Cookie sheets rescue food dropped from the high chair

Rob's good-sense feeding hack:

Our little guy is just starting to self-feed things like peas, etc. that we spread before him at meal time. However, most of his food ends up on the floor. So to reduce this waste we now put a cookie sheet on the floor under him that catches about 90% of these dropped morsels so we can reload his tray.

Wax paper would work as well and is disposable (a pro or con depending on your perspective). Past hacks have also suggested old vinyl party tablecloths as highchair mats, I wouldn't think they're as easy to clean.


  1. Allen Knutson says

    We use a bedsheet, and change it maybe twice a week. It’s much larger than a cookie sheet and can be tossed straight in the laundry.

  2. adrienne says

    We use an old shower curtain cut in half (so it’s not gigantic). It can go through the washer with some baking soda to clean and freshen (detergent will make it brittle). Then air dry in the shower.

    Since you get two from one shower curtain you always have a second for rotation. We like that it catches sticky liquids like juice.

  3. Duane says

    I’m thinking paint a bull’s eye on the cookie sheet, because my son would see that as an enhancement to the game. It’ll catch more, to be certain, but at least in my house I think it will encourage more dropping as well.

  4. Kim says

    Yeap, I agree. We have two dogs named Taco & Belle. They even have a trick called “Vacuum” you point to the item of food you want disposed of and say the magic word and magically it disappears!

  5. Leigh says

    We use the dog method. Highly recommended–also efficiently cleans out the high chair seat, and can be used to clean the feedee, if necessary.

  6. Susan says

    Our grumpy dog “Skittles” is a finiky one. He refuses to clean up any veggies or cereal. I LOVE the shower curtain idea! That way grumpy can just pick and choose his morsels before I rinse the rest off.

  7. K&M says

    We use one of those clear chair mats (the kind you put under a rolling office chair) from Ikea. It’s not as easy to pick up and clean as I imagine a shower curtain would be, but it is very non-obtrusive, easily stays put, and also does a pretty good job of protecting the floor.

  8. Kate says

    The floor seems so much easier to clean than trays or sheets or anything else, really. Just grab a wet washcloth, wipe, you’re done.

    As far as saving the dropped food, pick it up and put it back on the tray. You can’t hurt your kid like this unless there’s feces or raw meat on your floor!!

  9. Abel says

    How come it didn’t cross my mind to think of a solution to capture falling food? Was I being too lazy? Anyway, thanks for the hack, it’s great.

  10. Alex says

    Also try newspaper. Newspaper is one of the most hygienic things around (because of the high temps used in printing). If it gets too messy or wet throw it out otherwise you can still recycle it too!

  11. Chief Family Officer says

    After using those flimsy vinyl mats and even a less-flimsy mat from PBK that we got as a gift, I read the office chair mat tip in Parenting and bought the biggest one they had. It’s so easy to clean and looks a thousand times better since it’s clear and you can still see the carpet.

  12. Jonathan Bloom says

    This is a great idea, thanks for sharing. I blog on wasted food ( ) and how to avoid it, so I’ve passed along the word there.

    I don’t have kids, but can imagine that when I (hopefully)do, I’ll try to make sure as much food as possible gets eaten by either kids or dogs. Does anyone have other food-saving hacks–like the cookie sheet or the “inside out” crust sandwich (–1.html) –they’d want to share?

  13. Andrea says

    I tried the cookie sheet method last night when we had some chinese takeout to capture falling rice grains. No dice. Didn’t work for me because food still landed outside of the sheets and added more stuff to be washed after dinner. I’ll stick with the wet paper towel pickup method.

  14. catmom says

    Kate and Kim, we feed our baby with the rest of the family in our carpeted dining room because we believe in the family table. But believe me, milk and spaghetti sauce on the carpet are more than just a wet washcloth wipe, and apparently are too much to ask of the dog. I think the office chair mat sounds like a great idea for us to try – sort of like replacing that part of the carpet with the kind of floor you must be referring to.
    We don’t keep feces or raw meat on the floor. But have you thought about where your shoes have been lately? We keep our shoes at the front door, but we don’t force our guests to, and we also have pets … enough said there, probably.