I recently talked with nutritionist, mom and blogger Maryann Jacobsen from raise healthy eaters blog.
I'm impressed with her menu plans, and her thorough posts with practical advice on-raising healthy eaters. Many of my clients were not raised with family meals and feel overwhelmed and intimidated by planning meals and structure. (I was raised with family meals and still often feel intimidated with planning and cooking sometimes.) Maryann did not grow up eating family meals. I asked her a few questions.
What is most challenging about family meals?
I think it's the lack of confidence. For people like me who never learned how to cook, making meals for a family can be very intimidating. When new meals are complete failures it's tempting to throw in the towel and admit I'm just not good at this. But I know it takes time and failures are part of that process. I think the slow cooker is key for any new cook. Not only are the meals easy to prepare buy they usually end up tasting pretty good. It's a great place to start.
What is most fun/surprising about family meals?
How much fun I have with my kids at mealtimes. I complained a lot when my daughter started on finger foods and felt like I was spending my whole day feeding her. But then I realized that this is where we have the most fun. Now that I have two kids the kitchen table is definitely where we laugh and connect the most. It's such a great way to bring the family together. I realize now it's not about making perfect meals, it's about the connection. And since my kids are young (11months and 3 years) I plan to get really good at it by the time they are older and eating more.
I'm also surprised how much easier it gets with time. As I collect recipes that work for our family the whole process runs smoother.
Thanks Maryann! I was thinking about this on the way home with my bone-in pork chops the other day. I finally have it down, but I have overcooked, burned, under-cooked and had to reheat-even microwave food while we were waiting with full plates! Learning to cook is a process, and mistakes are inevitable. Enjoy the process, celebrate and repeat success, start slowly!
Start with what you are eating now. Get the structure down, the fun part of connecting with your family, then branch out and add more when you feel ready!