Me trying to write about how to make kid friendly food is like me trying to do, well, math…it’s not pretty. If I’m not serving Mac N Cheese “out of the blue box” or Chik Fil A, then I am taking a big risk. My kids are fairly picky eaters and all three in different ways. I don’t know about you, but adding another layer of challenge to this every.night.task is that they seem to change their likes and dislikes on a monthly, sometimes weekly, basis.
Taking cues from other mama friends (and Facebook, of course, after posting about my dinner rut issues), I have a few tips that I thought I would share.
Plan. It’s all about the plan, man. You need to have one. Everybody does it a bit differently, but I find that when I am getting our week planned out and ready on Sunday evenings, this is a good time to make our meal plan. I often times take this afternoon to pre-make some things that we eat a lot of throughout the week, as well.
Keep it simple. You don’t need to cook a menu from the Food Network every night. Or sneak in pureed vegetables (a total day and grocery bill wasted, as my kids asked my everything tasted so funny). This just makes a mama grumpy when she spends an hour (3o minutes meals, as if)
burning cooking a new and special dinner only to have a tiny army of voices say they don’t like it…without even trying it.
Keep it small. Kids don’t eat as much as we think they do. Or at least mine don’t. So, I serve all of our meals on our salad plates, instead of dinner plates. It helps us keep our portions right and less overwhelming for little minds…and hands. I have a couple of kids that are snackers…they would rather not sit and eat a meal, rather just graze all day. So for lunches, sometimes it’s just small portions of snack-like foods: mini muffins, baggies of fruit, yogurt, string cheese, a hard boiled egg, and these “amaze-balls” No Bake Energy Bites that I got from Pinterest. This can also translate to dinner: mini burgers or meatloaf for example.
Crock Pot. It’s a mama’s best friend. I have a few Crock Pot recipes that my kids actually like and I use it once a week. I pick my busiest day for this, so I can just put it all together in the morning…and it’s ready for dinner!
Take note. Did you catch that I said I have a few recipes that my kids actually like? Use them. I have just a few staple recipes that are easy and family friendly. I make one of these at least once a week.
Breakfast for dinner. Enough said. It can be cereal on the worst days to homemade pancakes or scrambled eggs on a good one.
Leftovers. Don’t underestimate them. Use them.
A tip that I got from a nutritionist was to feed my kids dinner right after school. They usually come in through the door starving and gorge themselves on an afternoon of snacks if you’re not careful. So, now I try to have dinner ready or close to ready right after school. This way, they eat a full meal when they are hungry and snacks are for later…usually after their activities.
And this goes back to Plan. It’s all about the plan, man.