Because my boys are pretty selective eaters, and I am not about to cook two dinners in a single night, I try to have at least one element in each evening meal that I know the boys will be OK with. Often, it’s pasta. For instance, I’ll make a vegetable and chicken stir fry and serve it in a separate bowl from spaghetti. I encourage the kids to try what I’ve made, and increasingly A. does (and even likes it, sometimes). But even if they don’t eat the bulk of the meal, there is something on the table they’ll accept.
G. is still very self-limited in what he’ll eat, though I see glimmers of this improving (he has tried new types of noodles and chicken at a Japanese restaurant, for example, and tried cherry tomatoes out of our garden). He also makes other choices that show me he does think about what he’s eating and drinking. Like this morning, when he told me he decided he likes water more than juice, and I should just pack water for both snack and lunch from now on. Well, OK then. Happy to oblige.
In the past, serving a roll with dinner was enough to appease the kids if they didn’t want to eat anything else I’d cooked. But lately, it is upsetting G. to not have more than one thing on the table that he’s comfortable with. Last night, for instance, I served French rolls (pre-made, just bake from frozen) and Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup. I thought it was unlikely they’d eat the soup (though A. did try it when he saw J. enjoying it for dinner), but would be fine with the bread.
Although they did ultimately eat the rolls, G. was incredulous that I’d prepared rolls and ONLY soup. “And what else?” he kept asking. The poor kid was hungry and tired after a long day of kindergarten and a baseball class. I explained that I can’t make pasta every single night, but he was still worked up about it. I convinced him to make a list of dinners I can cook that he will eat, so that we could avoid another meltdown. This is the list of things he said he likes when I “cook” in the house: plain pasta, Annie’s mac and cheese, plain bagels with melted mozzarella cheese, homemade pizza, roasted chicken, Baked Ziti, and pancakes (when we have breakfast for dinner). He said my Chicken Soup is off the list, he doesn’t like it anymore.
With that discussion in mind, I felt compelled to make roasted chicken for dinner tonight. He ate it happily, plus a challah roll. But he didn’t touch the green beans (A. actually asks for them now) or the butternut squash.
Monday: Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup, French rolls
Tuesday: Roasted chicken, roasted butternut squash, steamed green beans, challah rolls
Wednesday: Leftover chicken, broccoli rabe sauteed in garlic and oil, egg noodles
Thursday: Out to dinner
Friday: Out to dinner
Saturday: Roasted Squash & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad, whole wheat rolls, garden salad
Sunday: Chana Masala, basmati rice, naan, green veg
For more menu planning ideas, check out Laura at Organizing Junkie, and Jenna, who sponsors Mindful Menus, a menu-planning meme that aims “to inspire health through real food” at Chive Talkin’.