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Making dinnertime easier + a $150 Woolworths giveaway

Fat Mum Slim /

This post is a collaboration between Little Bud and Fat Mum Slim.

I’ve talked about the dinnertime dance before, and I’m sure it never eases {well, not until the kids are old enough and have moved out of home!}. It’s that dance where the kids are starving, and I’m juggling trying to finish work stuff and play mum, and do dinner, bath and eventually bed. It’s a badly choreographed dance of chaos and stress, and mess.

On my best days I’ve popped something in the slow cooker, or prepared and frozen something earlier. On my worst days I either drag the kids to sushi. or to be completely honest… resort to toast, cereal or microwave rice for dinner.

Hubby and I share the load with everything at home, including the cooking so when he’s on an evening shift and I’m doing the dinner dance alone, I get lazy. Don’t tell him that though. While I can seem complacent because I sometimes give my kids toast for dinner {honestly, it’s probably once in a blue moon}, I do care what my kids eat. So, I couldn’t be happier to discover Little Bud.

Little Bud began its life as a little start-up at Bondi Markets, and has now launched in select Woolworths stores in Sydney and Melbourne and will soon be available nationally in Coles in May. They are also available at local grocers and offer home delivery in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. They’re kid-sized meals that are all natural, low in salt, with no added sugar or preservatives – plus nearly all ingredients are sourced locally! It’s like what you’d want to put into your kids meals if you were having one of those perfect days with time to cook from scratch and make something delicious, and weren’t doing that crazy dinnertime dance.

The lovely team at Little Bud {mums who care about little tums} sent me the range to try out on the kids. And well, because I couldn’t resist and neither could Hubby… we tried them out too. Truth be told, I bloody loved them! Lulu, my fussiest eater, tested out the macaroni cheese with hidden vegetables.

I also tasted it, and it was really good. Like really good.

This is the rest of the range:

That cottage pie was my favourite, and I would happily eat it once a week for dinner myself. So yum. I’m not a huge fan of frozen meals… I feel like they fall a bit flat – so it’s so nice to find a kids’ range that is fresh not frozen! Check out their site for more details.

And now for the really GOOD news! I’ve got a giveaway! One person will win a $150 Woolworths Gift Card so they can stock up on yummy Little Bud meals for those crazy dinner times.

To be in the running, all you have to do is share your best dinner time tip! How do you get through that crazy hour/s of dinner/bath/bed with kids?


One entry per person, per day. Open to Australian residents only. This is a game of skill, and the best answer as judged by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim will be awarded the price. Competition closes May 10th, 2017 at midnight.

  • Mrs Macca

    Where possible be prepared, if you can fit just one hour over the weekend of preparing food for mid week it will save you so much time. Crumb some chicken and freeze it, make a soup, prep and cut up the veggies for the week. The small things amount to the most when things get hectic midweek.

  • Jillian Ives

    I have two kids so being prepared is how I get through the dinner, bath and bedtime routines. I prep for dinner early while hubby plays with the kids. I clean the kitchen then feed my toddler. I always give her two choices for dinner otherwise she doesn’t eat what I make her. My toddler has her bath while I feed the baby. Hubby will cook dinner; then the kids will have quiet time while we eat dinner. After dinner we have cuddles, a story and then tuck the kids in. If I didn’t prepare everything earlier in the day then there would be chaos.

  • Laura Powers

    Offer small serves
    A plate piled high with food can put a toddler off eating – offer a small serve first.
    Allow toddlers to choose how much they want to eat – they can always ask for more!

  • Awwww.. how I used to love cooking. LOVE it. But then kids came along and ruined that love. LOL. I have learnt a few things in my 8-year parenting tenure. My top 3 tips for getting through the meal time mayhem are:
    1. LOWER your expectations. I used to want my kids to eat (and enjoy) everything I served them. I so desperately wanted them to enjoy interesting flavours. I would get so disappointed when they rejected anything with a hint of flavour or evidence of a herb. Nowadays, I simply relax. I don’t expect anything (apart from they must try each item presented to them). If they don’t like it, i don’t stress. If they do, then that’s the time for the HAPPY DANCE 🙂
    2. MAKE it fun! By this I mean create so much more washing up for yourself by serving things in little bowls. Kids love serving themselves so get yourself some cheap tongs from the bargain shop and put the food in colourful bowls and platters. Let them serve themselves – and things like mexican burritos/tacos are a hit!
    3. SMOTHER it in cheese or cream. Yes, it may not be healthy, but kids will eat almost anything if it’s creamy or cheesey.
    Sorry, did you just ask for one tip? 🙂 Michaela (mum to 4 – 1 good eater, 1 fussy, 1 average and 1 yet-to-be-determined – ask me in a few weeks when i begin solids)!

  • marypreston

    Involve the children in age appropriate food preparation. Yes, it will take longer, but the calm this creates is well worth the effort. Also, the children are more likely to eat the food they have helped to prepare. Just think of the life skills learned along the way.

  • Elita Hooper

    My kids help me prepare the meal, if that means you have very huge chopped vegetables that fine, I also encourage them to taste as they chop that way they are getting something to eat as well so if they do not eat much at meal time at least they have had something. I serve a lot of one pit meal here so the kids can serve themselves too.
    We dance a lot too and if I get time I turn the bath water in to different colours sometime too.
    As for bedtime we read a story together and then they get a special story alone. We talk about day and I ask them some set questions before they settle down for the night.

