“What do you mean they have to eat everyday?”. This is my feeling when it comes to preparing dinner, night after night. I’m lucky that my husband will get excited over a peanut butter sandwich, and that my baby will still eat anything mushed up, but for those moms looking for more creative dinner ideas for their kids, it can get a lot trickier. Just the other day, a colleague arrived at work in tears – her nine-year-old had told her the night before that her suppers were “the most boring meals he had ever eaten”. Ouch.
The general consensus when chatting to moms with older kids is that the best way to make a meal time fun is to get the children involved. The more they participate in the creation of a meal, the more they’ll enjoy eating it. So, with that in mind, I tracked down some easy ways to get creative with meal times:
- Make your own… burgers, wraps, pizzas or pitas – you name it. Get the kids to help chop the veggies, grate the cheese and portion everything into dishes. A great space saving tip is to pile the fillings into a clean muffin tray. Your children are more likely to eat fresh greens when they make up part of a tasty cheeseburger. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said of your husband…
- Explore new recipes together. Sit with the family once a week and browse magazines, Pinterest or websites for fun food ideas. If your child chooses a dish, they will definitely be excited to help make it and eat it, too.
- Get your kids involved in the grocery shop. Teach them about where the food comes from, how it’s prepared and how it can all be put together.
- Play with your food! Broccoli stalks can become dinosaur trees, carrots can form the mouth of a clown face and spaghetti can be called crazy hair. Let your imagination run wild, and don’t be scared to have some fun.
- Make meals time family time. In this day and age, it’s really hard to pull everyone away from the box and get a proper family meal going – but try push for at least one or two days a week when you all sit at the table and chat about your day. It’s amazing what you can learn about your child’s life when they aren’t distracted by CBeebies.
I’m heading in to the realm of ‘toddler mom’ soon, and would like to hear more of your creative dinner ideas. Leave me a comment below if you’ve got any tips.
By Kate Kearney