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Talk to Schwartz about making mealtimes run smoothly - £200 cash to be won NOW CLOSED

(101 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Jun-13 09:34:09

You may have seen a thread on MN recently looking for Mumsnetters to try the new 2in1 recipe mixes from Schwartz. The testers are busy trying out the mixes so do keep a look out for their feedback coming soon!

In the mean time, Schwartz would like to know what your top tips are for avoiding mealtime meltdowns. Here's what they say: "Preparing everyday family favourites just got easier and tastier with the launch of the new 2in1 range from flavour experts Schwartz. The new 2in1 range offers two easy to use recipe mix sachets in one handy pack: one sachet flavours the main dish whilst the other contains seasoning for a complementary side dish or topping. With five different varieties to choose from, and an easy recipe on the back of each pack, this is a great way to try out new dishes or transform an existing family favourite from ordinary to special."

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes? Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore? What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs? Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

Everyone who shares their thoughts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will win £200 cash!

Thanks and good luck,


browneyedpixie Wed 19-Jun-13 16:52:24

my sachets arrived just now smile just need my family to get better now.

melika Wed 19-Jun-13 16:58:24

Everyone but one son who is never in, sits at the table.

Unfortunately my DH reads the paper while he eats and the tv is on!

We do manage some conversation about the day. I like your chilli mix and always pick your range if I'm being lazy! I wouldn't mind a chicken pasta mix if you are thinking of creating a sauce mix.

Shiraztastic Wed 19-Jun-13 17:13:41

Mealtimes often feel like a chore to be endured! I try to ensure that there is at least one thing on the table each person will like.

Try not to stress too much about finer manners or food on the floor.

firawla Wed 19-Jun-13 17:35:55

we don't always eat together as much as i would like. dh works very late, so he is never around. i do eat with the kids myself some days, but sometimes not sit down and have a full meal with them as I am waiting for dh. I would love to eat as a family more.

i find preparing some of the meals in advance is good cos sometimes as dinner time approaches my little one is getting so clingy and tired, so hard to spend a lot of time cooking at that point, also they see me cooking and get impatient for the food so i try to cook quick/easy things

AllSWornOut Wed 19-Jun-13 19:42:01

We always sit at the table all together with no other distractions. DC is only 2 but he helps set the table which helps to highlight that it's dinner time so time to stop playing.

He's always had whatever we're eating but we try not to make it into a battle if he doesn't like something. We've started making him have at least one bite of everything on his plate but don't force him to eat everything up if he doesn't like or want it. I do try to make sure there's at least one thing being served that I know he'll like.

And we include him in the conversation while we're eating. I'm sure his good nature helps but so far the above works for us for getting meal times running smoothly.

givemeaboost Wed 19-Jun-13 19:58:08

Most of the time it is very difficult to get everyone eating at the same time, my oldest dc eats at a astonishing rate and has normally finished before other members of the family have barely picked up their knife and fork, I usually allow him to get down from the table unless its a special meal/eating out....a case of pick your battles an all that. the only time we really get to eat together is on a weekend as the dcs have cooked school meals in the week to make my life a bit easier in the evenings.

Im not much of a cook but after becoming a single parent Ive had to cook a lot more, I enjoy it more than I used to but I do find cooking a little tedius as I don't have the money to experiement or buy expensive or exotic ingredients.

I always have a jug of juice at family mealtimes and often some kind of finger food on the side such as garlic bread. my youngest dc provides a lot of entertainment!

The meals that are always a hit in this house are corned beef hash(mash) and beans or sausage pasta bake.

Reastie Wed 19-Jun-13 20:30:30

I've got this face plate for DD and jazz up each meal onto the plate. Really helps get DD to try different foods (but doesn't always work to get her to eat her veg!).

Sometimes I prechop veg earlier in the day when I don't have time later and Im increasingly using frozen veg in dishes to save on chopping time (eg chopped onion or casserole mix). I sometimes use a slow cooker and try to do big batches of meals so there's something which will last 3 days. A basic bolognese is a lifesaver as it will work one day with spaghetti and homemade garlic bread, another day with chilli powder and rice as chilli con carne and another with mashed potato as a shephards pie.

fie181 Wed 19-Jun-13 22:47:35

Just received the packs today...thank you. I have tried the crispy chicken with BBQ sauce for husband and I. The verdict .....delicious. The BBQ sauce tasted very authentic though I didn't think you got enough for the dish. The crispy coating was....crispy. I cooked it on Grease proof paper, most of them were crispy.
Would I buy this again...only if on offer but thanks for sending me the sachets. Which one will I choose next???

magentastardust Wed 19-Jun-13 23:17:04

We always eat together at meal times , it is a good way for DH to be able to catch up with the children when he comes in from work.