  • Reannon

    I feel the same about frozen meals, they always seem lacking. But I’m always willing to try something new, anything that will stop the ” I don’t like this ” mantra my 2 little ones ( & sometimes the 2 big ones! ) like to trot out at dinner time!
    I think the biggest thing that helps me is meal planning. It means everyone knows what’s going to be on the menu, they can have input, I’m not stressed when 5pm rolls around wondering what to cook & if they don’t like it then it’s weetbix, beans on toast or eggs!

  • Kate McMahon

    My number one tip is to plan in advance one night a week and not set expectations too high on the others. One night a week once the kids are in bed, I’ll make three or four simple meals which go straight into the freezer – usually a zucchini slice, some sort of soup, and a risotto or spaghetti sauce or stirfry. Stuff that isn’t too complicated. That way, we can grab something out of the freezer and five minutes later have a hot nutritious meal! It takes the pressure off massively – we can do fancy dinners one day when the kids appreciate them! I find with a bit of planning, it doesn’t take that much longer to make a few meals compared to cooking just one. I love the idea of these new meals as the ones I have tried in the past haven’t been great.

    • Hey Kate! You’re the winner of this competition. Please email me with your details and I’ll get your gift card to you. xx

      • Kate McMahon

        oh my goodness!!! Thank you so much Chantelle!! I’m absolutely thrilled!!!

  • Samara McRae

    My tip is make dinnertime/bathtime fun. We play games and sing songs.

  • Tara Mcintosh

    First, go with the flow and stir fries are great for quick meals that feed all of us well. Sometimes a green vege toasted sandwich works or home made pizza (pre made base) all round, especially on Friday night.

  • Barb N

    .. Hi Chantelle … I haven’t seen the ‘Little Bud’ meals in Woolworths but I will keep an eye out for them ….I always have some of their ‘Approved by Kids’ frozen meals in the freezer because they are just the right size for Mum , and they are things she likes … xx … Barb xxx

    • A friend does that, as she’s trying to lose weight – just eats the kids meals. I like these cos they have lots of flavour, so perfect for adults as smaller meals. x

      • Barb N

        .. great idea for losing weight… thanks … never thought of that … xxxx

      • VandaB

        That’s actually pretty smart.

  • Netal Singh

    Golly – these meals look awesome!! I’m stocking up!! Thanks for the tip!! Yew bewtee – more arsenal up my sleeve!! Goodness knows, I need it!! :/
    So, in order to make ‘arsenic hour’ fly by, I hand bubba a novelty spoon of his own – something super interesting, like a digger spoon or one with moving glitter in the handle, or (his fav!) a silver spoon with a picture of the Queen on the end! I’m certain I have the BIGGEST collection of novelty spoons in the entire world! 😉 I also arm myself with a spoon and while he’s distracted with his spoon, I sneak in a mouthful or two (three if I’m lucky!) and BAMMM, dinner is D-O-N-E!

  • Judith Maunders

    My best dinner time tip would be making sure the kids eat early in the evening. Pre-kids we used to eat at 7.30 or 8 pm … not anymore! The kids are tired after school and can get super grumpy if they don’t eat early (5.30 – 6 pm) to get an energy and mood boost. It’s also important to eat early to ensure there’s enough time to fit in the bath and some bedtime reading before sleep.

  • Naysie

    A large glass of Sauv Blanc works a treat (for me!) and a banana to finish the meal when they’ve refused all else was always my lifesaver knowing that there was something in their tummy.

  • fromthekiwigirl

    Are there any vegan options?

  • Ryan

    We do a sing a long depending on what we’re eating – it keeps them entertained and focussed on eating.

  • Morgan

    I love getting my kids involved in the cooking! They always seem to eat more of it if they have helped make it ??‍?

  • Andieharrie

    Now eat early so we miss the mad hour when hungry and loudness was everyone
    We keep meal time simple and fun
    Introduce new food every week
    Not always successful but from there i can tweak

  • DIANA

    Routine, repetition is the key to success. I’ve found that structure gets us through the crazy dinner/bath/bedtime time slot. But never repetition with the meals lol, I’m not ‘that’ Mum who has the predictable meatloaf on a Tuesday, Spag bol on a Wednesday and so on. I’m always making different dinners and desserts, and I’ve found that it’s not what I put on the plate for the kids, but how I put it on the plate. Fun arrangements, faces, characters, creatures and critters go down a treat, lots of WOW’s, laughter and giggles, then it’s time to eat, perhaps the eyes first, or the nose, and when I present a dinner that looks like their much loved Poppy (Grandad), the moustache is always gobbled up quick smart (even if it’s vegetables).

  • Lynda Delaney

    Wine, simply wine – a nice glass of chilled white or red after a hard day at work and then I can cook dinner and cope with anything! It gets easier as the kids get older – so hang in there 🙂

  • Karina Lee

    I play tag team with my husband – 2 kids, 2 parents, that’s a ratio of 1:1. One baths while the other cooks, we both feed one child each, and we both put one child each to bed!

  • Claire H Simmons

    Be real, if the night turns into the witching hour dont set your self up to fall – keep it simple and make an easy dinner, pj party in the lounge and even a movie.

  • Abigail Black

    We accompany every bite of a ‘bad’ food i.e. a chip, with a vegetable for healthy eating.

