I am back with my second installment of “Mom On A Mission,” my 3-month journey with Family Nourishment Coach, Stefanie Tsabar, to bring more joy back to my family’s mealtimes! This blog series will take you with me as I share the power struggles and meal planning challenges I have in feeding my omnivorous family, such as getting my kids to eat a greater variety of vegetables, to independently choose healthy, balanced meal options, and to try new foods. Over the course of this 3 month-series, I will document my successes and challenges through 6 blog posts. If you missed the first post, (where I tackled adding more variety to my family’s meals while also taking the negative inference out of the word “vegan,”) read it here.
With a month of DOR (Division of Responsibility) under my belt, I am feeling less stressed and actually joyful again at mealtime. The pressure is off, knowing that my new measure of success is to present a delicious, well-balanced meal and allow each of my kids to put it together the way they want it. This whole process has been enlightening because I am realizing that much of the stress was caused by connections I was imposing on myself about mealtimes and my worthiness as a mother. I feel grateful for Stefanie’s counsel to lead me to a place where I am enjoying meal planning and food preparation again without worrying that I am going to have to fight with my kids about what to eat. I have so many great stories to share. Hear some of the highlights in the video below.
After two weeks of implementing family style meals that include familiar and unfamiliar foods, while inviting my kids to serve themselves from whatever they’d like on the table, I am feeling confident about how to put together a cohesive meal that is delicious, allows me to creatively meal plan, while still nourishing my kids with foods they enjoy. In the last two weeks, I have seen my kids try new foods, serve themselves vegetables without me telling them to, and enjoy their dinner experience.
Despite this dinner success, I was still struggling with breakfast. I felt like a short-order cook, asking what they wanted and making three different meals that don’t involve much variety and mostly carb-loaded foods. For my second session, my mission was clear:
Simplify breakfast and introduce more alternatives to their usual carb choices.
The Plan of Attack
Hearing my challenges during our second session, Family Nourishment Coach, Stefanie, encouraged me to do the following:
Approach breakfast just as I am doing with dinner.
I plan my meals once a week for the whole week and do my shopping once a week too. Stefanie suggested I start meal planning for breakfast the same way I do dinner.
Serve family style with both familiar and unfamiliar foods.
Just like dinner, Stefanie reminded me to create a cohesive meal that includes 3-4 dishes that include 2 or 3 familiar things I know they will eat, as well as a new dish I want to introduce them to. She encouraged me that they still might choose only to eat the carbs at first, but without pressure, that would change over time.
Get a wish list from from my kids in advance of meal planning.
Just like dinner, Stefanie suggested I ask my kids for some of their wish list items that they would like to see on the breakfast menu for the week. This includes them in the plan, and also helps come up with those 2 or 3 familiar dishes to include as part of my meals during the week.
I am so thrilled with the results after implementing the above changes. My mornings have been completely transformed. My kids are eating a variety of things now everything morning and are trying new foods. Breakfast is something I no longer dread. I learned a few things while tackling this mission:
Introduce foods by incorporating things they like.
My kids are not fans of tofu scrambles, but I got inspired to combine their favorite bruschetta from Trader Joe’s and kalamata olives (another of their favorites) to create an original scramble. To my delight, they loved it and asked to keep it in the rotation!
Meal planning for breakfast nurtures my creativity.
I have always dreaded thinking about what to make for breakfast, but by implementing these new changes, I have found another opportunity to practice being creative in the kitchen – something that I love to do.
I don’t have to create a gourmet meal for them to like it or think I am a great mom.
I take great pride in putting together a meal and take great effort in not just the preparation, but also the presentation of it. I realized though, that it doesn’t mean I have to slave over a hot stove for an hour to achieve success. My kids loved their English Muffin bar (which took me about 10 minutes to put together) and also their avocado toast. No one commented on the simplicity of the meal. Their bellies were full and they were happy.
Below is a sample of some of the breakfasts I served and succeeded with:
Berry Chocolate Smoothies (new food), Avocado Toast (familiar food), and Veggie Sausage Links (familiar food)
Tofu Scramble (new food), Waffle Sticks (familiar food), and Fresh Fruit (familiar food)
Breakfast Burritos (with filling options: soyrizo – familiar food, potatoes – familiar food, refried beans – familiar food), and Fresh Fruit (familiar food)
English Muffin bar with veggie sausage patty (new food), Earth Balance (familiar food), peanut butter (familiar food), strawberry jam (familiar food), Veggie Sausage Links, and Fresh Fruit (familiar food)
Are you ready to give DOR a try? If you are ready to turn your child’s frustrating eating habits around, claim one of Stefanie’s FREE Fussy to Foodie Coaching Sessions now!
Stefanie Tsabar is a mom and Family Nourishment Coach. She uses proven methods to help parents learn how to raise healthy eaters, eliminate power struggles over food and create calm, connected family mealtimes. Stefanie co-authored the illustrated children’s book, Friending Your Emotions and, before becoming a mom, she danced with American Ballet Theatre.