The Power of the Menu
Creating a weekly menu for 6 people that everyone is going to eat (happily) can seem overwhelming. Especially if there are picky eaters or special diets to contend with.
For picky eaters, and children in general, it is helpful to create a menu that can be posted. This sends a different message to the household, and it also gives away some power, meaning that rather than think, “Why isn’t Mum home yet? I wonder what’s for supper?”, they can simply check out the menu and say, “Oh, I guess this is what we are having” and the argument just doesn’t happen. It also removes the “We never have anything good” from the equation, because everyone can see that we are having spaghetti on Wednesday and pizza on Friday (yes, there will be spinach salad with the spaghetti and Greek salad with the pizza).
When deciding what we are going to eat, I often start with “Meatless” Monday, Turkey on Tuesdays and then Fish on Fridays. I also make Saturday or Sunday a bigger meal, with a roast that will be used for another meal, or for lunches. Other ideas are to offer one day a week to the kids to plan. When it is my husband’s turn to cook, I usually plan for chicken breast or boneless pork chops on the BBQ with salad and potatoes (he decides how to cook them). The person assigned to making the salad, gets to decide what goes into the salad, as well as what dressing they are going to make. Unless it says Greek salad, of course, which is a favourite in our house, so there are never any arguments about what to put into it.
Yes, there is repetition, but that is okay. Everyone likes predictability, especially kids. If you have a few healthy meals that everyone likes, include most of them in your weekly menu. Maybe agree to try one new meal a week. Recently, we added No Weigh Jose Mexican Lasagne to our rotation and it is a huge hit. We also enjoy a baked veggie casserole (no pasta) and roasted vegetable pasta, that includes eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms, and I catch the kids stealing mushrooms off of each others plates.
I also include who is making salad for each day, who is setting the table and who is clearing and cleaning up. Yes, it takes some planning, but if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
One last thing, I always include dessert options on the menu. Typically it is fruit and yogurt, but I like to make sure there is something there. It is another way to make sure everyone is getting their 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables in the day. One of the faves in our house is a leftover protein pancake with warmed berries and Greek yogurt, or a Flax seed Energy bar, made with peanut butter and dates. When the weather is warm, I use leftover fruit and yogurt and make frozen yogurt popsicles, with chunks of fruit in them. Just a little something sweet to end the meal.
This week’s Supper Menu:
Sunday: Roast Chicken (2, one for supper and one for lunches); spinach salad with Balsamic Dijon dressing, baked Yam slices and raw veggies (sliced cukes and tomato; carrot and celery sticks – make enough for lunches and snacks during the week). For dessert: Strawberry-Rhubarb crumble with lemon yogurt drizzle
Monday: Vegetable soup and Cheesy Quinoa Bites. For dessert: warmed berries with leftover protein pancake and yogurt
Tuesday: Turkey Hamburger soup with leftover salad (by the way, any leftover yams from Sunday supper went into the soup). For dessert: fresh berries
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Green Salad. For dessert: Flaxseed energy bars.
Thursday: BBQ chicken pieces, green salad and Simple Quinoa. For dessert: fruit salad (made by the kids, with whatever fruit is left)
Saturday: My son’s class campout! So I guess it is Hot dogs and Hamburgers for supper (Any Moms attending this weekend, if you want Greek chicken wraps, email me, that is what I am bringing for me!)