Get Your Child Involved in Meal Planning

Dinner time can be pretty stressful if you don’t have a plan and even more so if your children are picky eaters. Tired of half eaten meals and having to make something different for everyone at the table? We don’t blame you. Why not try meal planning and get everyone involved. By getting everyone excited about deciding what is for dinner you can create some investment into the process and hopefully more meals will be enjoyed in peace instead of the same old, “just one more bite, please?”

First things first: set a date of the week to sit the whole family down to meal plan. Everyone should provide one or two dinner ideas for the week. Then, grab the weekly flyers and see what is on sale. Children can look through the flyers too and help you figure out the deals. Don’t forget to clip coupons to help you save even more money.

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After you’ve collected meal ideas, determined the deals and gathered money-saving coupons, figure out which meals can be doubled or tripled for freezing later. Ask children to draw out a calendar to write the meal plan on. You could use a ready-made calendar, but the point is to get children more involved and invested in the meal planning process.

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Plan your trip to the grocer and bring the kids along. Stick to your meal plan but to make it fun for the kids, allow each child to pick something they really want during the trip: it can be a treat or a side dish for a meal already planned. Be prepared for the treat, though! Children get bored really quickly so keep them moving by sending them throughout the grocery store to fetch items from your list.

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When you return from your shopping trip, get the kids to put the groceries away. If there is any food to cut or prepare, get them to help with that too. Younger kids can’t use knives, but they can gather dishes and bowls for waste and storage. They can also help with washing dishes after prep time is over.

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Our best advice for getting your kids involved in meal planning? Do it all in one day. Stick to your plan and encourage your children to think outside the dinner time box: how about breakfast for dinner? Leftovers for lunch and pizza on Fridays.

The more planning you do, the better you’ll be at it, and the less time you’ll spend making more dinners for kids who won’t eat the food you prepared. Make weeknight dinners easier for yourself and your family by doubling a recipe one night and having left overs the next night. Schedule in some take out for a treat and a break once a week and you’ll be covered for three nights each week.  That only leaves a few nights each week that you need to plan for:

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