It’s the daily question that can put a mom over the edge.

“What’s for dinner?”

I have been struggling with dinner time for a while now. I have some picky eaters. I tried not to raise them that way, but it has happened. I also have not been able to have a nice dinner at the table without a phone popping up (guilty myself occasionally). It seems that every night there is more whining, crying, fussing, and yelling than sharing, happiness, and gratitude.

So that age old question becomes the last straw, and I either cave in, or I choose not to engage. Neither of which are beneficial to anyone.

On Monday I attended one of the Unleash Your Strengths community meetings. This meeting was focused on using our strengths to improve our health. Perfect! This was my opportunity to share my struggle and get suggestions from others. It turns out that I am not the only person in the world who has this struggle.

Funny how sharing can help you see that you aren’t the only one with that struggle.

Like most of the calls with this community, I received tons of support and suggestions on how to make dinner time more of a joyful experience again, and less of a battle. Here’s some of my favorite suggestions from the members of the group.

Who fills the refrigerator?

This was a big “duh” moment for me. I am the one who does 98% of the grocery shopping. I’m the one who makes the choices of what comes into our home to feed us. With that kind of power, I can just make sure that what I’m getting is good for my family. I get to control this environment. And when I order from the grocery pickup instead of going into the store, I also control the store’s ability to influence me to buy crap food. Win-Win!

Cook’s Rules

One of the amazing women on our call sent out an image of the Cook’s Rules. These rules are reminders to the family that the cook controls the kitchen, and that they control their own environment. If I want to cook a nice lentil and ham soup and no one likes it, so be it. They can make their own dinner, which is a lesson all in itself. Another great rule on the list was “welcomes a happy helper.” I love it when my kids come into the kitchen and help me. They get to learn how to prepare and cook and they get to spend time with mom. But I do not like when a helper comes in and huffs and puffs and rolls their eyes at the food being prepared. Those helpers can stay out of the kitchen. There were some other great rules on this list and I’ve printed it, hung it on the refrigerator, and will see who takes notice of it.

Lead By Example

This was a great reminder for myself. In my efforts to make some changes in my eating habits and lifestyle habits, I was not remembering that I am leading by example. When the question of what’s for dinner is presented, 9 times out of 10 I answer, “I don’t care.” What example does that give to my family? Ouch! I don’t care about me and I don’t care about them. For those of you who read my blogs, you’ll remember that I am experimenting on the power of words and these three little words can do a lot of damage. I’m telling myself that I don’t care about the food that energizes my body and keeps me healthy. I’m telling my family that I don’t care about them and how they stay healthy. I’m telling the universe that I don’t care about food and I’m not grateful for it so whether it’s here or not isn’t important. Those three words send out WAY TOO MUCH NEGATIVE ENERGY. To lead by example, I need to change my response…change my words. “What’s for dinner?” ~ “Let’s take a look in the fridge and figure something out together.” or “I was thinking of trying a new recipe to give us lots of goodness in our bodies.” or “What would you like to have?” The power of those words are more positive. I do care about my family and I do want what’s best for them. I will choose new words to express that.

Be Grateful

What is one of the prominent things I coach around? Practicing gratitude. What is the one thing that is missing from my meal time preparations? GRATITUDE.

When I go through the motions of throwing a pizza in the oven or letting the kids have cereal for dinner, I’m not grateful for the act of making dinner nor am I grateful for the food I give them. Sometimes it’s necessary to have a short cut meal due to other activities going on, but the rest of the time I should be practicing gratitude around the food I am blessed to have in my home. I love to cook and I’m grateful for the skills I’ve picked up along the way during my lifetime. I am grateful for the fresh fruits and veggies that I can access. I am grateful that we can afford to put food on our table. And I am grateful for the connection that cooking and eating together makes. When I remember all the things I’m grateful for surrounding mealtime, the “what’s for dinner” question becomes an opportunity, not a burden.

The lessons I learned from sharing my struggle with my Unleash Your Strengths community:

  • Be Grateful
  • Be Inclusive
  • Be an Example
  • Choose Wisely

If you would like more information on the Unleash Your Strengths Community or would like help making changes in your lifestyle, fill out this getting started questionnaire and let’s visit.

One Comment on “

  1. I love this, Val! It’s a journey, for sure! Thank you for sharing the feedback that you got from those in your community meeting. Great reminders for me, too!

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