  • Christine Wagemaker

    A tip I picked up years ago that works in our house is if the kids are nagging they are hungry late in the afternoon, give them cut up raw veggies, carrots, celery, cucumber, capsicum etc. that way if they are fussy and don’t like what’s for dinner, they have eaten healthy snacks so no need to worry if they don’t eat all their dinner or deal with the struggle that comes with trying to force them to.

  • Kelly Sherwood Brown

    I get through my crazy ‘cactus’ hour by cooking something fresh, healthy and quick. My tip is to keep it simple!

  • Judith

    I know it’s bad, but I use bribery! If they eat their dinner/try any new food without making a face, they get their favourite fruit or ice cream for dessert. If they turn their lights off when I say, they get 15 mins of screen time in the morning before school. So sad it’s about bribery, but that’s the True Secret of Parenting!

  • Kate

    My tip is ‘Oh you want pizza? … Look here is the meat and veg/pasta everyone else is eating sprinkled onto a wrap. Hooray, you’re having pizza’ or alternatively offering ‘sprinkles’ on whatever the food is. Sprinkles could be pepper, parmesan cheese/shredded cheese, dessicated coconut or breadcrumbs.
    Its still the crazy trying to cook/wrangle the kids/get them to bed so I can maybe relax for 2 mins, but those 2 ideas do help.

  • Kasey Evans

    Routine….have baths, dinner & bedtime around the same time each night so the kids know & it will be easier for parents.

  • Peta-Lee Bartlett

    My top tip, eat together as a family around the dinner table. Our dinners all get served on share plates in the middle of the table for each member of the family to help themselves, yes even the 3 year old! This is a tough tip to get used to and adjust routine to but it really does work. We eat together, chat about our days, share in each other’s good and bad experiences that day. The kids being able to serve themselves dinner encourages interactions with new foods and helps them to learn portion control. As long as the options on the table are healthy and nutritious I don’t stress over how much of each they are having.

  • Jade

    My tip is to embrace the craziness – dinner and bath time is always fun in our house, we know how tired we all are but we choose to not let it impact our mood. We involve the kids in the cooking which they love. We like to share how our day went at the dinner table and sing songs in the bath before a quick book in bed.

  • Nicole Kent

    I cook dinner during the day to stop the witch hour crazy hunger.
    During dinner time, I get my 7 year old to help the 2 year old to stay in his chair by asking her to feed him. And I bribe the 3 of them with strawberries if they eat most of their dinner sensibly!

  • Elissa white

    I try to do simple meals that everyone will eat such as stir frys;.tacos; bangers & mash, or beans on toast if I’m really pushed! If all the planet’s are aligned, ha ha, i get the kids to help me. I usually have a salad plate & they help get out the veggies & the older ones cut them up If not, they read, color in, or, in desperate times, watch tv!

  • Sarah Zuchetti

    At the start of the week I get everyone (hubby and two kids) to choose two of their favourite meals and then corresponding days of the week and that’s what I cook for dinner. Saves me having to meal plan (which I SUCK at!) as well as having to try and remember what everyone likes and I only have to fill in the side dishes and one actual meal. The rule is that everyone MUST try everyone else’s dinner choices so it also helps with a little bit of variety ◡̈ winner, winner!!

  • Melissa

    I’m not a mum but have worked as a nanny for many years. I always tried to prep veggies and marinate/slow cook meat whilst the kidlets were have their afternoon nap so it was only a matter of a quick assembly during witching hour! My speciality are homemade mini pies full of beef celery carrot and capsicum or a chicken mango curry with rice- both made with grated veggies so they thought they were just eating beef pies or chicken curry! Another great trick was cutting veggies or salad into different shapes and letting the kids serve their own dinner by making pictures on their plates with the food. Fruit faces were always a popular dessert with a yoghurt tub on the side to dip the fruit into

  • Vicki Vick

    Are you kidding me? Advice?!! I just pray to the dinner Gods and hope for the hoollies that things might go smoothly without too much shenanigans. With three boys under six ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Although I do generally find that rice and home made sweet potato chips tend to hold their attention long enough to actually eat.

  • Tracy lowings

    We have a routine, kids love cooking so we all cook at 5pm, then eat, baths at 6 bed at 7.

  • Tony Iomazzo

    Restaurant training…Yes, you will have to take them eventually and practice makes perfect…We started the “training program” at our local Mexican fast food place where the rules of dining a very relaxed and the food is still on the healthy end of the fast food spectrum (better than a burger place). We all learned to look at the menu (the menus with pictures really helps)…We all picked the cutlery we needed fr our selections and we all put our napkin on our lap, kept our voices low as we are in a “big restaurant now”. We kept our elbows off the table, and reinforced eating with our mouths closed and taking our time to enjoy the food and explore the various texture colour and composition of the foods. We explained in advance that we’d have to leave if they didn’t behave. Yes, at times we had to pack it in and take the food home to finish, but following through paid off.

  • Duchess Twilson

    My go to solution for that freaky crazy hour of dinner, bath & bedtime is firstly to always say whatever I cook is chicken, no matter what! It just has different sauces hence the flavour changes…so far working well & I’m now taking care of a grandchild. Second, the bath always has a drop or two of food colouring so each one is a visual playground. It’s amazing how many colours you can come up with in sheer desperation! And finally the child has exactly to the count of 5 to select a bedtime story…great earth shattering speeds have been notably achieved. I will then read their book in as many weird voices as humanly possible…with additional bizzare facial contortions for extra emphasis. Bottom line: If the sun has gone to bed then they must too…it’s a rule of the universe! Goodnight, sleep tight & don’t let the bedbugs bite.

