It can be a real hassle nowadays getting the kids involved with home-cooked meals, especially since very few of us out there are gourmet chefs with impeccable tastes. That coupled with the growing reliance on fast foods has given our youngest generation a taste for some of the least healthy meals.
So what can be done to pull them back into a lifestyle that will be good for them in the long-run? Well punishing them for not eating what is provided will not get you very far, you’ll have better luck with getting them proactive with meals before they hit the table.
One major idea to get everyone in on the meal plan is to have the week’s plan written out in an easily viewable space. We’d recommend a whiteboard or chalkboard somewhere around your kitchen/dining area. After each meal you can have everyone in the family vote if they’d eat that again or banish it from the meal queue. This way you encourage a voice and get an idea of what everyone wants to eat. Running like this for a while and introducing 2 or 3 new meals each week can produce a large enough menu to rotate through and then you better plan out the week with meals that everyone likes. You’ll also likely save a bit on groceries if you find the ingredients overlap while writing out your shopping list.Another way to encourage participation is to have them get their hands dirty in the kitchen (the degree of this will vary depending on their age, of course). Maybe making a batch of cookies on the weekend with your youngest is just a good enough start for them to get an idea of what goes into producing a meal, but if you have teens you can really encourage a good lesson by having them plan out a meal within budget and have them prepare it yourself (while you supervise… with a glass of your favorite beverage in hand). You’ll mostly be there to make sure the house doesn’t go up in flames and to give just enough encouragement to make sure dinner gets cooked. But having your kids get involved in the meal process in any way will help them voice their opinions of what does and does not work and to grow a better appreciation for what you do more often than not.