Kiersten's Monkey Platters

The original was on MySpace here: (not there anymore so glad I saved it!!

and is somewhat reproduced below for those who can't get to the original page.

There has been some ongoing discussion about food on one of the groups I belong to and it motivated me to examine what we have been eating lately. I used to offer a platter full of many choices when the kids were littler (named a monkey platter by Sandra Dodd ) and the kids would graze throughout the day, often trying new foods.

As time has gone by, I have found myself putting out dishes of single foods or asking them what they want or making only favorites. The discussion sparked a desire in me to try putting out monkey platers again and it has been going great! Not only have the kids been getting more variety but they have been trying things I wasn't sure they liked.

I use a Tupperware sectioned tray I got at my wedding shower over a decade ago. It has nice high walls between each food which seems to keep my son from being annoyed at the foods he doesn't wante to try.

J. and I are eating healthier too through healthy munching as we go by and from using the prepped food in the fridge. It is amazing how fast we can eat sliced up cucumbers, when left unsliced they grow mold and turn to mush.

I made up a huge list (well, I added to one already made by a friend of ours) and am using it to try to keep up the variety:

mini carrots,
celery "smiles" (stalk celery cut across the strings small enough for a bite)-sometimes
plain, sometimes with peanut butter or cream cheese in,
bell pepper slices/chunks,
small mushrooms or big ones sliced,
cherry or grape tomatoes,
melon cubes,
cheese cubes or sticks (just got the idea the other day to use tiny
cookie cutters to make shapes like the expensive "brand name" in the dairy
string cheese,
cubed balogna,
ham or turkey-or sliced and rolled up into bite-size portions with a toothpick in to keep it rolled,
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut up into about 1" squares,
banana slices,
trail mix,
dried cranberries,
apple slices,
fresh berries (blue, black, black raspberry, red raspberry),
kiwi slices,
orange sections,
frozen peas,
frozen green beans,
frozen blueberries,
cooked potato or sweet potato cubes,
cooked brussels sprout quarters,
cauliflower florets-cooked or raw,
"cheerio" kind of cereal (I suppose "chex" kinds would work, too),
rice cake pieces-plain or with peanut butter,
plain popcorn (or salted),
bread cubes,
tofu cubes,
chicken (unbreaded chunks or "nuggets"),
seeds (like sunflower-though they "can" be messy),
pickles (sweet or dill),
olives (green or black),
hard boiled egg,
wax beans,
pinapple pieces,
cucumber slices,
whole wheat crackers (triscuits are a favorite, here!),
tofu hot dogs-sometimes sliced, sometimes whole,
Applesauce, peanutbutter, blackstrap molasses, cream cheese, sour cream, plain
or flavored yogurt and/or chip dip for dipping.
fruit leather,
freeze-dried fruit,
freeze-dried veggies,
chocolate covered sunflower seeds,
flax chips (TJ's),
zucchini/pumpkin/banana bread,
granola bars,
tortillas (cut in strips or shapes),
tortillas rolled up in pinwheels with PB or cream cheese,
bagel slices,
pita chips,
quesadilla triangles,
hummus or other dips,
frozen grapes, berries, etc.,
graham crackers,
oyster crackers,
baked chickpeas (salt, cin. sugar, or nutritional yeast),
fruit and nut bars,
mini bagels w/ cream cheese,
rice balls,
tiny mt. balls,
veggie burger pieces,
mini pizza slices,
corn "tires" (corn on the cob slices),
yogurt drops (dehydrated globs of yogurt),
tiny quiche bites,
strata squares,
jicama slices,
matchstick veggies,
cooked pasta shapes,
chinese crispy noodles,
jello jigglers (made with juice),
tiny sandwiches (any filling),
More Monkeyplatters!