One of our children’s most favorite things to eat is “meat and cheese” — a.k.a. a plate of food consisting of various meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, crackers, dips, nuts, etc.
They excitedly come to the table whenever “meat and cheese” is offered for a meal or snack, Nora eats some variation of “meat and cheese” almost every day in her school lunch, and because there are so many ways I can mix up the contents of a “meat and cheese” meal, it seems they never tire of this menu selection!
As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, our current meal routine is to have a big, hot breakfast pretty much every morning — some type of eggs, some type of meat, and some type of starch (toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.)
We also almost always have a fairly large, hot meal for dinner — meat, potatoes, casseroles, pasta, pizza, soup and salad, fruits, veggies, breads, etc.
For lunch however, Dave and I often try to finish off leftovers or eat a sandwich or salad, while the kids almost always have some form of a “meat and cheese” meal.
This routine works well for us… and (for the most part) I would say our kids are fairly good eaters at meal times.
Over the summer months (in an effort to spend less time in the house and more time outside by the pool) I decided to regularly serve up their favorite “meat and cheese” meal as a fun-looking, fun-to-eat, kid-friendly charcuterie board (pronounced SHär’kōōderē).
It takes mere minutes for me to compile all their favorite foods onto this big tray (I put a piece of wax paper down first), we don’t get any other dishes or flatware dirty, we can easily eat it outside in the middle of whatever else we’re doing, and everyone can pick and choose the items they want (which the kids LOVE!)
Of course, Dave and I enjoy it too — I mean, what’s not to love about a tray piled high with fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, crackers, dips, etc!!
I’ll often throw a few PB&J or grilled cheese sandwiches on the tray as well (cut into triangles) — for a little more substance, but our family of 6 (yes, Clara loves this fare as well) will polish off the entire tray pictured in this post for one meal.
The kids just keep grabbing one more grape, one more cucumber, another strawberry, one more slice of cheese, etc. and before we know it, the food is gone and our bellies are full.
They go back to playing, I bring the empty tray inside and enjoy the fact that I don’t have any dishes to wash or a kitchen to clean up.
I should probably clarify that we ALWAYS have containers of pre-sliced meats, cheese, veggies, fruits, etc. ready to go in our fridge. We eat these types of foods so often that I take time every few days to slice more in bulk.
If I didn’t have everything already sliced, chopped, cut-up, etc. it would take me more time to assemble this charcuterie board, but even still, it shouldn’t take that long.
One of the best parts about this meal is that you can customize the contents based on what you have in the house, based on what’s in season, based on what your family likes, etc.
You certainly don’t need to put it all on one platter either — I just enjoy making it look “pretty” and I do think the kids eat better when the presentation is so fun!
This same concept works well as an appetizer for almost any occasion — and I’ve even made dessert trays with chocolate covered strawberries, dipped pretzels, caramel corn, chocolate dipped marshmallows, a selection of tiny bars and cookies, candied almonds, dried fruit, etc. It was a HUGE hit!
I can see this type of food option being very helpful on busy weeknights when kids are coming and going from various activities and everyone needs to eat at a different time.
I can also see it working well for a Sunday night supper when you might want something lighter and you’re busy getting ready for another week ahead.
Whatever the case, these kid-friendly charcuterie boards are some of our family’s favorite simple meals (especially since they look so fun!)