Why is it that so many of the tastiest snacks in the world are also the messiest? It can become a real issue, especially during the summertime when we can’t resist snacking on juicy melons, melty popsicles, and condiment-laden burgers. My laundry machines are always working overtime in the summer, partly due to sweaty boys coming home covered in grass stains, and partly due to all of the spills, splatters, and drips from our favorite summertime snacks. But I’m determined to reduce our laundry burden this summer, both to save resources and to save my own sanity. ;-)
I’ve rounded up several clever tips for making messy foods easier to eat, or just less likely to end in a mess. We’ll be implementing many of these tips at our house, and I hope you find a tip or two that you want to use, too!
Neat Ways to Eat Messy Foods
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- Watermelon is a notoriously messy summertime treat, usually resulting in super sticky fingers. Rather than cubing your watermelon, try cutting it into a grid instead. Cut your watermelon in half, then place it cut-side down onto a cutting board. Cut it into parallel slices about 1-2 inches apart, then turn your cutting board 90 degrees and cut across watermelon using the same 1-2 inch slices. You’ll end up watermelon pieces that are easy to grab AND easy to eat!
- One of my favorite easy lunch sandwiches also happens to be one of the messiest – peanut butter and jelly. But it doesn’t have to be! When spreading the peanut butter onto one of your pieces of bread, make a small raised “rim” of peanut butter along the edges of the piece of bread. Spread your jam or jelly into the cavity in the center, then add your other piece of bread. The peanut butter rim effectively seals the sandwich, making it easier to eat, and less likely to ooze all over if placed in a container or bag.
- I’m sure most people have had the experience of biting into a delicious cupcake, only to get frosting in and around your nose. That’s why some genius invented the “cupcake sandwich!” Pull the bottom half of the cake portion off of your cupcake, then turn it upside-down and place it right on top of the frosting. Now you can bite into your tasty treat with no frosting mishaps!
- I love a good burger, but I hate when the bottom bun of my burger falls apart when I’m trying to eat it! At best, it turns into a fork-and-knife situation; at worst, it ends up all over my lap. So here’s an easy fix – just eat your burger upside-down! The top half of a bun is usually more substantial than the bottom half, and less likely to fall apart on you. Smart!
- Who doesn’t love the classic snack pairing of Oreos and milk? The two common issues with dipping Oreos into milk are milky fingers, and accidentally dropping your cookie into the bottom of the glass. *sigh* Eliminate both issues by inserting a fork into the cream part of the cookie. You’ll keep your fingers milk-free, and no more lost cookies.
- Anyone with teenage boys at home probably understands the curse of “Dorito fingers” (or Cheetos, or whatever powdery chip your boys prefer). You can usually find evidence of Dorito fingers on your keyboards, your remote controls, and your doorknobs, and it will eventually drive you insane. ;-) Many people swear by eating chips with a pair of chopsticks. It keeps your fingers clean, and will quickly improve your chopstick skills. Reusable chopsticks are readily available, to help minimize waste.
- Tacos can quickly become taco salad on your plate, whether because of your taco shell falling apart, or the filling falling out. Solve this common taco dilemma by wrapping your taco in a big piece of lettuce. The lettuce will keep everything in, and you’ll be eating more nutrients. (I’ve also heard of people eating over an extra tortilla, so that if the filling falls out, it lands on the tortilla and creates another taco.)
- Mangos are one of the trickiest fruits to eat, due to their flesh being very stubbornly attached to the seed/pit. In order to cut around the pit, it helps to visualize where it’s edges are. The mango itself is oblong, and so is its pit. Slice the longer sides off to get a large, fleshy piece. Score the flesh without cutting through the skin, like you would an avocado. Then push the skin side in to expose the pieces, and enjoy!
- Popsicles are the ultimate summertime treat, but they’re also the most likely to turn into a drippy, sticky mess. Keep the drips contained by pushing a paper cupcake liner onto the stick of a popsicle. (Check out more clever ways to use cupcake liners.)
- Ice cream cones are another potential drippy disaster. You can ensure that melting ice cream won’t drip out of the bottom on your cone by placing a marshmallow into the bottom of your cone before filling it with ice cream. Plus, you get the eat the marshmallow at the end! :-) (Check out 24 more clever “hacks” that will make your life easier.)
I’m sure I’ve only just scratched the surface of clever ideas for making less mess with traditionally messy foods. If you have a tip of your own, please share it in the comments below! You and your comment could be featured in a future blog post. :-)