Everyone will have a different opinion on this but I recently read an article by Justine Lebrun on the I Quit Sugar website which you can find here.
Whilst I agree with many of the points raised, & like that she is a Mum so has experienced it first hand, every family situation is different.
For the last 2 1/2 years, the Father of my little people lived away from home 5 nights a week. Last year I was working 4 days a week, pregnant, managing a pretty big renovation & part of the time living with my parents. Not to mention having a newborn.
This year he is back in town, leaving home at 430am every morning & returning home somewhere between 6-7pm. With a crazy 7 year old, an even crazier 5 year old & a 3 month old who is still “witching” at dinner time, meals aren’t always the peaceful event you hope for. As a matter of fact, my 7 year old asked me tonight “why is it so quiet?” with the witching baby being jiggled in the Baby Bjorn while I attempted to cut / boil / cook dinner. It’s harder than you think.
Nevertheless, our method with me generally as a “single mum” with 3 kids is: the boys sit up on bar stools & eat their dinner. I generally pick at the vegetables I’ve presented them (that I know they won’t eat), modelling how much I loooooove cauliflower. At the same time I can stack the dishwasher, talk to the kids & keep moving so the baby doesn’t wake. We are a “no screen” household from Sunday evening til Friday afternoon every week, however this year my son in year 2 is going to have to make PowerPoint Presentations so some screen time will have to happen (nooooo!). Both boys also have some online Maths homework.
During the week, they are exhausted from school & I find that if I’m going to try a new meal, Saturday, Sunday or Monday is best. Tuesday-Thursday they are too tired to want to try new things. I’m guessing many families are similar.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – there aren’t too many adults who only eat crumbed fish & spaghetti bolognaise. If you’re going to crumb it, use a healthy crumb – my go to is either straight quinoa flakes; or a combination or quinoa flakes, sesame seeds, chia seeds & almond meal – depending on what we have in the pantry.
Make it fun & colourful. Cut the veggies in a different shape – try sweet potato in wedges one night & discs another; make carrot sticks into match sticks one night & noodles another. Cut long thin pieces of cucumber, or thin discs. Use a spiraliser. Make it different every night. Don’t make a fuss over what isn’t eaten.
Most importantly, be realistic with your expectations – I haven’t eaten meat in nearly 20 years but my sons like meat (currently). I don’t like pasta, they love it. I could eat salad & veggies all day, every day, whereas they feel slightly different! I do sneak veggies into their bolognaise (usually grated cauliflower & zucchini) but that’s more of a nutrient than a taste issue for me.
We agree as a family that sweet potato is the best veggie ever & that frozen bananas make the best smoothies. We all love my crumbed fish & cucumbers.
We all love whole fruit.
My 7 year old & I share a mayonnaise addiction whereas the others don’t see the fuss. It’s the same throughout life- we all know someone who hates coriander right? How about anchovies? I love both but there was a time where neither were on the Menu for me.