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Please help me create a family meal time

(10 Posts)
HeyGoodLooking Wed 15-Jan-20 00:09:13

NC for this.
I know it's such a simple thing, however I'm seriously struggling to get a meal on the table every night.
I really want us to be able to all sit around the table, and enjoy our dinner as a family.

I am not a masterchef, and have DC of various ages, all with various food requirements. I have low energy levels too.

We currently eat in stages, and I'm fed up of feeling that we're all missing out.

I am determined though, and so would be grateful for any tips, shortcuts, planning experts, meal ideas, anything at all please.

BackforGood Wed 15-Jan-20 00:11:15

Are you at home in the run up to the mealtime, or rushing in from work ?
How old are the dc?
How serious are the 'requirements'?

HeyGoodLooking Wed 15-Jan-20 00:14:54

I'm at home. DC are between 6yrs - 17yrs. We have a vegetarian DC and DC ASD.

Newnamewhodis1 Wed 15-Jan-20 00:21:48

One pot vegetarian dinners! Stick stuff in the slow cooker before you leave for work and serve with ready made mash/rice/easy cook veg etc. Everyone eats the same. They'll be a cook book.

Pasta and pesto/cheese sauce and salad one night. Kids cook.

Takeaway one night.

Oven pizzas and salad - or buy/make bases and the DC chip in.

You and DP take it in turns.

If you have enough freezer space then do the occasional batch cook.

Keep it simple and plan ahead for the week and don't do it all yourself!

Howmanysleepsnow Wed 15-Jan-20 00:22:28

What requirements does the dc with ASD have? I have a vegetarian, plus a DH on a diet and dc aged 6-14. Currently I make a vegetarian recipe, cook meat separately to add last minute for the meat eaters, and portion up dh’s before adding pastry/ cheese etc to other people’s. Would that type of approach work?

Newnamewhodis1 Wed 15-Jan-20 00:23:20

Just googled one pot vegetarian meals and there are loads of ideas. You may need to invest in a giant pan/casserole/whatever.

BackforGood Wed 15-Jan-20 00:24:16

Best thing I ever did was stealing an idea off a colleague.
From when mine were 9, 12 and 14, everyone in the family had to be responsible for cooking one meal a week. I'd do the shop once a week, stick a note on the fridge with what I'd bought and the day it needed to be eaten by, put a list of the days and everyone could choose which day they were making tea. obviously I helped the 9 yr old or they booked the 'just bung it in the oven type meal for the week.
The dc saw it as being 'fair'
They all learned to cook and all those things where you can adapt recipes
What I hadn't anticipated, but was a wonderful surprise, is that the moaning about not liking X or not wanting Y tonight all but disappeared - it was like they all suddenly "got" what it was like to get in from school, then prepare a meal, and then have people moaning before they even tasted it.

Now, your 6 yr old is going to be too young, and I don't know what ages the others are, or how able your dc with ASD would manage this. Incorporating vegetarianism into the meal plans might take more getting used to, but there's no reason why everyone can't use quorn instead of beef mince, etc., and then a substitute vegetarian parcel for another night when you are otherwise having meat or fish.

Newnamewhodis1 Wed 15-Jan-20 00:24:55

Also load up with stuff you can bung in the oven - veggie sausages, potatoes, other frozen things - pies, tarts, whatever.

Stir fry quorn pieces with ready made sauce and serve with noodles

KatyN Wed 15-Jan-20 08:06:28

On top of sorting out what you eat, set a meal time and stick to it every day. We always eat dinner 5-5:30. From 4ish everyone knows dinner is on its way and to not snack. Also you can plan your day/evening around it.
If everyone is used to eating at different times, this will take a while to get used to. It won’t be ideal for everyone. My husband always has another meal (cereal) at 9pm because he finds 5pm a bit early to see him through the night!!!
On the days everyone can’t make that time just portion up theirs and leave it for later. Donmt make a second meal or you’ll be back to square one.

Originalusernameunavailable Wed 15-Jan-20 08:21:24

I am veggie, on a diet and my 2 kids are fussy. This week we have all dinners made from scratch:

Pasta bake - veggie but I will put chorizo in the main one before baking
Breaded chicken/quorn fillet, crispy potatoes (baby potatoes roasted with herbs) steamed tenderstem.
Pizza - make the dough and then top with Passata and everyone chooses their own toppings.
Sausage and mash - simples with steamed veg.
Jacket potatoes and salad

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