Every night as I’m preparing dinner I feel I start to stress out. It’s like I’m mentally preparing to go to battle with my kids. It didn’t used to be that way. It seems the older my kids get the pickier they get. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around but I am noticing a trend here… The more years they have under their belt the more foods they refuse to put in their mouths. It gets pretty frustrating trying to make a meal that all 5 kids enjoy. My dear husband would eat anything and never complains about food. He is my hero at meal times sometimes.
We’ve tried several different tactics to win these battles. These all fail. I think maybe I could work with some of these tactics a little more if I didn’t have to worry about the fact that two of them are only here half time and I really don’t want to make these meal times unpleasant for them or us. We value our dinner time as our quality family time and I want everyone to really enjoy it.
- “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit approach” where they either eat it or don’t eat at all. I felt like a bad mom for “making my kid starve”
- “fine, you don’t like it, you can make something else yourself” (they could substitute a veggie for a veggie, fruit for fruit, etc). This turned dinner time into a 3-ring circus. Can you imagine 4 kids ranging 5-13 trying to fix themselves something different for dinner? Can you imagine the MESS that came with that? They definitely took advantage of this situation and it turned into them not liking anything I made, ever!
- “you get what you get and you better eat it. And I mean all of it.” That was torture for everyone. The whining and complaining made dinnertime miserable.
- “three bites of everything, that’s all you have to take then you can be done”. First of all, I wasn’t about to sit there and stare at each of my kids individually and count their bites. Who does that? Second of all, 30 minutes later everyone was hungry again. I JUST MADE DINNER!
- “you don’t have to eat all of your dinner, but you don’t get desert if you don’t eat it either” We are kind of still on this one. Along with the three bite rule. If they say they don’t like something I still make them try it. Three bites just to make sure 😉 Then if they still don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it, but they don’t get anything else for the rest of the night either. This kind of puts the ball back in their court and they like to feel in control. At the same time I know I got them to eat at least some of what I made. Now, I don’t watch and stare to make sure they are eating their three bites of everything but I do notice how much was on their plates and how much is left and I THINK I’m doing an ok job at determining if they really at three bites or at least tried their food.
Two would eat cheeseburgers every day, one could live off tacos, another one would eat chicken nuggets every day, and another would live off popcorn. I can’t feed my kids that junk all the time. I care about what goes into their body. They are aware about nutritious foods and why it is good for your body. But they are kids, so they really don’t care. They like what they like and want what they want. And damn it I want my kids to enjoy the food I spend (sometimes hours) cooking for them. And I want them to eat food that is benefiting their bodies and not giving them diabetes.
I KNOW I am not the only mom out there with this problem. I can’t break the bank on this and I want to make foods that are nutritious for them. Combining 1. budget friendly, 2. healthy food, and 3. foods ALL five kids will eat is pretty much an impossible task. But I have found some recipes that have been a hit lately. I can’t guarantee they will continue to like these foods, because one day they love something and the next it makes them gag. So, who knows. But for now, these work. I hope they work for your family as well! Feel free to post some of your tried and true recipes in the comment section. I will update the list as frequently as I find new foods they all like.
Vegetable Lover’s Chicken Soup (yes the kids actually liked this one, I was surprised as well)
Homemade Tomato Soup (Daniel Fast and Vegan Friendly)