  • Renaye Knight

    The slow cooker is my best friend, i actually like making dinner in the morning when i’m all fresh and ready for the day, at dinner time i can’t be bothered to do anything, i’ve been at work all day and i just want to relax with a cuppa, with 5 kids that just ain’t happening LOL, my other best friend is the kid that cooks dinner, i extra love that kid ?

  • Jade o

    Slow cookers in winter so meals can be cooked all day and the pressure cooker and BBQ are great for quick meals in summer, thankfully the family behave… somewhat!

  • Rachel amanatidis

    I don’t really fuss anymore….nagging gets to be a bore… I cook and just leave it there … don’t worry if it’s on the floor or in their hair… I hide veggies in their favourite meals .. what they don’t know won’t kill …then if they end up leaving half … off they go straight into the bath … no offered snacks later, they must finish what I prepared … then at least I know they’ve been well fed?

  • Lily

    Sounds weird but I buy 2 dozen eggs with my shop and always boil 1 dozen to fridge. Ths way, when I’m trying to crazy prepare the family for the evening I can have a snack without feeling so flat and grumpy. It works a treat and I think/operate better on a filled stomache. Also eggs are super healthy and good for you.

  • Linda C

    We get by with a routine and occasionally a little bribery.

  • Leanne Chester

    My top tip is to have the makings of a “lazy” but guilt free meal in the freezer at all times for those crazy arvos/evenings. My lazy meal go to is potatoe gems, frozen winter veg and a ready made savoury. Nothing wrong with a “breaky dinner” either!! My kids love it and often request it.

  • Susan McGuire

    My best dinner time tip is start thinking about what might be for dinner well before 6pm. When I look in the fridge and the pantry earlier in the day and start making a plan (tossing up ideas with the ingredients I have on hand) I always feel much better by the time 6pm comes around. Start planning early and then it is not so stressful later on.

  • Katie

    I like being able to cook earlier so we eat earlier around 4pm I would start dinner. Then shower and all ready for when it’s bedtime. Most Fridays I work through dinner time so hubby gets the Friday dinner shift. ?

  • Belinda

    A
    Little
    Cab Sav
    Or
    Heineken or
    Other
    Liquor
    ?

  • Amber Robinson

    I get through dinner time anyway I can, having four children including three-year-old twins it can be tough. Honestly the best tip that I have is to just not be so hard on yourself. Sometimes dinner time runs late and you have to skip the bath. Sometimes, like you say, it’s just has to be toast and I even put fruit with it so I don’t feel so bad. Knowing there is a glass of wine after bedtime always helps get me through too!
    But in all seriousness I think being organised really helps a lot when I can actually be organised. #mumlife
    The new little bud meals sound amazing, I’ll be sure to look for them next time I’m in the woolworths, which will be this week…… because my kids wants superhero discs.

  • Jaymie

    My hubby & I always prepare one to two meals on the weekend to eat during the week. It’s not ideal on our days off but it works!

    Our Mon to Wednesday is hectic with kids activities held in complete opposite directions. (The joys of a pigeon pair ?)

    We have one of these pre-prepared meals ready to go so that we can all sit down and have dinner together.

    Moral of the story – The only way we survive is to plan ahead and divide and conquer all tasks!

  • Mikaela Cowan

    I get my kids involved with meal times as they are more likely to eat what they have helped make!

  • Emily Psaila

    This sounds awesome! I have seen them but haven’t tried them yet, my biggest tip for dinner time is I get the twins to do little jobs to ‘help’ which keeps them from under my feet and the baby sits in the high chair watching so I know where she is and won’t get hurt. It’s definitely a dance when there are 3 kids running around and your trying to keep them safe but still fed!
    The bonus is, when they help cook dinner they are more likely to eat it! Hahaha

  • Siobhan Kann

    Make food fun. Chop chop eggs (aka soft boiled eggs with soldiers)with the face of choice to chop off?, green soup- sometimes called hulk or shrek soup and my golden rule is 2 veggies of their choice a night with whatever they are having. My children always chose differently but that’s okay by me?

  • Birdie

    Make sure to have some fresh fruit in the fridge for those aweful nights so that you are looking after yourself….. ok, by fresh fruit I mean fruit salad….. ok, just grapes …… nah, I really mean WINE. Make sure you have wine and lots of it. Hugs to all the mums that had a bad day. xxx

  • Therese

    My main tip is to plan the meals for the week. It stops the whole “what are we going to eat tonight” discussion starting up once everyone is hungry and the kids move from hungry to “staaaaaarving” in 2 seconds flat. We all contribute to the plan so everyone knows what’s coming up and if one night isn’t a favourite they know that theirs is coming up. Sometimes bribery, I mean positive reinforcement, is needed and that is usually a yoghurt after dinner (can’t believe they fall for that!). My kids love bath and bed time so I am very lucky in that and it’s just the dinner time chaos I need to get through.

  • Jasmine Ridley

    I usually cook double a couple of times per week and freeze for quick meals.

