Meal planning that brings the family together and saves dinner-time!
Kitchens are meant to bring families together, and I don’t know about you, but most of the time I feel like I’m slaving away to make dinner for the fam, only to have most of it tossed in the bin. I don’t care how in tune you are with your inner goddess – but that sends me into the danger zone faster than wet towels on the floor.
Life is crazy enough already, and not having a game plan for feeding our little monsters can leave us feeling overwhelmed and frantically searching the pantry for some semblance of a meal they will eat.
So not long ago, after contemplating which would be easier – tying them to a chair until they ate everything off their plates, or creating a chalkboard menu for the week – I decided that a chalkboard menu would be quieter and more efficient for my sanity. Side note, my kiddos have actually learned to cook in the process, which at 10 & 12 is AMAZING!
Thinking back, my fam probably thought I’d lost my mind as I walked into the kitchen, without a word and started painting the pantry door black. It was hilarious to me how no one entered the kitchen for a solid two hours as I painted, waited for the first coat to dry, then applied the second coat.
In my house, it’s unheard of for the kitchen to be empty. There is always someone rummaging through for a snack. But I think they were afraid to catch my eye line, especially since I hadn’t divulged my new plan.
Once the paint was set and dry, I wrote one simple word at the very top of the pantry door with an underline: Menu.
I called everyone to the kitchen table. You would have thought they were being interrogated. As much as I enjoyed the confusion on their faces, I let them off the hook – explaining that from now on, we would use the chalkboard menu each week to plan our Monday through Friday dinner meals.
Of course, I was met with the, “but what if I don’t want spaghetti,” “what if I don’t know what a casserole is,” and the best one, “but I don’t like what you make.” To which I replied, “that’s why we are sitting at the table – because you are going to help make the menu.”
And with that, the kitchen was now starting to bring our family together, where once it was the cause of frustration, stress and anxiety.
Our little tribe decided that Monday would be mac n’ cheese with broccoli night – obvious kid choice. Tuesday is a no brainer, tacos of course. Wednesday is Curry night – the hubs is British. Thursday is fish and veggies, and Friday is steak and potatoes night.
Everyone had a day where their favorite food was made. I discovered that having this written on the pantry door gave our fam a plan – we knew what to expect, and frantic searching and hangry moments from the littles came to an end, leaving more time for sipping wine and relaxing. The kiddos learned how to make their favorite foods and cook on their meal days – Momma is winning!
The best part is that the littles were more appreciative and started eating full meals. Now, there are many ways to decorate and paint your chalkboard menu. Be creative, have fun and get the fam involved. As a mom, it’s hard to give up a little control, but I found that letting go of a just a little gave me much more in return.