When the kids help with meal planning

So, if you ask the kids to help you plan the family meals, you may picture yourself eating ice cream and chocolate for dinner, or hot dogs and chips for lunch, maybe even pancakes covered in chocolate chips and sugary cereal every breakfast.

Or you may be pleasantly surprised…

I was planning our meals the other day, when my oldest came up to me and suggested that maybe we try to have salad on Sundays.

“You know, like, it could be Salad Sunday!”

I said it was a great idea!

Then I started to question him more about other ways we could plan meals for each day of the week. So we started thinking about Mondays. He was kind of stumped for a while, so I suggested Meatless Monday. (I have been wanting to introduce more lentils, beans and chickpeas into their diets – but we will see how long this one lasts). He seemed on board to give it a try. He’s very adventurous with his palate.

For Tuesday, he immediately said Taco Tuesday. I expanded on it, suggesting we do a Mexican theme for Tuesdays, and he agreed but held firm to his label.

Our garbage day is Thursday, so we typically do leftover Wednesdays for dinner. It will generally force us to sort through the fridge and get creative with our leftovers.

Then we got to Thursday. I tried really hard not to make any more suggestions, after all, I was mostly curious to see what he would come up with for the rest of the week. He thought for a very long time and really wanted something that started with a ‘th’. He eventually called it “Thinking Thursday”. I asked him to elaborate…he said that it could be a fancier meal, or a meal that needs more prep work, basically that it’s a meal that needs more thinking behind it! Love it! Kids are great! I am thinking of using it for casseroles, crock pot meals, or new instant pot meals.

So then I asked about Friday and again he thought for a while. We collaboratively came up with Finger Food Friday (we often have pizza on Fridays, but decided that things like wings, perogies, chicken nuggets etc would also work).

So then we came to Saturday. COVID has been hard on kids and their ability to have play dates and I think he has been feeling especially deprived lately. With a big smile on his face, he said “I know…Social Saturday!” Great idea!! He said whether we have people over or we get together with someone it would all count!

So, there you have it. Our meal plan themes for the next while:

  • Meatless Mondays
  • Taco Tuesdays
  • Leftover Wednesday (we were thinking Wacky or Weird Wednesday)
  • Thinking Thursday
  • Finger Food Friday
  • Social Saturday
  • Salad Sunday (we were also recently talking about making it Soup and Salad Sunday)

I have always encouraged themes for assisting in planning. Like categories for sorting stuff. Grouping similar things together removes some of the choice and provides some structure. Sometimes it makes it easier to keep from being paralyzed by choice and freedom. Even adults can get overwhelmed by the idea of creating meals from their base ingredients.

How do you get your family involved in meal planning?

Thanks for coming home!

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