
Now added as a highlight on her Instagram page, Orlaith has a dedicated section for sharing her inspiring summer grazing plates, each one as delicious as the next.
In one image, the mum of four has prepared crackers, cubed cheese, strawberries, orange segments, tomatoes and finely cut chorizo for her kids to pick at if she is busy or feeding her newborn, Ru.
In others, she added cooked pasta, blueberries, carrot sticks, hummus, apple slices, walnuts, cucumber, breadsticks, corn on the cob and watermelon - just to name a few.
As well as Orlaith's offering, I have added halved grapes, pretzels, unsalted popcorn, yoghurt covered raisins and melon balls to my own grazing plates and like some sort of sweet miracle the plate comes back empty and they are satisfied for a few hours until dinner is ready. It's completely genius.
I recommend you all try it if not for your kids but your sanity.