  • Janice Thompson

    I have three of my own ‘little buds’ with differing views on what’s a tasty bite.
    We’ve done this, done that, blended vegies, masked flavours, and tried with all our might,
    To stay calm, be prepared, have a game plan and navigate the witching hour wars.
    My tip on what works and how to best get through… there are no hard and fast laws.
    Kids are cluey, smart and diverse, we do what we can, with what we have, what works for me may not work for you
    But with some Little Buds kiddy meals ready to go in a snap maybe, just maybe we can get through… a peaceful meal enjoyed by not only them but mum and dad too.
    May the dinner time odds be ever stacked in your favour!
    May we as parents in our endeavour to feed our cherubs healthy meals never stall nor waver! ✌

  • These meals look adorable! My tip is the same as one my parents and grandparents used! A special treat once you finish your dinner. Could be icecream, a little chocolate or a hot milo before bed and a book ?

  • Alicia

    My hot tip for surviving the dinner, bath, book, bed routine is to plan for dinner a day in advance!! So the day before pull out the meat or organise the meal (even if it’s only toasted sangas) I start cooking at 4pm so dinner is ready to go because my boys are HANGRY by 5!!!

  • Carlie Gannon

    i always cook extra of anything that can be frozen and pulled out next week or next month when i need it!!

  • Kim Sunderland Behrendt

    My quick go to is a packet of noodles/pasta/rice with added frozen veg and usually it’s less than 10 mins to cook. The bath time is usually easy in our house and as long as there is a story then so is bed time.
    However if all else fails, dinner in the bath is always an option, have done this previously ?

  • Kim Shields

    Preparation is key in my house. We always have our vegetables ready to go, cut and prepared a few days worht at a time and in my Tupperware vent smarts.
    Actually Tupperware is my saviour, for organisation, preparation and cooking. The microwave pressure cooker is amazing.

  • Jane Gardam

    I usually try and prep my meal during the day to make it a little easier at tea time, and always try to keep meals reasonably simple, am a huge fan of the slow cooker, love the idea of one pot. Casseroles are good too. Did I mention wine…. a glass or two of wine always helps.

  • Faye

    Every second night I make a dinner with an element that can be used the next night. For example I’ll cook extra rice with a curry one night so I can use it for lets say Fried rice the next night

  • Kellie

    I turn the radio up, and it’s loud enough to either get everyone dancing or drown out their crazy! ?

  • Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys)

    We found introducing our kids to a wide variety of foods from a very young age helped when the meal time “fussies” arose; and also having a set dinner/bath/bedtime routine every night helped too. But, when they were very little, we had some weeks where it was a different stir fry every night because I knew they would eat stir fries with minimal complaints. A bit boring for us parents, but helped with the sanity!

  • Melissa-Lea Meyer

    The way we get through it is that sometimes we don’t. Sometimes showers wait til the morning, sometimes dinner ends up being takeaway and sometimes the kids go to be a bit late because there simply isn’t enough hours in the day. I look forward to when these meals are available in south-east Qld Woolies so we can try having this as our backup.

  • boy0hboy

    These look great! My tip… Definitely meal plan and get dinner started early if possible – using a slow cooker helps if you’re out – that way by the “witching hour”, you’ve only got a few things to do – like put on rice, pasta or turn on pots to steam veg.

  • Paula Harris

    To avoid hospital trips after dinner, we sit together as a family so a rogue pea isn’t shoved in the deep darkness of nostrils (sigh)

  • Debbie Prince

    I make a meal plan at the start of the week and go and buy everything for the dinners so i don’t have to think what to cook and try to cook in the afternoon so i only have to reheat it at meal time. Then i take the boys to the park for a run around so they are tired for bed and give them showers when we get home straight into pjs then story then bed 🙂

  • Amanda Herft

    My tip is you do what you have to do. You do what works. Some nights they’ll eat a healthy balanced dinner, other nights they’ll refuse to anything but chips. Both nights you’re a good mum.
    What she doesn’t eat for dinner one night gets recycled in tomorrow nights sausage rolls or spaghetti Bolognese ?

  • Tammy

    My tip is to grow the kiddies up really fast..then they move out.. Dinner time is no longer a struggle.. and no whinging about what they like or dont.. stress all gone!!!
    Almost…it is very quiet ?
    Well sometimes they come back for food… lots of it! ?
    but deep down I miss this chaos most of you are dealing with so find any moment you can to cherish and make their memories awesome and worth having. And parents! slow down!! .. they grow wayy too fast.and you’ll miss it!

  • Sonia Dee

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b617d0f0968535396f37998c670707f71b29d04dd61f803e55a46cf542cb2aa7.jpg My number one tip is to prep while baby is having her arvo nap and the toddler is occupied with toys. Its always a struggle as daddy is at work during “dinner bath bed time”. Definitely need to be organized with a meal plan, and i eat what ever they are having, keep it simple.

  • Michelle H

    Oh! I would love a voucher for Woolies and will definitely be trying these meals out! This is how we get through that crazy dinner/bed time rush….i make meals ahead of time and freeze them. No big revelation, I know, but it makes a HUGE difference Time-wise. We eat these pre-made meals on our busiest nights so all I have to do is defrost in the fridge and heat it up in the oven. While dinner is heating up we do bath time. I have picky eaters but we have a few meals that everyone likes and we rotate them (tuna mornae, pumpkin soup, spag boll, lamb stew etc). Having the hassle of dinner already sorted means way less stress. No baby crying at my ankles while I try to prepare dinner is a win for me!

  • Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears

    I guess the big thing that makes the evening routine easier is noticing when they are hungry and feeding them when they are hungry. When they are little they often don’t notice they are hungry and then they get cranky and before you know it, we are in the middle of six o’clock rock and they are too wound up to calm down. This Little Bud product looks like a great standby to have on hand for those moments when things are spiralling down quickly.

  • Ainsley

    Our favourite is what we have named “getcha night”. When we are
    home late or don’t feel like cooking we have getcha night, which basically means get you own tea! My kids are 4 and 8 and they love it!

  • Lauren Jordan

    Start dinner prep early. 4pm is not too early! And use and abuse kids tv to get through.

  • Louise Walker

    My tips is to do bulk.cooking and then freeze. Steam fresh vegies are also a quick go to in our house. Mix with 90sec microwave rice and a bit of bacon and you have some yummy fried rice. Easy and quick to do.while kids are in the bath

  • My biggest dinner tips are to meal plan and cook/prep in advance where possible. Especially being a single mum now, I have to be as efficient as possible when doing the dinner/bath/bedtime dance because I don’t have any backup. It helps that it doesn’t bother me to eat the same thing a few nights in a row so I can make one big meal for lunches and one big meal for a couple of dinners.

  • Kim Magrath

    Dinner is usually fraught with issues so we make bath straight after dinner for an instant calm injection.

  • Melinda Mahlberg

    I make dinner in the morning. The kids have showers when they get home school and straight into pjs. Dinner is reheated, we eat at 5.30pm and bribe the kids to brush their teeth by offering free time or stories read in bed.

  • Kristie

    My husband and I joined in and made it fun! Got the kids involved and laughing and we all benefitted from it!

  • Sharon Markwell

    Little Bud has helped me immensely. My main trick is to prepare my evening meals at lunchtime when I am more relaxed. Works for me!

  • Nicki

    Have a family shower/bath early in the afternoon so it’s out if the way and everyone is then showered. Sandwiches/toasted sandwiches are quick and easy to make and cater for everyones tastes.

  • Pauline

    I make use of my slow cooker when I know ahead of time a particular night is going to be crazy…that way dinner can be cooking itself while I’m bathing the kids & attending to homework

  • Shannon Wotton

    My best tip is meal planning and taking into account when you or the kids have activities in the afternoon or evenings and the nights when you have less time to cook. I always have things like eggs and bread in the pantry for those nights when things don’t go to plan! These Little Bud meals would be perfect for those nights!

  • laureneve

    Every Sunday night I prepare 5 activities to help keep the kids entertained when I make tea. It’s as simple as a new $2 colouring book or a hula-hoop, some cut-out shapes and kid friendly glue. I have a whole container of bits and pieces that I recycle and use every couple of weeks. Great ideas on pinterest!

  • Lynne Lillington

    I make each of them there favourite meal once a week and they agree to try something new. After dinner they have 1 hour me time then bath and bed. It’s a routine that they adjusted to easily.

  • Alicia L

    Weekends are slower paced, so sometimes I get time to bulk cook some favourite meals that are easy to defrost – soups, stews and casseroles.

  • Cook meals in bulk instead of one at a time and when you are revolve that one meal around one main spice/ingredient. It makes things interesting and saves you cooking as much throughout the week 😉

  • I got the kids involved in cooking from the start. That means planning, shopping and cooking for meals. They still don’t like the same stuff, but I stopped cooking several meals years ago. We compromise and they take it in turn to cook (and can from scratch. It was worth those messy days/nghts in the kitchen believe me!) We also grow as much of our food as possible, and again, they help me do it. It really helps!

  • Elisabeth Martins

    We have a weekly meal plan because it makes dinner time easier,
    we have a set time the kids turn off their iPads and sit at the dinner table,
    If they don’t eat their dinner they don’t get to do fun things after,
    I’m very much a traditionalist in those ways.

  • Helen

    My first job when prepping dinner is to chop up some veges and set them aside on a plate. Invariably, sneaky fingers delight in coming up to “steal” some and run off, victorious! Every now and then I keep the game going by muttering loudly “I’m sure I chopped up more carrots than this….” and listen for the stifled giggles. It’s a guaranteed way to get me some quiet time during dinner prep, get them eating fresh veges and, most importantly, ENJOYING fresh veges! I don’t have to tear my hair out trying to hide veges creatively in meals because they learn to enjoy them in a fun way.

  • Jaimi

    I called it the Triple D Dinner plan! It helps me conquer dinner time.
    D- design a meal plan, budget and prep
    D- designate jobs to each child to help out
    D- distraction! Stickers, bath foam and bribery. Organisation is the only thing that keeps my life running smoothly 🙂
    I meal plan every Sunday night once the kids are in bed, search catalogues for specials and budget. Then Monday morning after school drop off for the big ones, I hit Woolworths for my weekly shop (that way it’s quieter and easy to manage with Bub). I spend Monday morning meal prepping…cutting fruit, Veggies, pre-prepping meat and freezing. That’s usually done in a couple hours while baby Jax plays in his walker and has tummy time. This prep helps the rest of my week run smoother with a 7 year old, 6 year old and a 5 month old baby…as well as working full time (4/5x 12hr shifts per week) as an Ambo for QLD Ambulance. Once home from school everyday they have their jobs to do, play with their bikes for a bit, homework and then jump into the bath. Coloured bath foam is an inexpensive distraction while I heat or quickly put together our preprepared dinner and feed baby as well as put him to bed. Once their out they know it’s time to set the table for tea. Then we’re all able to sit and eat as a family each night with no stress 🙂
    When I’m working I have frozen “all in one” cups that are in the fridge and freezer for breakfast and I set the slow cooker for dinner. This helps while I’m on shift. For example: yoghurt with fruit in cups in the fridge, overnight oats in containers and for a hot brekky there’s my breakfast cups…mountain wrap base, slice of tomato, mushrooms, egg on top sprinkled with cheese and baked in muffin trays….a quick easy breakfast that’s filling on a cold day 🙂

    With a little prep every mealtime can be made a little easier.

