10 Ways to Stop Making Multiple Meals for your Family at Dinner (Short Order Cooking)

     1. Limit snacks right before dinner. If they are hungry (not starving) they'll be eager to eat.  Kids who snack all day tend to eat poorly during mealtimes because they aren't hungry.

     2. Include foods in the meal that your kids like. One or two familiar and beloved ingredients always helps.

      3. Have them help you prep and cook a portion of the meal. Kids are more interested in food they've had a hand in making.

      4. Get your little kitchen helpers to help you meal plan. Look through cook books together!  Give them a couple of options and see if something catches their eye.

Cooking together makes even the most foreign ingredients seem approachable to a child.

      5. Talk about the transition with your kids in advance. "We're all going to eat the same thing. You get to eat what we eat, yay!"

      6. Create a positive, stress free, environment; eating is fun, not something to be forced or dreaded. Keep the mood light. Focus on being present with your kids and upbeat even through their initial resistance.

      7. Have realistic expectations, this transition may take a while. That's ok! Sometimes as parents we get super excited for change and unrealistically expect for things to work out right away. This only sets us up for frustration and irritability. Mentally prepare.

      8.  It's harder for us than it is for them. Accept that making one meal is easier for you and that your kids WILL eventually eat it.  Often we feel guilty if we don't make something our kids will automatically gobble up, it's our job as parents to offer a healthy variety of food and give our kids a safe place to acquire the taste.

      9.  If your kid is begging you for junk food or treats during mealtimes or after and it's becoming a problem, stop buying them.  Save them as treats that are specifically purchased to be eaten that day.

      10.  After the family meal, avoid giving processed foods (crackers, cookies, cereal), many kids will save their appetite for dessert. These desserts essentially become the second meal you were unwilling to make.  Stick to fruit after mealtimes except during special occasions.

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