Usually when my kids are bored, they also claim to be “hungry” and that there’s “nothing to eat.” This happens….a lot. My standard answer to all claims of boredom is suggesting that they weed the eyesore garden in the front or eat an apple, so I’ve heard a lot of fervent whispering after someone mentions the “b” word. Turns out that my suggestions aren’t popular. Shocking.
This past week, my oldest M asked me out of the blue if he could bake something with the twins without my “help” (read: “interference”). You could have knocked me over with a feather. I told him that the conditions were: 1) I needed to watch him put it in and take it out of the oven; 2) we had to have all the ingredients here (no going out to the store); and 3) they had to clean the kitchen up afterwards.
They plunged right in. Since we’ve stored all those cookies away in the freezer, we’ve been pretty much dessert-less, except for strawberries (and oh my word, haven’t the strawberries been particularly delicious this year?). The kids were hungry for something chocolatey. They spent a lot of time looking at cookbooks, checking the fridge and pantry for available supplies, and discussing the relative merits of cupcakes v. muffins v. brownies v. cake.
In the end, Brownie Pudding Cake from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was the winner. Delicious.
With such interest in all things culinary, I figured it’s time to involve the kids more in meal planning. They have always made their own lunches during the summer and sometimes during the school year — but that’s lunch. For dinners, I normally ask everyone if there’s any meal that that they would like to eat during the week right before I head to the grocery store. The answers are standard: pizza, “brinner” (aka, breakfast for dinner), and “I don’t know.”
After their success of baking the cake, I told the kids that it’s time to look through the non-dessert recipes to find main course meals that they can prepare. My plan is for them to plan one dinner menu with a main course and healthy side dishes per week. They’ve really gotten into it.
This week at our Chez Kid, we’ll be eating:
- chicken quesadillas (with leftover chicken grilled by S over the weekend) with salsa
- freshly made guacamole (I’m going to show them that one– love that guac!)
- cut-up bell peppers, carrots and celery.
I’m hoping that, by letting them invest some time this summer in cooking and menu planning, they will expand their palates (something besides chicken nuggets, please!) and knowledge of creating healthy meals. We’ll see if it works. If nothing else, it’ll help alleviate the “I’m bored” and “I’m hungry” complaints this summer!
How do you involve your kids in meal planning?