Dinner Time Debates: How to Take the Stress out of Supper

child-food

People often ask what it is like to feed half dozen kids. Feeding families can be a “thing” and many parents report that dinner time can be the most stressful time of the day. I decided early on that I didn’t want meal time to create anxiety for me or my kids, so here are my few tips for relaxing and enjoying fun family meals.

–          I don’t let myself get upset if the kids turn their noses up at what is being served for dinner. There’s enough variety that they’re going to like something on the menu.  As long as they try one bite of what is being served up, they are welcome to fill their bellies with the raw carrots on the table. No one has starved yet.

–          We keep meals simple and kid friendly. The Daddy-o works out of town during the week and I’m not a foodie, so this adult is happy to make easy dinner recipes and eat with the kiddos.

–          For me, the only thing more annoying than cooking is coming up with fast recipes and meal ideas.  I have a four week meal planner posted in the kitchen for everyone to see. It makes for effective shopping, creates less wasted food and saves me from hearing, “what’s for dinner?” six times a day.

Here is an example of my September meal plan filled with quick recipes. I use one of our quick dinner ideas on Wednesdays because the kids have hot lunches at school that day. I also try to have something they all like on a Monday, because let’s face it – Mondays can be tough. On the last Friday of the month, we order in. The menu is based on different children’s preferences and the evening activity schedule. Some meals are faster to prepare and clean up. Those are meals we have on nights where we have to be at music, dance, hockey and taekwondo right after dinner.

Monday                       Tuesday                       Wednesday                  Thursday                                 Friday

Week 1   Fish and Chips/raw veg    Chicken drumsticks/      Breakfast for dinner     Spaghetti & meatballs    Homemade pizza                                                                mashed potato/corn       eggs/bacon

Week 2  Salmon/ noodles/veg        Chicken breast/ mashed   Homemade soup         Pasta: pesto                Chicken &  Salad
potato/corn

Week 3 Tacos                                Butter chicken/rice          Salad wraps                 chicken schnitzel/          Hot dogs/Hamburgers
roast potatoes/tomato

Week 4 Cheesy pasta                   Ribs/noodles/corn on cob   Crepes/omelets           Bangers and mash/peas    ORDER IN
Substitutes: curried sausage, chili, perogies, Swedish meatballs and rice, lasagna.

How does your family survive the dinner hour? Do you have any quick and easy dinner ideas or meal planner tips that make this time of day less stressful in your house?

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