Is Giving Meal Choices a Good Idea?

file000669919975Plenty of parents I know make up separate meals for the kids and the adults or older children in the family. One mom and dad actually make an average of three different dinners each night, just to make sure that everyone in the family eats.

Now I understand that certain childhood disabilities, from diabetes to autism, may require special diets, and in those cases parents have to do what they have to do. That isn’t what I am talking about.  More so, I am referring to families with healthy, average children who have fallen into the pattern of becoming short order cooks.

From both a time management perspective and a frugal one, I can’t imagine being able to keep up with this sort of thing, especially every night. Our general family philosophy is eat it or do without until the next meal.

Still, I do make certain allowances sometimes to allow for different tastes. When we do tacos, for example, I set out the toppings and allow the kids to choose what they want to  add (a minimum of protein and at least one veggie is required). Other times, when preparing a certain dish, I will allow a child to choose whether the ingredients are all mixed together or kept apart. The food is the same, just presented differently. Finally, the kids do sometimes have some input into the meals that we prepare, for example, when I am pulling a freezer meal out, they may get to choose which one.

That is about the extent of our giving meal choices.

For me, the priority in meal preparation, is incorporating fresh healthy ingredients on a budget. If ground turkey is on sale this week, be prepared to eat it. If our CSA delivers a wealth of kale, don’t expect iceberg lettuce. Enjoy the times when plump strawberries are in season or the store had frozen pizza on sale, too.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT or visit her personal blog