It’s November and already people are both excited and overwhelmed for the upcoming holidays that signify the end of the year quickly approaching. Halloween and our U.S. mid-term elections are over–how do we proceed without the added stress that these next several weeks can bring us?
For parents of children who are still living at home, I have a simple idea. Incorporate them into the household menu selection. I don’t mean ask them: “Do you want pizza or Publix rotisserie chicken?” As you might pick a day or days for a chore allocation, also pick a day out of the work/school week that your child is responsible for choosing the dinner menu.
I suggest you pick up an age-appropriate cookbook or select some pre-fixe recipes in a binder for them to look through and decide. The next step would be assisting or enabling them to acquire whatever ingredients they need to make the dish for the family. Again, depending on their age, give them the tools and supervise as necessary in the prep stage and execution of the meal-making.
To those that would quickly retort about time restraints and extracurriculars: there is a great invention called the Crock-Pot or other versions of slow-cooker tools like Cusinart’s multi-cook mechanism. Both your local library and bookstores carry great cookbooks for these kitchen tools as well as internet searches or mobile phone apps.
The Current Nutritional Value
From personal experience, I began my oldest child at 5 years old with this weekly ritual of delegating one dinner a week. Our household dinner table can range from 6-8 people a day depending on the family activity. This child now cycles through three different menus each week–my personal rule being that the same menu cannot be repeated two weeks in a row. I would be lying if I didn’t admit there have been colossal messes incurred, unsavory mistakes in cooking and times of exhaustion in repeating oneself. However, the positive effect and long-lasting education your child can receive by taking a responsible part in the home is priceless and less stress.
Some Cookbook Recommendations:
“Williams-Sonoma: Fun Food” by Stephanie Rosenbaum, Chuck Williams
“Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes” Louis Weber
“The Great Chicago-Style Pizza Cookbook” by Pasquale Bruno, Jr.
“Sugar-Free Toddlers” by Susan Watson