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Mealtime seems to be a stressor in most families and ours is no exception. Children’s homework needs to be double checked, spelling words gone through, the littlest is demanding attention in any way possible, be it painting the walls or herself, doorbell rings, dog barks, phone rings, and in the middle of all the chaos mom is supposed to cook a rockin meal!? And even if she does manage to cook said rockin meal there is no guarantee that the kiddos will eat it or appreciate the time put into making the meal. Ever have a child refuse to touch their food simply based upon the way it looks? Does your child eat around their vegetable? Has your child ever complained because they wanted something else for dinner? Does your child ever complain that they are starving and it is taking you way too long to make dinner? NO MORE!

The solution is to have your kiddos involved in not only the meal preparation but also the planning. Have your child plan a meal for the week. Have them include the protein, veggie, grain and/or fruit (I have to be honest; I try to encourage mine to pick two veggies. It they do pick a fruit it is usually melon or berries). Take this time to talk with your children about healthy eating.

Then on the day of their meal have them in the kitchen with you preparing the meal. More supervision might be necessary for the younger ones. Also, if the meal they planned on making on a certain day takes more time then you have on that day then have them help prepare it ahead of time. You’d be surprised at how well this teaches them to appreciate the food on their plate, and it is a great lesson in time management.

Here is one such meal, Naan Bread Pizza! YUM!!

Our little man (and yes, I will still be calling him that long after he towers over me, hehe!) decided on pizza as his meal. Initially I think he thought if he said that then he wouldn’t have to make anything that we would order it, wrong! I asked him to decide on the toppings based upon the food groups we had discussed and he chose, bacon, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, cheese, and as we say in our house, ‘the best sauce’ Dei Frantelli pizza sauce…so the kid has good taste, what can I say? Haha!

He helped with preparing the toppings, we played a Dean Martin CD in the background, and then he called everyone in to make their own pizzas.

They drizzled the oil over the bread, smoothed the sauce around the center and carefully placed their toppings just so.

And guess what happened? To everyone’s surprise and amazement, they had fun! What!? Fun preparing meals, is that allowed? Haha! You bet!

Actions clearly speak louder than words! You can explain all the hard work that goes into making dinner but until they are in the kitchen with you it really doesn’t sink in. And I have to admit that one-on-one time together in the kitchen has afforded us some amazing bonding time…it isn’t often that they get moms undivided attention. And I am really enjoying the time with them too!

EXTRA CREDIT: As an added learning experience and to further enhance their appreciation for all that mom does, have your children go with you to the grocery store. Give them a budget for their meal and then have them figure out what they can afford.

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