The Joys of Meal Planning with Kids

I am currently experiencing two issues with my daughter that I’m sure many parents can relate to. #1: She HATES going grocery shopping with me. This is pretty annoying seeing as how she HAS to go grocery shopping with me, unless leaving a 4-year-old home alone is kosher nowadays? I didn’t think so. #2: She only eats about half of the dinners that I prepare. I know this is a universal parenting challenge…getting your kids to eat!

The other morning I was chatting with some moms at soccer. One of them mentioned that her 9-year-old daughter had planned their meals that week and that it had gone very well. A light bulb went off in my head. I just need to get Cate involved with the meal planning! I don’t know why this light bulb didn’t light up sooner…I mean, I do have a meal planning website, you think this would have crossed my mind at some point.

cate writing her shopping list web

Last week I gave my new plan a try. One morning I called Cate into the kitchen and asked her if she would help me plan our meals and our grocery shopping list. I had two pieces of paper and two pens ready to go so we could each jot things down. She was all over it! She came up with some great ideas for dinner and was super excited about her ‘list.’ We got dressed and headed to the store. She helped me pick out the food we needed and I kept her involved with the shopping.

cate at the store

The following is TRUE. I will swear on the Bible, the Koran and all seven Harry Potter books if you need me to. As we were driving home from the store, out of the blue Cate said, “That was so fun!” This is major. I don’t think the word ‘hate’ describes well enough Cate’s previous feelings about grocery shopping.  I considered Cate’s statement a huge victory!

And as for eating dinner…so far, Cate has eaten the meals that she helped plan. We’re still in the honeymoon phase, but I really believe that we are on to something here!

Of course, I’m always open to more ideas! Please share your own tips for involving your kids in meal planning and/or food preparation.

Jane Maynard, writer and founder of This Week for Dinner, is a wife, mother to two beautiful girls and freelance graphic designer.  Jane loves eating, which comes in handy for a food blog. Chocolate, cannoli, and H&H Bagels are her top foods of choice.

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