Erin and I are both firm believers in the motto “be considerate without catering.”
I’m all for coming up with ways to make meal times family friendly. But making each member of my family their own favourite dish, not happening.
I absolutely refuse to make 3 separate meals at dinner time, or any time for that matter. I will not be the short order cook of my family.
Is this easy? Absolutely not. Do I sometimes have to use all of my willpower and hold myself back from making a peanut butter sandwich or macaroni and cheese meal. Absolutely yes.
And I get it. I know the tantrums that can happen over the smallest things – g-d forbid I give my daughter the wrong colour cup. And it would be so much easier to just serve her up whatever she wants in that moment of time and avoid a meltdown.
But I stand my ground. I want my daughters to see us all sitting down for family meals and eating the same foods. There are many reasons for this, one of course being I have zero desire to cook multiple meals at one time, but I also think this helps set her on the path to developing a happy and healthy relationship with food. I also believe she is more likely to be open and willing to trying a certain food if she sees me eating the same thing. The moms and dads are the role models, the ones they look up to, basically the coolest things since sliced bread.
However, I also share the frustration of throwing away plates of uneaten food. That kills me. So I’ve come up with a strategy that seems to work for the majority of the time and can turn any meal or dish into a family friendly superstar. I like to call it, the deconstructed meal.
Whatever I’m making for dinner that night, I break it down for the kiddos. I set aside all the various components, so we are all eating the same foods, it just may look a little different for them.
Picture a dish of enchiladas – tortillas, some sort of filling, sauce, cheese all rolled together. Delicious for adults, some younger kids might not bite. I set out some separate tortillas, filling, sauce, and cheese in different bowls so my daughter can pick and choose which parts she wants. Same food, just presented a little differently for her. And in those foods, there is always always one thing I know she will generally eat.
Lets play again! This time, we’re cooking up a stir fry – I set aside some raw peppers, some plain rice, some of the cooked chicken, sauce on the side. She chooses what she wants, she gets to feel some control over choosing the foods and quantities she wants to eat, and again, we are all eating the same thing.
Try it – I can’t promise you it will solve all of your meal time battles, and I can’t promise you it will leave your house tantrum free, but I do promise you will likely have a few more #kidapproved meals under your belt.
If you have some more questions or need a little bit more help getting some family friendly meals on the table, click the link below to book your FREE consultation today!