Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Afternoon Tea (and Snack)

Prompted in part by some of my summer reading as well as my long-lived love affair with the idea of the British tea time, my kids and I have begun having afternoon teatime every afternoon.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I often had a vague idea of a looming need for something snack-y, hadn't planned for it, was up to my elbows in something messy in the kitchen or a lengthy edit of some homework paper of my own, and just threw the critters something moderately wholesome while they watched their afternoon TV show.

NO MORE. Our teatime plan has helped solve the late afternoon hunger strike as well as keep food out of the rest of the house. No more
  • string cheese wrappers, 
  • animal cracker crumbs, 
  • apple cores, 
  • bits of sticky raisins, 
  • or the unrecognizable crumbly surprise 
await us in the evening when we sit down to watch some grown-up TV. This is the only snack we have; even at the grocery store (where, I confess, I formerly offered some sort of food-based reward for good behavior), we picked out a snack that we would have that afternoon at teatime--NOT one we would eat when we got to the car. No more food in the car. Aaahhh....

Our teatime no doubt sounds more elaborate than it really is. Essentially, at around 4:00 (when the kids' rest time ends), we have a small snack plus a beverage. Portion control is key here; I want them hungry by 6:30 (when we usually eat dinner), so I'm okay if they aren't "full" after their snack. And I make it feel like a treat--we often don't have dessert, so this is a fun way to bring in some sweet treats. I'll have to do this earlier on school days this coming year; the kids eat lunch at 10:30!! So, we'll probably have something slightly larger at around 2:00 or 3:00.

What do we eat? If I have time, we eat something that we can eat leftover for breakfast the next morning (I have more time in the afternoon to bake up some muffins than I do first thing in the morning!). I usually offer some sort of fruit, some sort of starchy thing, and/or some sort of protein.

What do we drink? Hot or iced tea, lemonade, juice, or water--really, whatever we have on hand or have time to whip up. I predict some hot chocolate or hot chai in the cooler months ahead.

Incidentally, this has become a terrific way to use up bits and pieces--waste not, want not! I use small plates and a few pieces of something go much further than they might at a meal time.

Here are some of our recent teatime snacks:
  • Slice of French bread smeared with Nutella (this was a huge hit) (1 slice/kid)
  • Small piece of coffeecake with some fruit (I got 16 pieces out of an 8x8 pan)
  • Pistachio nuts and some fruit
  • Muffin with some fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Graham crackers with peanut butter and brownie crumbs on top (2 squares/kid)
  • Bread pudding
  • Banana bread with cream cheese and some fruit
  • Various snack cakes with some fruit
What will you serve at YOUR teatime?


Betsy said...

(sent to me via email)
Years ago I did something very similar for my girls. I had a round serving dish The kind that had 4 small dishes that came out around a center small dip dish . ( These were big in the 1960’s and the one I had, had glass dishes in it great for washing 1 or 2 pieces and for storing in the fridge for the next day if we had left overs. I would save odds and ends and use them in it Like a couple of hardboiled eggs would become devilled eggs ( made 4) or egg salad spread open face on 1/4 pieces of bread with the tiniest sliver of olive on it. Celery with a little cheese spread in it or peanut butter cut in short pieces. sliced fruit, crackers, or small pieces of cake ( like boiled raisin cake or wacky cake), or cookies ( homemade). My girls loved the surprise of what would be there and they had healthy snacks plus were able to wait till Dad got home so we could eat supper as a family. My youngest had a very small, picky appetite and this helped her be able to eat enough over the course of the day, and also she tried new things, because they were served at a grown up “party”tea. once a week I’d have a sit down proper tea with them and we would play being out at a special event and practice our manners, and visiting and chatting, and being kind in what we said. We even had winter Picnic parties where tea was served on a blanket on the living room floor! We had a lot of fun, and in small doses they also learnt some good manners that they still use Smile.
Take Care,
Pat in Kitchener

Megan said...