I previously wrote a post about meal planning… how I did it, and how it simplified my life. It was all true. Fast forward a few years, and I’m now mom to two picky eaters. Also, I’m a vegetarian, but my husband isn’t. On some nights, I started making four different dinners. At my breaking point, my family sat together for “an easy pasta dinner” and I ate penne with tomato sauce and spinach, my husband ate penne with tomato sauce and salad, one daughter ate bowties with parmesan and peas, and the other ate bowties with tomato sauce and peas. What kind of family can’t even agree on pasta!?
If your children aren’t picky eaters, then 1) I’m jealous, and 2) I’m sure this post seems ridiculous. But, if cooking dinners makes you want to cry (and/or order take-out), then maybe I can help. A little late night googling about picky eating, meal planning, and not going totally crazy in the kitchen, eventually led me to two posts that have really helped our dinnertime dilemma.
I haven’t yet read Ellyn Satter’s book, but until I find the time, this Scary Mommy post is holding me over. Now I try to put dinner in the middle of the table. I include at least one thing that everyone likes, and as soon as the complaints start, I remind the girls “you don’t have to eat it.” Yes, I still cater to them a lot more than I should, but I also feel a lot less pressure. This has made dinnertime so much easier.
My previous meal plans were really specific, and included grocery lists. It worked for us at the time, but now I need something much simpler. We don’t follow this meal plan from The Kitchn exactly, instead we came up with our own version. Every weekend, we discuss the week ahead, and decide as a family which meals we’d like to eat for each category. Our categories include: salad, pasta, “tacos”, rice bowls, paninis, and pizza. It feels good to have a plan again, and so far this one has been working well for us.
We still have a really long way to go in terms of picky eating, but I feel like I’m slowly regaining control of dinnertime… thank goodness!