Meals Should be Enjoyed By All

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on October 13, 2008

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?


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica October 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I do it in much the same way as you. The kids often have choices for breakfast and lunch but for dinner we all eat the same meal. And we always eat together. There are very few foods that they absolutely refuse and when they do, it’s usually because it’s pretty bad and I don’t like it either.

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A Cowboy's Wife October 13, 2008 at 3:04 pm

This will probably sound mean but if I make it, they have to eat it. I’m not one of those moms that caters to the kids likings and dislikings. There are plenty of starving kids that would eat the food and my kids are made aware of that daily.

So in other words, they have learned that they can either eat what I fix, or they can go hungry.

Yep, call me Mommie Dearest:)

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Naomi October 13, 2008 at 6:56 pm

I’m getting to the point where I realize I have to mandate what the kids eat or I will be making separate meals forever. That would be miserable! Roo tries to lobby for her faves (chicken strips all the time!) but I am trying not to give in.

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Mommyhood is Thankless October 14, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Breakfast and Lunch is whatever they want within reason, dinner is always what I fix and will ALWAYS be that way. Simply because it is too much work to fix several different meals, and if you let them get their choice just once they will exploit it as often as possible. Not to say that they don’t get a say in what is for dinner. They get to choose on the weekends, they take turns every week picking meals. I have seen where someone has tried to cater to a picky eater and they just got more picky!

They liked one thing one day and then hated it the next day only to LOVE it again the day after that. Picking and choosing their likes and dislikes to suit what they wanted for dinner that night. NOT going to happen here, thats for sure!

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Mommyhood is Thankless October 14, 2008 at 3:35 pm

I forgot to add that I have read and found to be true in my experience that it takes kids up to 10 times of trying something to really know if they like it or not. They might not like spinach the first 5th or even 8th time but by the 10th time they may love it! So keep trying those “I don’t like this” foods

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Stephanie October 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Dinner is whatever I make, for all the good it does me with my son! He is one stubborn kid about dinner. Won’t eat it most nights even though I can serve the same thing at lunch and he’ll enjoy it.

Cutting all afternoon snacks doesn’t fix the problem, either. It’s just how he is.

Some favorites he’s more likely to eat, such as pasta with either spaghetti or Alfredo sauce. But since I am not about to do that every night, many nights my son does nothing more than nibble a few vegetables.

At least he loves those!

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