    (Ps also have a great change time tip for wriggly babies….put a sticker on the base of their foot and they will be busily distracted trying to get the sticker that their still enough to change with no drama. They realise that the faster they move the harder it is to get the sticker 🙂 inexpensive distraction)

  • Sacha Pech

    Honestly; the incentive is wine. Once we all survive arsenic hour; I’m allowed a small glass.

  • Naomi Stoeger

    My best dinner time tip is to keep the dining table in the routine.
    My son ate wonderfully as a bub at the table. ..
    We eventually had to move to a smaller place and no longer had the dining table. He sat in one of those high chair booster seats on the floor however, as not everyone was sitting around eating together anymore, he became very fussy. Once out of the seat because he was too big he became super duper fussy.

    I strongly believe keeping everyone eating at that table will help keep your child eating better and more variety of foods. Plus it incorporates family bonding time, strengthens relationships and encourages good manners and etiquette ☺ and less mess ?

  • Lynnette Bull

    while i prepare dinner I give the kids a sheet of pastry each and some kitchen utensils. They sit there cutting shapes and making patterns. I then let them bake their masterpieces. We bake it and they often put some of their dinner onto their creations and actually eat their dinner.

  • Amie Falls

    2 very important steps any Mum should have under their belt in order to keep their sanity around dinner/bath/bedtime is-1) Always have a plan of attack. Knowing what your cooking ahead of time will be invaluable, 2) Tire them out. Keep them active during the day so they will just flop into bed without too much fuss…hopefully. If all else fails I’ve found that a solid hour of belting out Disney tunes can make any child crazy situation better. Channel your inner Elsa!

  • Belinda M

    Try to be as prepared as possible. Meals like tacos are great because you can make a huge amount of salad and meat. Have tacos one night, make burritos out of it the next night, nachos the night after or even put it on baked potatoes.
    I like to make meals that can be used in more than one way like this example, otherwise freeze and reheat where necessary

  • Ashley Beech

    I’m usually preparing dinner before school pick up as my partner’s night shift worker. So it’s just a matter of heating things up for the kids. Whoever finishes first washes, the last dries up and puts away.It’s usually a race,and a win win situation for me. Shower’s in the morning, so reading time in bed after pyjamas are on!

  • Rachael

    Routine is the best solution!! It lets the kids know what to expect.
    Dinner we have something from each food group. That way if they fuss over not liking dinner they are at least getting dairy and fruit/veg etc
    I also involve them as much as possible when getting it ready. They see what’s going into the meal causing less fuss when it’s time to eat 🙂

  • Paul ready

    We get out the timer. Everything has to be done in a certain amount of time. Not rushed but not too slow. The kids love it.

  • Kristina

    Honestly I wing 6 out of 7 days of the week. My kids know better than to ask whats for dinner before 4pm. I’ve tried meal planning but we just didn’t get along. My advice is to embrace the crazy, unplanned chaos it all turns out in the end. You never know what each day will bring, your open to almost anything.

  • Michelle Warwick

    Organisation and routine are my saviours. However, if that fails, there’s always bribery….

  • Murniyati M Y

    Hi Chantelle! What I do is 1) aim to finish cooking before I pick my kids up from school 2) And on days where I cook dishes that are freezeable (eg. curries, bolognese sauce, etc.) I will cook in bulk and freeze for days when pressed for time. 3) when cooking using chicken breast, I will cut out the tenderloin and freeze. When I have enough, I make my own chicken nuggets for my little miss picky eater. Same goes when using mince, I put aside some to make meatballs for her.

  • Laura Powers

    I keep myself as busy as possible cleaning, playing games with them, hide and seek is good I get things done as I’m counting and it helps to tire them out for any easier bedtime! time goes super quick and before I know it they are fast asleep and it’s netflix and wine time.

  • Mark Fraser

    Ahhh… the joys of the blender. Our kids were really, really fussy eaters. We used to blend the vegetables up to a paste to mix with other foods so they still got the benefits without knowing they were eating it.

  • Jo

    The best way I found to keep the dinner time dance from becoming an actual dance (and running race, and dodgems!) is to plonk my little ones into the bath and feed them there. Nowhere to run, and clean up is a washcloth swipe away : )

  • Kate Hardman

    Having TWO hands on, able and involved parents is a key component for us. It means that we’re a team and we get everything done TOGETHER.

