I am faced with many challenges as the meal planner for a family of eight. Taking every one’s preferences – their likes and dislikes – in to account is quite the task, especially when I can sometimes be faced with eight different requests.
Breakfast and lunch are pretty relaxed in our house. I will usually let the kiddos choose between two or three different meals. Sometimes I only make one, and other times I will make all two or three, depending on my mood, but I always look for healthy options that will give them energy to get through the day.
Now, dinner is a completely different story. Daddy is home for dinner, so we all eat together, and we all eat the same meal. From the time they were eating table food, I have never made something different for my kiddos, or allowed for them to pick and choose. In fact, my kiddos know that they are to eat every thing on their plates at dinner time, even if it something they do not particularly love.
I am, however, pretty sensitive to what everyone likes. If there is something that most of my kiddos don’t care for, I won’t include it in our meal. For instance, Ray doesn’t like tomatoes, so you will rarely find them on our table. The kiddos and I don’t like onions, so they are most often left out of many recipes. I have learned to tweek recipes just enough to make them palatable for most every one in my family, but it can be quite difficult, and it does require some thought.
There are a few meals that every one in our family LOVES. My homemade macaroni and cheese and lasagna are big hits. Another favorite are my tacos. I grew up preparing and enjoying these meals, and are favorites of mine still.
Planning meals just right – meals the whole family enjoys – takes a whole lot of planning and coordinating; something at which I am not naturally good. I’m getting better and I hope that the kiddos learn to appreciate my ability to cater, inconspicuously, to every one’s tastes!
How do you make sure every one is happy at meal time?