Whether you’re heading to a park for a picnic, visiting a friend’s house to enjoy a meal together or eating out at a restaurant, you can minimise stress and maximise the chances of your little one enjoying a balanced meal and a valuable learning experience by being prepared. Ensure you have everything you need to hand, including wipes or washcloths for the inevitable sticky fingers and faces. If you’re a family that enjoys eating out, you’ll also find it helpful to carry a selection of quiet distractions for when food takes a while to be served. Small toys, books, stickers and other items can be invaluable.
Of course, one of the most important items you need to pack is your Bibado Coverall! Did you know that our coverall weaning bibs are ideal for meals out and about as well as at home? If your child is sitting to eat in their buggy or pushchair, you can save yourself a considerable cleaning job by using the coverall to catch crumbs and spills, protecting their clothes and the pushchair itself. It also works brilliantly to prevent food from ending up on the floor when you use it with a restaurant highchair and attach it directly to the table. Save yourself the embarrassment of a sea of crumbs under your baby’s seat after they’ve finished eating, and allows them a second chance to try food that might have been dropped accidentally, which is still good to eat.
If you don’t get a chance to prepare beforehand – perhaps you’ve decided on an impromptu picnic, or you opt for a meal out as a pitstop during a long car journey – you can still save yourself some stress by keeping a stock of likely ‘must-haves’ in your changing bag. Lots of our customers like to keep an extra coverall bib packed and ready for use wherever they may be, and this is what makes our bundle deals so handy.
Make sensible food choices
When packing your picnic, choose foods you know your baby will enjoy; now is probably not the time to get them to sample a new dish for the first time. Opt for foods that are easy to pick up, generate minimal mess and provide a good balance of nutrients. Consider how you’ll transport your picnic and whether your food will remain at a safe temperature if you’re not planning to eat it until later in the day. Use a food flask to carry hot food and ice blocks with an insulated cool bag for things that need to be kept chilled.
If you’re dining at a café or restaurant, you might choose to bring food for your little one, let them share your meal, or order something from the kids’ menu. Many little ones can be fussy about the cups or utensils they like to use, so consider bringing your own from home to avoid unnecessary upset. Whatever you choose to offer your child for their main meal, it’s a good idea to bring some easy options they can eat while they wait, such as breadsticks, rice cakes or similar.
Convenience foods are not the enemy
We’ve all been there, getting stuck in traffic on your way home from a day out, deciding to meet friends in the park with nothing in the fridge to bring for a picnic, popping out for a morning and ending up staying out all day. If you haven’t been able to bring suitable food from home for your little one and time or budget constraints mean you’re not up for a full-on restaurant experience this time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional convenience food meal. Life is about balance, whether that’s a pouch of baby food, a supermarket ‘meal deal’, or even a child-friendly fast food option. If your baby is fed and happy, it’s not a big issue if a meal or two was less nutritious than you would like for their everyday eating. Know that what you do most of the time matters more than what you do some of the time – these foods serve a purpose and don’t dictate your child’s entire diet.
More than anything, we hope you enjoy getting out and about with your little one this summer! A change in your usual routine needn’t disrupt your baby-led weaning plans and can provide lots of new and exciting experiences with food for your baby to enjoy.
For more about eating out, including information on food safety and some specific picnic food suggestions, check out the latest edition of our Feeding Curiosity podcast here.