Things like cottage pie, home made veggie burgers , bolognaise and tacos where the kids can get involved in making their own are popular here with my 3.
Trying to find something that all 5 of us like and will eat can sometimes be interesting , and I like to come on to forums and recipe websites every so often to look for new ideas as find I can get stuck in a rut with what to cook for tea from week to week.

TheFlipsideOfTheCoin Thu 20-Jun-13 00:25:58

1) Everyone sits at the table to eat as a family!

2) I'm a vegetarian whereas the rest of the family are meat eaters, however we make it work so that we only cook one dish. For example, if we're having pasta we will make a big batch of veggie sauce and I will then remove my portion before adding the meat for everyone else. Saves complicating the meals.

MumnGran Thu 20-Jun-13 09:54:49

We always sat down together, and had a tradition that everyone had to say something about the best and worst things in their day!! it sometimes had us chatting at the table for hours with the washing up undone, when they got into their teens!

Both my DD's have carried this forward, and when the whole family gets together, the chat take ages smile

Huge believer in engaging the kids in the cooking process though, as they are then much more interested in eating the results. Even a little one can help shake things up in a bag with Schwartz coatings!!

snoworneahva Thu 20-Jun-13 15:05:17

We eat together every evening, always have done, sometimes dh is late and the he eats alone - get dcs into the habit of eating together as something that is normal - now for special occasions. I Menu plan and shop for the week, I include some quick and easy meals that I know everyone will eat for a standby on those nights where I'm exhausted and cranky never mind the kids, I also include something new every week, the same old meals can get boring very quickly and the kids learn that having new food is something that is normal too!

Littlecherublegs Thu 20-Jun-13 15:29:03

We always sit down as a family all together at the same time every day for dinner - we've done this since DS was old enough to sit in a highchair at the table.

Mealtimes is a great time to catch up on what's been happening throughout the day / what we have planned later in the week etc.

The only 'chore' bit is cleaning up after DS (yes it can get messy!).

Current fav's our chicken casserole or pasta!

janekirk Thu 20-Jun-13 15:33:06

No treats at least an hour before meal times, and stick to it.

majjsu Thu 20-Jun-13 15:33:06

We always sit at a table together at tea time. My LO is nearly 3 and she loves helping prepare the teas and at the table, we talk about our day and what ingredients we like best. Her favourites are omelettes, tortillas, Sunday roast and Chinese vegetables.

Scrambledchocpancake Thu 20-Jun-13 15:51:47

We always sit down together at meal times. My husband is away working all most all the time so I cook and eat with my 2 + 4 year old. It encourages them to eat their food if I am eating the same with them. I love these times. As DD is due to start school in September we shall be eating our dinner later in the day when she gets home but I love the way we can all talk to each other over the meal.
Their favourite food is pasta with tomato sauce and carrots. I know that they will eat all this up in no time so use it when we are in hurry! Also a shepherds pie goes down well.

weenwee Thu 20-Jun-13 16:01:40

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes?

I yell WE ARE EATING NOW, and they eat. ;)

Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore?

Sometimes a treat, sometimes a chore. It all depends on who had a good or bad day that day.

What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs? Involve them in the cooking. Mine is too little yet to stand at the stove, but my hubs will hold him, and they watch me make dinner (and when hubs is making dinner, I hold the kid). He understands food doesn't just appear, there is a process to getting food on his tray, and hopefully that translates later into an understanding of how lucky we are to have what we eat!

Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

Spaghetti and meatballs. Winner across the board. (Sneaky trick: if you have a kid who can't yet eat chunks, or doesn't like veg, instead of forcing/cajoling/bribing, simply puree them, then mix in your red sauce. You'll have a thick hearty sauce, and the kid will never know. My fave veg to puree in are carrots and peas - gorgeous sweet flavour!)

Babycarmen Thu 20-Jun-13 16:19:31

We get the kids involved in laying the table and clearing up afterwards too. Its nice to all sit together and discuss our days and school and also things we have to look forward to like days out. It helps bring us closer together as a family. I love mealtimes!
Family favourites are lasagne - always clean plates, or chicken korma and rice or chips, even my youngest who is 16m clears her bowl!

