A few months ago it became very clear that our kids have reached a picky eater stage. Especially our 8 year old. Although I am preparing myself for the same to happen with our 6 year old a few years from now.
Short of causing an identity crisis, this new development rather baffled me. Here I was, the mother who had been somewhat proud (some may even dare call it slightly smug) about the fact that her kids always were the ones who ate or at least tried everything that they were served. Not so much any more. At least not within the walls of our home.
When the kids walk in the door from school, both love to express the intensity of their hunger in the most fanciful and exaggerated adjectives. On a daily basis we are exposed to such terms as ravenous, famished and starving. All quite hopeful for the one who is cooking the evening meal.
So when ringing our rather pavlovian little bell to announce dinnertime, we always had great expectations of gratitude and empty plates. Let’s just say that it only took a few turned up noses and extremely vocal complaints for us to realise that this family needed to revise its meal planning.
This is when the four of us sat down together and agreed to develop a meal rhythm. We quickly landed on the following rhythmic approach to dinnertime:
Monday – Potato dish
Tuesday – Homemade pizza
Wednesday – Egg dish
Thursday – Smorgasbord
Friday – Quesadillas
Saturday – Steak and chips
Sunday – Anything goes
You may think that apart from Sundays, we are eating exactly the same thing every day of the week, but you would be surprised to find out how much you can do with a humble potato! The meals also remain varied because of the unpredictable content of our weekly organic fruit and veg delivery, which allows us to continue to expose the kids to different types of food. Pizza provides a platform for an endless array of toppings, for example.
The kids know what to expect. Even if this means a couple of fried eggs on a black bean and salsa burrito for their Wednesday meal. They still may not like it, but they are much more likely to give it a go. And for us, the makers of the meal, this new arrangement has also brought a totally new dimension to the week. No more running out of ideas yet still an opportunity to be creative where we see fit. The main rhythm is set, the only thing left to do is to adapt the melody to the mood of the moment.
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