To Make A Second Meal or Not To Make a Second Meal: That is the Question

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January 30, 2012

If there is one daily question in our house that is sure to get me aggravated, it’s “What’s for dinner?” This is because dinnertime has been, and continues to be a thing of frustration for me. Just the sound of the question drives me bananas.  Trying to accommodate the nutritional needs and eating preferences of 4 different people. So, dinnertime in our house kinda goes something like this. Kids eat 5:30PM. Parents eat anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30PM, (while the kids eat their fruits so at least we’re sitting as a family).

But it’s not so much the different eating times that gets me. It’s the different meals to make everyone happy. Most nights I wind up making one meal for 3 (myself, my husband, my 5-year old), and another meal for 1 (my 8-year old). I try to cook healthy, and I pride myself on preparing nice fresh and healthy meals. There’s always a soup or salad to start, followed by a protein, carb and vegetable. Now, this is the case of course, for the group of 3. Not for the eight-year-old. No, he looks at our healthy salmon, and gags, literally, and then politely demands a grilled cheese.

What makes things slightly worse, is my five-year-old, who will eat my salmon, then sees my eight year old son getting another meal, the grilled cheese, for example, and then immediately stops eating his salmon and requests a grilled cheese as well. My older son is, in essence, killing it for my younger son. All the good eating habits I’ve instilled in my little man, are flying out the window fast thanks to his older brother’s influence.

Or my lack of spine, you might say.

Yes, you might think I’m crazy turning myself into a human pretzel to appease everyone’s palate. Yes, you just might. Or you might relate. I’m honestly tired of making two meals, but I’m not ready yet to send my thin older son to bed without dinner. My friends say “Offer Johnny, (we’ll call him) what the rest of the family is eating, and if he doesn’t like it, tough!” But I’m just not there yet.

So, if this insanity sounds familiar, at least be happy you’re not alone. Misery loves company. But I’d like to get the conversation going. If your kids don’t eat what you’re making, should they have the choice of eating your meal or NO meal, or will you offer another dinner option, and in the process, start turning yourself that human pretzel to appease everyone’s palate. Is it right to cook different dinners for family members, or should the whole family be eating one meal, and if you don’t like it, you don’t eat (as some food experts claim).

I’d really love your take on this. I’m on the fence.

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