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QUICK TIPS TO MINIMIZE MEAL TIME MADNESS

2015 CHK Mealtime Madness

I wasn’t a good eater, growing up. I could happily starve for days at a time if I didn’t like the way a meal looked, or smelled. For breakfast, I wouldn’t eat anything but ice cream with milk poured in it — my pediatrician assured my mother that at least I was getting my RDA of calcium each morning — and I didn’t eat a single school cafeteria meal for my entire K-12 education.

Well. You know that thing about what goes around, comes around?

About chickens coming home to roost?

MULTIPLY THAT BY FOUR CHICKENS.

Four picky-ass chickens who all happen to be picky about different things.

One kid won’t eat anything with tomato sauce but loves sushi. Another won’t eat any meat or poultry showing grill marks but hand her a hot pepper and she’s good to go. Ever heard of a kid who hates cream cheese AND pizza? I’ve got one at my house. His brother only eats bread products and peanut butter (at least he’s getting his RDA of plant-based protein). He believes poptarts are a fruit and honestly if the government thinks ketchup is a vegetable, who am I to tell my kid he’s wrong?

DID I MENTION NOT A SINGLE ONE OF MY KIDS WILL EAT BOXED MAC & CHEESE?

Recently, we decided we were going nuts keeping all of this straight / all of them happy.

So we came up with some workarounds to keep all of us from (further) losing our minds.

1. WE TAKE BREAKFAST ORDERS THE NIGHT BEFORE.

This was actually Mr Big Idea’s idea. He got tired of hassling the kids for breakfast orders at 630 am – and by hassling, I mean, him nagging them and them screaming “I don’t knoooooooow yet I’m so tiiiiiiiiiiired why did you wake me up I’m sooooo tiiiiiiiired.”

Fun stuff.

So then he tried letting each kid take turns picking a single breakfast for themselves and all the other kids, who could like it or lump it.

For the most part, they all lumped it. At top volume.

So we decided to take the time pressure and the peer pressure out of the equation.

Now we take orders at bedtime, and I write them on the wipeboard in our command center, just under the dinner plans.

2015 CHK Mealtime Madness breakfast orders

Each kid can pick whatever they want within reason – usually it’s some combination of bagel and cream cheese, eggs, or cereal.

Now, while he’s waking the kids each morning, I run the short order kitchen, and all four breakfasts are on the table when the kids get there. They can eat or not eat, but there’s no more whining or nagging at the breakfast table.

Bravo, Dad!

2. LUNCHTIME IS SANDWICHES. PERIOD.

I am happy to make any variety of sandwiches. If it’s in the house, I will smack it between two slices of bread or bagel or English muffin, no problem. Everyone gets the same fruit and salty thing on the side and I don’t want to hear another word about it.

Done.

3. FAMILY DINNER MEANS YOU EAT WHAT MOM AND DAD EAT.

Or you eat peanut butter.

No, seriously. My way, the highway, or Skipp-ay.

Family dinner is a big deal for me. I grew up with family dinner, and Mr Big Ideas and I naturally fell into the rhythm of eating as a family when we had kids. We eat early, 6-ish, and we eat real food, generally home cooked.

I cook what I like, gleaning recipes off the internet and organizing them on my favorite meal planning site, PlanToEat . (I love this site. Truly. Check it out .)

Yes, I try to choose recipes I think the kids will like, but I know I can’t satisfy everybody all the time, so when I put dinner on the table, I also set out a jar of peanut butter and a pile of spoons.

Again: no nag. No fuss.

Promise.

As long as you sit at my table with your napkin in your lap and you use your fork instead of your fingers, and seriously how is it possible to get HAMBURGER IN YOUR HAIR, HOW IS THAT HUMANLY POSSIBLE?

Okay, so maybe there’s still some nagging and some fussing.

But I’m pretty sure when they gave me this Mom gig that was sold as a pretty big part of the job.

 

* Full disclosure: this is  not a sponsored post, but it does contain affiliate links. Those links help support the operation of this blog. 

 







I'm Just Looking for Some Grown-Ups to Talk To ...

Categories: Stay Sane and Tips / Tools / Tricks.

Sarah Kate Levy

Once upon a time I wanted to be a novelist in NY. FOUR KIDS LATER I'm a
screenwriter in LA who blogs about parenting, partnering, and the decline of civilization / my home.

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Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

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