Making Dinner A Team Effort
How to please many palates without becoming a short-order cook
Pleasing everyone is not an easy task. If you have kids, it’s up to you to decide how much control to give them over their food choices. Sometimes food allergies and special dietary needs dictate the family menu—but everyone can still walk away satisfied.
Getting kids involved
Whether you have picky eaters on your hands or a family member with food allergies, getting kids involved in the planning process can help eliminate dinnertime disagreements. Sit down with your kids and plan a menu, and ask them what they would like to eat. Bring kids to the store with you, so they’re involved in the process from the beginning (after they see all the extra work you’re doing, maybe they’ll lighten up on those food restrictions).
If you can’t reach a consensus, don’t worry. You don’t have to avoid serving foods that one family member dislikes. You’ll decide what to serve but let your kids decide which dishes they want to eat and how much to eat. If they try it and genuinely dislike it, they don’t have to eat it. To ensure your kids don’t go hungry, offer one or two foods you know everyone can and will eat.
Crisis averted: dealing with food allergies
For food allergies, a simple solution is to prepare dishes that you can easily adjust like paella, a traditional Spanish dish. You can add meat and shrimp, or just leave it out.
There are simple ways to adjust recipes with ingredient substitutions to accommodate food allergies. Or, if a recipe calls for onions and everyone agrees to leave them out, just nix them from the shopping list.
Something for everyone
If you don’t mind going the extra mile, you can prepare several side dishes for everyone to share, and let family members choose which ones they want to eat. For the main course, bake or roast a chicken for the meat eaters and prepare a small serving of orzo on the stovetop for the vegetarians.
If you’re going for the World’s Most Accommodating Cook Award, you can easily split meat and vegetable dishes into two smaller pans, and add spices and/or ingredients according to taste preferences. For soups and stews, simply use two saucepans instead of one big pot.
Who’s the boss?
Remember, you’re not operating a short-order kitchen, so don’t let your kids take your extra efforts for granted. Everyone should make an effort to try new foods and compromise.
Food allergies aside, it never hurts to expand your child’s exposure to various flavors and textures. Being part of a family means compromise.
Looking for some family-friendly dishes everyone will enjoy?
Try these LAWRY’S® recipes:
- Caribbean Paella
- Lemon-Rosemary Roast Chicken
Garlic Oven Potatoes
Cut a loaf of French bread into thick slices, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with LAWRY’S Garlic Salt ; grill until golden.
Slice a variety of vegetables (bell peppers, eggplant, red onion, zucchini, etc.), toss with LAWRY’S® Seasoned Salt or Garlic Salt and Olive Oil; wrap in tin foil or place in a veggie grill basket, toss on the grill and serve.