Just like that, three weeks are over in the dinner challenge! In the first week we talked about turning off our phones at the table. In the second week we discussed a great dinner game to increase creativity at your table. Today though, I want to discuss something much, much more serious. Something that feels impossible sometimes, something dire and stressful. What is it?
Trying to get your kids to eat.
What we learned: Your bite is your vote.
I have a seven year old and a five year old. Occasionally, like every other kid on the planet, they will turn their nose up at a meal we’ve made for them. We’ll put four plates on the table and, forgetting their manners, they will immediately say, “I don’t like that.”
Sometimes, this catches us off guard. Out of nowhere, after years of eating hot dogs they will decide, “You know what? I am retiring from hot dogs. From here on out, I hate hot dogs.” Those moments baffle me, when they drop an old favorite, but fortunately that does not happen that often. A few months ago though we went through an entire season of “I don’t like new stuff.”
Every time we tried something new, the kids would pull back from the table as if we had plated scorpions and a salad of pit vipers. My wife and I discussed this problem and came up with a simple rule. Here it is:
“You can’t hate what you’ve never tried.”
At our house, you can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it before. You can’t automatically tell us that you don’t enjoy a dish that you’ve never had before in your entire life. You have to try it. That’s your ticket to an opinion.
Put another way, your bite is your vote. We get that concept in politics. We say, “If you’re not going to vote, don’t complain.” If you’re not going to fight against the system and use your vote for the things that really matter to you, don’t complain. It’s the same at our house. Until our kids have at least tried something new, they really don’t have an opinion on it. They’re just being five and seven year olds who would prefer to eat chicken fingers for 97% of their meals. And it’s our job as parents to push beyond that. To encourage them to try new things, eat new recipes and never, ever tell mom, “I’m not eating that.”
Our favorite E-Mealz meal of the week.
We’re doing the Publix Meal Plan right now. Our plan makes enough food for 4-6 adults, which means we have a ton of leftovers. Our favorite meal was the turkey feta burgers with sautéed zucchini. Those burgers were magical.
Our dinner record for the week.
We went 5 for 7 this week. On Tuesday night I was in Atlanta speaking to college students at a church. On Friday night I was in Oklahoma City getting ready for the Dave Ramsey Live event there.
How about you?
How many nights this week did you eat dinner with your family? Did you beat me?
What was your favorite E-Mealz meal?
Do you have any family dinner table rules?