JulesJules Thu 20-Jun-13 16:22:57

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes?

We all eat together, unless DH is working late. In that case I will give the DDs something earlier and me and DH will have something different later. We have always eaten together.

Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore?

Depends! If I'm stuck for what to cook, or the DDs both want something different it's a bit of a pain. I'm the only vegetarian, so I'm usually cooking more than one thing anyway.

What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs?

When they were little I used to make faces on the plate, or do a scene - eg mashed potato hill with broccoli trees.

Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

Spag Bol - I cook a vat of bol at a time and so I've always got some in the freezer.
Beef in red wine - again, I cook a big batch of this in the slow cooker and keep it in the freezer. (These two things are quick and easy to heat up, but obviously take a long time to cook originally.)
Carrot Soup - takes less than half an hour, everyone loves it and it varies a bit according to what veg needs using up, what herbs and spices I put in etc.
Spanokopita - (Greek spinach and cheese pie with filo pastry) Bizarrely the dds love this, it's very quick to make, also delicious cold.
Omelettes/ fritattas
Egg fried rice

rosie17 Thu 20-Jun-13 17:18:45

Eat outside where possible. Everyone seems to enjoy the novelty of eating in the garden when the weather allows. The kids actually enjoy setting the table and if it's a really hot day they love to hose down the sticky table afterwards. Fire up the Barbie - keep the horrid cooking smells outside.

Everyone in our house loves a slow cooked lamb tagine. Cubes of lamb, chick peas, tinned toms, green beans and a few spoons of harrissa paste. Then let is stew on a low heat - one pot heaven and very healthy too.

Also our children love to cook - get them involved and they are far more likely to eat it.

helcrai Thu 20-Jun-13 17:39:20

Get the family to all eat together by having a routine- children help to set table and we wait til Dad home for tea too. If its something straightforwards I'm making, will encourage them to help prepare the meal.

I like mealtimes- get to know what's gone on at school and how they're feeling. Was more difficult when they were toddlers but now they are older are less fussy about what they eat and will sit (relatively!) still.

As above, to make them interested I try and get them to help prepare the food. Have found they are more likely to sit and eat well if they are proud of having made it themselves. They also have the incentive/bribe that if they eat they can watch TV after.

Family favourites are anything to do with pasta- spag bol; tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake, or anything with rice- (very mild) chilli con carne; salmon and rice salad. They also like meals they can get messy with legitimately like fajitas and tacos. Bizarrley neither of my kids will eat anything with chips- unheard of!

serendipity1980 Thu 20-Jun-13 19:22:20

It can be hard getting them to eat dinner but I always make a home cooked meal and they will sometimes help make it. I sometimes (quite often!) get 'I don't like that' before they even try it. There are no other options though so they eat it or go hungry! They do love fish pie - that always is a favourite.

newfashionedmum Thu 20-Jun-13 21:31:31

we have home cooked dinner every night because I'm a control freak who wants us to all eat healthily grin somewhat bizarrely, a favourite in our house is liver and bacon with carrots and onions!!

Hopezibah Thu 20-Jun-13 21:55:31

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes?

We have made it a priority right from when the children were weaning - we would still all eat at the same time. So it is just normal for us to do that. As soon as daddy is home from work we try to eat.

We always sit at the table so that way we are all together.

Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore?

If I feel inspired to cook something and have all the ingredients ready then it is a treat - otherwise it can feel a chore sometimes.

What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs?
get them used to eating all different foods and flavours from an early age. Occasionally make a fun meal eg bento style where it looks really appealing. Get them involved in cooking too. My little boy has been helping with cooking since he was 3! (not just baking cakes but properly helping with mealtimes)

Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

if I keep some chicken in the freezer then that can be defrosted and used for lots of things eg curries, chasseur, stuffed chicken breasts, chicken salad etc.

carabossse Thu 20-Jun-13 22:07:53

Eating together at the table from a young age created good habits. There's a clear expectation that mealtimes are together at the table so that's never questioned. My pre-schooler is involved with cooking and setting the table. I give targeted options e.g. what colour of plate /bowl/ cup etc which gives some control to the child while meeting my goals. We talk about how he helped me cook the meal which makes it more interesting, even irresistible. The evening meal involves a recap of the day which works well as young children like to talk about themselves.

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