How family meal kits can solve your dinnertime woes and other helpful tips
Reduce your stress and gently extend the culinary horizons of your family
Children are notoriously fickle when it comes to food. This begins the moment a child receives its first spoonful. A baby has no qualms about employing the full-range of their facial muscles to make their preferences understood, which often involves blowing raspberries with a mouthful of pulverised carrot the parent has painstakingly prepared.
Toddlers, however, are perhaps the most extreme in their predilections. One minute, they have a fastidious loyalty to a particular food, but the next time you plate it up, it’s as if you’ve offered them regurgitated slugs. Plates are thrown, bodies writhe, ears split. Meanwhile, they’re quite happy to lick the bottom of their own shoe.
Older kids whinge and whine, and teens prod a pout. So what is a parent to do when they have limited time to prepare a healthy and delicious meal that will please their tyrannical offspring? It’s a question that has persisted and plagued guardians throughout the ages. There is no one-size-fits all approach, but there are some solutions that might take the sting out of toiling in the kitchen only to be met with folded arms and furrowed brows.
Tip one: go incognito
Children have an unnerving ability to detect vegetables. This talent is equal parts fascinating and frustrating. But it is possible to outsmart them or, at least, perform a slight of hand by distracting them with delicious flavour while slipping in the odd green.
Our favourite meals that act as a mule for vegetables are:
spaghetti Bolognese (sneak in grated carrot); enchiladas (add incognito zucchini); fish and chips (no, they’re chips, not sweet potatoes); and fried rice (somehow kids have a blind spot for veggies in this dish). You can also try with flavour-packed stir-fries, where vegetables fly under-the-radar, and pizza, especially if you get the kids involved in selecting their own toppings.
Try these on for size:
- Creamy Tomato Soup with Cheese and Garlic Croutons
- Simple Spaghetti Bolognese
- Cheeseburgers with Oven-Baked Chips
Tip two: get strategic
As a parent, daily life is a battleground littered with abandoned arguments. Obviously, ensuring your child enjoys a balanced and nutritious diet is a battle worth suiting up for, but it needn’t deplete your lifeforce.
If you have one or more fussy customers at the table, there are endless strategies out there to cherry pick. Countless books are written on the subject, mummy bloggers espouse solutions all over the internet, and anyone who’s so much as met a child will offer their unsolicited advice on the matter.
Choose what works for you and yours, be it a three-bite rule (where they can abort ship after taking three bites) or a ‘no thank you bowl’ (where kids sideline the parts of the meal they prefer not to engage with), but minimise protests by serving meals that have at least one or two components you know they’ll eat. This is easier than it sounds, particularly if you choose a family meal kit, where you can select recipes that cover all bases and please not only pint-size critics but excite adult palates, too. Oh, yes you’re quite right – that does sound just like QuiteLike.
Try these on for size:
Tip three: make your life easier
Aside from the actual cooking, a pain point for parents is conjuring meal ideas from thin air. You’re taking a risk anytime you present something not tried and tested, but of course, one can’t cook the same three things on rotation endlessly.
Firstly, you might actually die of boredom, but secondly, as parents, we’re eager to share our love for food with our children and are hopeful they’ll develop their palate for a range of flavours. Eating diverse foods is not only healthy for growing bodies, but it sets them up for a healthy relationship with food as they move through life.
One way to reduce your stress and gently extend their culinary horizons:
Opt in for a family friendly meal kit (yes, again, just like QuiteLike! We don’t mean to boast, but we are the best family meal kit). This way, you’re saving yourself time and energy by not having to come up with dinner ideas or do the shopping, leaving you with a little leftover patience to convince your fussy eater to give something a go. Each week, we have a range of recipes that are created with kids in mind. Some are classics, some are familiar meals with approachable twists, and others are a bit more adventurous. They all share two commonalties, though – they are utterly delicious and they are simple to make.