  • Nassep

    I try to make as much in advance in the “down time” – I find fresh is best but honestly I am not going to beat my self up by using frozen vegies etc. As long as they get a variety of things to eat and are happy then I am satisfied

  • Laura Nathan

    Hi Chantelle! I call it my Stages and Ages night time plan, and it gets me through the slippery slope of dinner, bath and bed time! I have three Little Buds, my littlest is 10mths, middle is 3yo and my oldest is 32yo (yes, that’s hubby!). I’d love to tell you we sit around the dinner table together, sharing stories, laughter and good food, but that’s not the case for us. Introducing stage 1: the littlest Bud eats first. When half the food has made it into her mouth and the other has been sucked up by the four legged vacuum cleaner, enter Stage 2. My middle Bud talks more than he eats, so that gives me time to clean up baby Bud while I set his dinner up at the table. I’ve reached Stage 3 when my biggest Bud leans against the open fridge, letting out all the precious cold air, staring into blankness. I serve his up and he sits, eats and listens to middle Bud while I move on to bathing baby Bud. The timing works out well so when bathing is done, dinner is too so I do a Bud swap, exchanging clean baby Bud for messy middle Bud. Finally, Stage 4 is a story and ending with bed! What about me, you ask? We’ll stage 5 is the best time – me time!

  • Davo Will

    I started to learn how to cook when I was 5. My two sisters and I took turns helping cook each night and I’ve always loved cooking because of that.

    Cooking is great fun and a very important skill, not only how to cook but how to eat healthy.

    The best trick to keeping a family less stressed is to work together as a team.

  • Jac

    Peeling vegetables at a less stressful time means when it is dinner time and things are crazy, all you have to do is turn on the stove or oven. Being prepared beforehand is the key for me.

  • Kelly Ryan

    Keep it simple and routine. Invest in a slow cooker and try to get everyone onboard to help!

  • Vanessa Jedruszek

    Keep it simple without surprises – an expected routine removes some the stressors around evening time, and generally makes for more relaxed children and hopefully more relaxed parents 🙂

  • Chrissy07

    I don’t do anything else but look after the children. I make dinner earlier and plan everything else for after bed time. It works. Weekends are different and chaos but week days are organised.

  • Dom

    My best tip is to try and cook things that can be used two days in a row. For example, if you are having roast chook one night then make enough for leftover chicken to be served in tacos the next night.

  • Melinda Bolitho

    Keep it simple! Cook what they will eat and add something new in every couple of days to expand their tastebuds. It keeps the dinner fights at bay and everyone happy!

  • VandaB

    I’m a working mum and my 2 year old needs to eat as soon as we walk in the door so having something ready in the fridge that I can heat up as soon as we get home helps avoid hunger meltdowns. Once fed, it’s bath time followed by some quiet time then bed. Then this mummy has a wine and enjoys a quiet dinner with hubby.

  • Madelaine Howe

    Make meals that are adaptable so there are less arguments about eating and more nomming (:

  • Tamara Lamb

    Call in the troops! By that, I mean husband. He does a mean mashed potato while I serve, then bangs out showers while I get ready for the bed time story. Team.

  • Joanna Harrison

    I try and keep to a routine so the kids know what to expect; they have a bath or shower first and then it’s dinner all together. Hubby and I work as a tag team to get their teeth brushed, stories read and then quiet time before getting into bed. It doesn’t always run smoothly or without tears but then we wouldn’t be bringing up children, that’d be alien for sure!

  • Laura Scriven

    I meal plan when I shop,
    And do big cook ups a lot.
    Nights off with frozen back ups,
    Cos we all know life is tough!

  • Louise Mckeon

    I pretend I’m babysitting for someone and this is the only time I get to do this so it seems more like a novelty!

  • Michelle

    Prep as much as you can earlier in the day…Put the kids pjs in the bathroom ready for after the bath and using the slow cooker as much as possible.

  • Beksmum

    I try and start dinner as soon as I get home so dinner is ready before witching hour (for me this is 6-7), then quick bath and bed time is relaxing so we have time to read and talk 🙂

  • helenemckellar

    A glass of wine in my hand and dinnertime always goes to plan!

  • JanelleM

    I’m a meal planner and on days that we have after school activities, I cook dinner the night before & have snacks ready to go. It’s the only way we get through crazy weeks with a shift worker husband. My Sunday afternoons are spent in the kitchen baking & preparing meals.

  • April Morris

    The kids are aloud to leave one serve of vegetables of their choice if they wish on their plate. I will always make sure I add at least two or three types of veggies they aren’t a fan of to make sure they are eating it! It really works as they think they have the choice to leave something they don’t want to eat but in return are eating two or three serves they don’t love along with the serves of veggies they do love!

  • gr82do

    Husband and I share. One chucks the kids in the bath and they can stay and play. The other cooks. We try to have bath and dinner over so that there is 30 mins of ABC for kids. If they are ready for bed,food eaten, they get to watch (Sometimes we have that 30 mins recorded. Works for but the three are little yet.

  • Lyn Smith

    Ohhhh how dinner time is brutal,
    The mess, the tears, the eating refusal,
    It really is a daily nightmare,
    So I suggest investing in good cookware,

    Dinner time can definitely make you break,
    So try to avoid the scrubbing headache,
    Invest in some good pots and pans,
    So scrubbing pots is never on the plans,

    And cook simple foods that they will eat,
    Easy veggies, carbs and some meat,
    They have plenty of years to try new things,
    So just feed them what happiness brings,

    Your mental health is focus number one,
    And we all know dinner time is NOT fun,
    Simple foods, good pots and you’ll be right,
    Then bed time kids…so you can drink all night!

  • Christine

    Plan, plan, plan. I find if I plan ahead then it saves so much stress. And for the times when things go haywire, I always have a stand-by easy dinner back-up in the pantry.

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