M loves rice, white rice mind you. (I know, it's a current favorite punching bag nutritionally-speaking.) I like both white and brown, prefer white with stir-fry and brown with a bolder, more tomato or squash-based meal.
Anyway, I forgot to push 'start' on the rice-cooker the other night and 15 minute count-down to dinner was on, with no rice. I got some hot, salted water to boil to serve pasta with the dish I threw together (left-over roasted chicken with the drippings, a can of diced tomatoes, sauteed leek, oldish peppers from the fridge, the last, tiny zucchini from the garden, Italian herbs...)
M lost it. She cried and whined that we were having noodles when she thought we were having rice. (She was TIRED after a long day at school/daycare and then swimming lessons...)
I took a big swig of my red-wine, and tried hard to stay neutral. (I was thinking, "darn-it," OK, I was thinking, "Damnit, I just cut up and cooked all this food, we had rice last night, you like pasta, stop whining and eat it!"
Instead, I put on my best Mommy-smile and said, "M, I know you're dissapointed. I am too. I wish I hadn't forgotten to push the start button, but I'm making pasta. It's not OK to whine or cry over what's for dinner. I know you will find something you can eat. Dinner will be a little later, would you like some cherry-tomatoes or carrots for an appetizer? Would you like some dip with it?"
She settled for some cherry tomatoes and our current favorite Netflix show Shaun the Sheep (from the Wallace and Gromit folks.) Within a few minutes it seemed all was forgotten.
D came home, we had dinner about ten minutes later than usual and we all enjoyed the pasta and stew.
The point? Kids are still kids. They whine, they throw fits, but you still get to decide what's for dinner and you still get to ask that they behave as is age appropriate. Don't cave in to whining, or crying that they don't like something. They will survive, even if they don't eat what you make for that meal and even the next. The point is also that even being really vigilant about following the Division of responsibility as we have done, doesn't mean we don't have the whining and fits, it just means we have the tools to deal with it with confidence, if not infinite patience...
Have you seen the division of responsibility help you manage meal-time melt-downs?