The Solution to “There’s Nothing to Eat” {Mute the Whine}

There’s Nothing to Eat

Spring Break is knocking at our door. Summer Break is just around the corner, and don’t get me started on weekends. Breaks mean more meals to be served at home, and if food isn’t already packed in a lunchbox, my kids find it impossible to figure out what they want to eat. In my house, dinner is often served á la carte on weeknights, with regular family-style meals reserved for the weekend. The problem is, when given a choice, some kind of paralyzing mental block takes over their brains. Nothing seems appetizing. Suggestions go unanswered or are met with looks of disgust. I get so irritated at the prospect of offering food only to get it shot down in a firey blaze. I needed a solution and I needed it fast.

Choose Three

We went to a restaurant last week and it had a pretty simple, but colorful kids menu. On the top was the “main course” which offered mac & cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc. In the center were options for vegetables, fruit or yogurt. On the bottom were drink and desert options. Everyone chose their foods quickly and their selections were eaten without fuss. I thought to myself, “why can’t it be this easy at home?”

***insert light bulb moment here***

The Menu

I decided to come up with a menu of items we pretty much always had on hand at home and items I knew they all liked. I used a similar idea to the restaurant menu but broke my “menu” into four sections. I color coded each section and inserted photos of each item.

  1. Grains: cereal, popcorn, crackers, pasta, bread and bagels fall into this category
  2. Protein: yogurt, milk, PediSure, cheese, meat & veggie meat, eggs, sunflower seeds, nuts and nut spreads
  3. Fruit/Veggie: carrot sticks, strawberries, bananas, berries, applesauce and juices. My older two don’t really like many vegetables; something to work on …
  4. Extras & Desert: bars and veggie straws or anything in your house that count’s as lagniappe goes here. Also, your treat foods like gummies, Oreo’s and ice cream or popsicles fall into this category. This group is the only one I understand the hesitation in choice. I mean, how DO you pick just one??

Easy Meals

Now, these á la carte type-meals have become easy. They choose their three + lagniappe. We can sit down together and eat and talk and bond without stress or tension. Sometimes they choose popcorn, Gogurt, applesauce and a Nutrigrain bar for dinner; other times it’s a Nutella sandwich, a banana and veggie straws, but hey – at least they are eating, making healthy-enough selections and best of all, everyone is happy.

Click HERE for a free downloadable PDF of my sample menu.

What foods would be on your “menu?” Share with us in the comments!

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