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Meal planning burnout - four years on and still struggling!(9 Posts)
I'm new to the Allergies board - have muddled on for the last four years with two children with multiple allergies (between them all dairy, egg, wheat, gluten, oats, lentils, nuts and peanuts - both on Neocate with epipens).
At the moment I feel totally overwhelmed planning the family's meals - any help welcome! My four-year-old DD is incredibly fussy (and underweight) and DS (16 months) is going through that random refusal stage - very unpredictable. Each day I rack my brains trying to find meals we can all eat and enjoy together but the result is failure after failure at the moment - no one seems to eat anything and I'm throwing so much food away (freezing what I can). I've been yo-yoing between creating exciting new things and serving up old faithfuls...not much success with either!
Anyone else go through these periods? I know it's just a stage but it really gets me down. I'm a SAHM at the moment and feel like I'm not doing my job very well if they are not eating what I'm providing!
I've been looking at quite a few online meal planners to get some ideas but end up getting upset when there is no feasible way to replicate a lot of the meals (ie omelettes!)...it needs to be so bespoke I might as well start from scratch. Sometimes it's just so hard!
I can totally relate to your situation as I have a DD with coeliac disease and a DS allergic to milk wheat eggs & nuts so trying to find meals everyone can and will eat is a constant headache. Have you had a look at piginthekitchen.co.uk? Her recipes are freefrom lots of things and her blog is very entertaining too.
I do feel for you Tattie, I only have one with allergies but we like to all eat together (and I can't manage to cook two meals a night). DS is now 6 and I have only just got to the stage of having two weekly meal plans that everyone will eat! We don't have the wheat/oat/lentil allergies so apologies if any of the ideas below wouldn't work for you. DH won't eat fish either so the menu is a bit meat heavy, we do splash out and have grown up curry and fob the kids off with fishfingers once a week though.
Spicy rice (a favourite with everyone - fry up whatever veg/meat I have in, add rice and chickpeas with double the amount of stock, lid on until rice cooked through) Can also do with cous cous.
Rice Udon Noodles with pork fillet (Stir fried or roasted in Wagamama Terriyaki)
Jacket pots/sos/b beans
Casserole with beef/carrots/veg - maybe you could add pearl barley?
Swedish meatballs with mash & gravy
Chicken breast and pancetta cooked in stock with new pots/veg
Kebabs (in summer, barbecued v. popular)
Chilli with rice (going to try this tonight but not sure if DS will like)
Broccoli pasta (mashed in olive oil and sometimes pancetta mixed with shapes - presume you could use rice pasta?)
Hopefully someone else will come along with more ideas on the gluten/wheat free front as it's not my area of expertise. Don't despair though it does get easier when they stop being so picky
Thanks for the suggestions! After a night's sleep I feel a bit more positive. Also decided I'm going to put more focus on lunch rather than dinner (when everyone is more tired and cranky). I'm going to get some of those little bento boxes as well (found lots of lunch ideas at www.laptoplunches.com) rather than always cooking. Do need to have a weekend cook-athon as well.
Onwards and upwards!
Buy Gluten free pasta, then you can make things like bolognaise, simple tomato based sauces etc.
If you have appropriate GF bread - I seem to rememebr DS having rice bread until he grew out of the soya/dairy allergy that you can breadcrumb chicken using soya yoghurt to stick it on instead of the usual egg.
Seet and sour pork balls with rice and veg. Make the pork balls using minced prok, garlic and if you have it GF breadcrumbs. Fry gently till cooked then pour sauce over.
Lemon chicken and rice ( fry ginger and garlic. Add lemon juice soy sauce and sugar.Add water Thicken with cornflour mixed in a bit of water. Add finly diced chicken and cook in frying pan in sauce until cooked through ( 5-10 mins) add veg to rice when cooking.
Bog standard roast dinner.
Roast lamb chops, onions and potatoes chopped together in a tin, drizzle with oil salt and pepper and herbs as you like. Serve with veg.
Marinade chicken in BBQ sauce. Wrap in foil and cook. Serve with potatoes and veg
Marinade chicken in mild curry sauce and oil ( eg tikka or tandori) wrap in foil and cook. Serve with either rice & veg ( or for DS potatoes and veg - his preference)
Chicken pie with mashed potato topping. Make roux with pure spread and gluten free flour and add chicken stock a little bit at a time until you make a sauce, you can add some Oatly cream too. Chuck in some cooked chicken and carrots, peas, sweetcorn. Top with mashed potato and bake.
Fish pie as above, just replace with fish and fish stock.
I also do one with corned beef, tinned tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce.
Spring cottage pie, ass sweetcorn and tinned tomatoes to the mince mixture.
Chicken and butternut squash risotto always goes down well. Roast the squash in its skin first.
Chicken breast with dairy free garlic cream cheese spread inside and wrappers in bacon or Parma ham. Bake in stock and/or white wine to keep moist.
We do make your own pizzas on flour tortillas, with passata and sweetcorn, olives, tuna etc.
Spanish chicken with chorizo, tomatoes and butter beans.
I can totally empathise with the meal planning burnout. My two go through stages of eating well and then refusing everything.
Lots of great ideas as usual.
My 5yo is just not that interested in food - he'll eat to live but just isn't fussed. A real challenge for me as like you say tattie feeding my children feels like a big part of being a mum... The best thing a wise person said to me was 'your job is to serve up and offer nutritious food for them, it is their job to choose whether to eat it'. Easier said than believed a lot of the time I know, but it did help keep me sane and avoid big food issues / battles. Like trixy said they naturally go through phases of eating more and less and I try to let them get on with it, trusting that they won't starve themselves (or trying very hard to) ;-) My cooking has got less complicated definitely, because theres nothing more depressing than binning something you've slaved over...
For what it's worth, DS went from hovering between 0.1-9th centiles as a baby / toddler (it was very hard not to obsess about increasing the calorie value of every little mouthful) to 50th at his latest weigh in at school (very excited to have an average child!) He is never going to be very driven by food, but eats lots when he's hungry, little when he's not and will generally try anything so I think we've done alright...
It is a tough one, but you are giving it a lot of thought and putting in a lot of effort to prepare appealing nibbles which in my book means you are doing a great job!
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