How Many Dinners Do You Have To Make Each Night?

Clients often ask, "How many meals do you prepare every night for dinner each night? Last night, I had to prepare 4. One for my 3-year-old, one for my 7 year old, one for my husband, and finally my own dinner." They are shocked when I answer, "One."

Simplest term, I am not a short order cook. I made it very clear to my family, I only make one meal for dinner. Period. Having 3 kids can be difficult but I have developed a system that works for our family. Every Saturday when I am putting together the grocery list and planning out what meals we will eat that week, I ask each member of the family if there is any meal they would like to eat. I view it as sort of marriage vows...speak now or until next week Saturday, hold your peace. My 8 year old usually suggest tacos ranging from beef to pork to buffalo to chicken. My 5 year old insists on his favorite meal, egg crust pizza. My 3 year old may suggest shrimp wrapped bacon or mashed cauliflower potatoes (she doesn't know they are made from cauliflower, not potatoes. My wife will may suggest a different kind of meat or vegetable she had not had in a while. That being said, 4 days of the week are already accounted for. I will then fill in the days with meals that provide a variety of food to ensure our family doesn't develop a food intolerance or even get bored eating chicken again for the 3rd time this week!

After their suggestions, I will determine the days we will eat this meals based on our activity levels. If one of our kids has a practice or a game, we will have an easy/quick meal I can prepare like egg crust pizza or a crock pot meal. If we have more time than normal, I may bake a whole chicken or turkey.

What I do when my kids fuss over dinner

In the past I had to deal with this problem, as well. When the meal was served, one of my kids fussed that they do not want to eat that particular meal that night. I reminded them, that yesterday we ate their meal. Tonight is their sibling's meal of choice. I also reminded them that there is no other meal that is prepared that night. There are no other food choices. No other food can be consumed unless the dinner that has been prepared, has been finished. This includes fruit and any form of treat or dessert.

The first time you enforce, there is a little fussing but goes away once the other kids finish their dinner and have a bowl of fresh berries or an apple. Its amazing how food that was awful becomes tolerable when the child is motivated to eat something else.

What are you to do?

Make only one meal for dinner. You are not a short order cook. However instead of you coming up with every meal, ask your family for suggestions. With those suggestions, you can leverage it against them reminding them that yesterday was your night, and tonight is your siblings night for meal choice. Instead of making 4 quick meals that are edible, make 1 delicious and nutritious meal that everyone will enjoy.