I had the most interesting conversation with a fellow mum recently and I really wanted to share what she had to say on this subject. She’s definitely learnt a thing or two when it comes to feeding her 5 children and how to stay sane at mealtimes.
Let's hear from Luca, photographer extraordinaire and mum of 5 kids, living in the Launceston Region on the island state of Tasmania.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I'm a stay at home mum, content creator and Virtual Assistant (VA) living on the island state of Tasmania. We have a little hobby farm and absolutely love living in our semi rural piece of paradise.
I also run a part time photography business - Life By Luca Photography.
How many children do you have?
We have 5 children, aged 16, 8, 5, and 2yr old twins.
Describe what mealtimes are like with your children.
Noisy! And messy thanks to the twins. But meal times aren't too bad, we have one very fussy, but the others are fairly good and will eat most foods.
What are the top 3 things that could make mealtimes easier for you as a busy mama?
Anything that minimises mess, anything that is easy to clean, and anything that has been designed ergonomically so that the twins can feed themselves efficiently.
Have you used divided plates before?
Yes I have.
Do you love using your divided plates?
No. I’m actually not a fan of the divided plates and have never understood why they are all made that way.
What do you not like about them?
Firstly, I feel that divided plates encourage fussiness. Our 7 year old still gets annoyed when different food touches each other on his plate (he used divided plates as a young child).
Secondly, divided plates also make it more challenging for the child to eat their food as a meal; because it is trickier to make the effort to get a piece from each section and put it in their mouths. Whereas if it's one plate without any of the bento divided sections (like we as adults use), as they scoop and use their fork and spoon, they automatically mix and pick up the different elements of the meal.
I suspect the divided plates may have played a role in creating picky eating habits amongst my kids.
I also find divided plates challenging to clean effectively in the dishwasher because most of them have grooves on the underside and dirty water always seems to collect in there.
You purchased our Bear Plate Sets for your twins recently. How are you finding them?
I love the fact that it isn't divided, this is a massive selling point for me. I think it's wonderful for their culinary development to be able to enjoy meals completely without each element of the meal segmented into a separate compartment.
I also love the firmness and height of the sides because it helps little ones to scoop their food up. And of course how easy it is to put into the dishwasher - it fits perfectly into the plate slots and comes out nice and clean.
My Own Experience
Well, Luca is not alone. My sentiments echo that of Luca's.
When Delia was starting her food journey, I too, like many mums bought a divided plate for her. It was instinctive to get a divided plate because everyone seemed to be doing so and the market is filled with divided plates for young children. I didn't think too much about it.
However, in my experience with Delia, I could not get the divided plate to work for me. Firstly, I struggled to fill each section with food. Mine has 6 sections! Also, I found it difficult to get Delia to eat from all the sections. She picked and chose which section she wanted to eat from and ended up eating mostly from the section closest to her and I had to scoop food in the other sections to place in that main section she was eating from. It defeated the purpose of a divided plate!
So when I was sourcing for children's dinnerware to add to our range after Esme was born, I wanted it to support mums (myself included) in:
- raising independent eaters
- encouraging children to eat like adults (from a non-sectioned plate)
- preventing fussy eaters - so all the food for your children don't go to waste and they get a full range of nutrients by loving a wide range of food
- super easy to clean dinnerware
I would love to hear about your experiences on this. I really believe in our Bear Plates. Time to get yours today and avoid those fussy mealtime dramas.
You can find them here.
Bear Plates Rinsed and Loaded Up in the Plate Slots of the Dishwasher