When one family, one meal fails you (how to deal with special diets, food allergies, omnivores and picky eaters—under one roof)
ADDENDUM: My brother Timmy, who doesn't do comments, reminded me that his wife Karen does all the baking and gardening. They both love food/cooking/creating, and are a pretty serious food duo (and the muses for my first book, The Newlywed Cookbook, as much as my own marriage was). Thank you, Timmy, for setting the record straight. (I'm still hoping they will adopt me!)
I have a strict keto diet that I have to keep with. That means little seasoning, starches or sugars. However I have 2 men in my family who will eat anything. My husband is a real foodie as well and will remind me of lamb / beef combos which is great! He went to great lengths to make a keto shepard's pie for me using celery root, cauliflower, (tiny amount) mozzarella cheese and butter for a fake mash potatoes dupe. A little birdie told me that chef Sarah had something major to do with this dupe!
This came at the most PERFECT time. I was just diagnosed with a new illness yesterday which will require me to switch to a specific way of eating. So happy to have this article while I figure out how to feed my family & myself in a new way!
Love this piece so much!!! Appreciate your actionable suggestions for all of us. And thank you for the shout out at the end! :)
Taco Tuesday is a hit. Homemade macaroni and cheese. Baked seasoned chicken breasts.
The last kid at home would prefer fried types of chicken dishes, but I refuse to make them that often, so he always gets it from takeout menus. He's good about eating all vegetables except salad greens.
In the fall, we will officially be empty nesters when the youngest goes to college, and I'll be making things I like more often. Things like salmon, asparagus, etc... I'll also need to make smaller portions. As the mom of three boys, I've been making large portions for more than a decade.
I have definitely found since the pandemic that sadly my energy for creating a lot of variety is just not there any more. Previously I would always be collecting recipes and flagging cookbooks and each week had a grocery list with a space on the top to note the recipes and page numbers in books if need be, and for most of my adult life I have done that, but goodness something shifted and I do find it hard to feel the desire to keep trying new things or make full recipes like I used to. My husband used to say "I love this, but I know ill never eat it again", because I was always trying new things. And now my daughter will sometimes look at me if I tell her whats for dinner and she will say "um we have been having that a lot" and then I grimace. So one of those meals is super easy and forgiving boneless skinless chicken thighs tossed with lime juice, garlic, olive oil, paprika, red pepper flakes, cilantro and salt, left as long as I have time for, and then cooked in a cast iron pan and served over rice (rice soaked all day or overnight to hopefully remove arsenic). The other boring but useful dinner I make often is turkey patties also cooked in cast iron. I buy a lot of organic frozen ground turkey that can be defrosted in a bowl of water in an hour, and sometimes I mix in herbs like cilantro or mint, and then I can serve with all kinds of salads, roasted potatoes, rice, veg, buns or toast, etc and they are perfect for my daughter's lunchbox too. For us FAMILY MEAL also transitions to KIDS LUNCHBOX the next day!
I love this on so many levels. The pictures made me very hungry.
The biggest challenge at the moment is my 2 and a half year old daughter, Livia. When I was weaning her she was a joy, open to everything, curious! Now she would live on pasta al pesto, spinach spätzle, cherry tomatoes, pecorino cheese, prosciutto and strawberries. Since I often have leftovers from cooking classes, I started placing all my Tupperwares on the table along with her safe food, and she started asking me: what’s for dinner mum? perusing the leftovers. I hope she will slowly expand her choices soon! (obviously at nursery school she eats EVERYTHING)
I keep things siiiimple simple. Weeknight meals that are always successful have been burger night, taco or burrito night, or home made chicken tenders with some home fries and/or salads. My partner is very picky about pasta so I’ve had to get clever with how I can make it so he’ll eat it (I love pasta). He’s more of a meat and potatoes type. I can’t have gluten so I sometimes have to make a separate gluten dish for myself so the kids don’t have to suffer through the sad gluten free pizza crusts or the somewhat tolerable gluten free pastas (I tolerate them because I have to).
I absolutely love these tips (and thank you for the Build-a-Bowl shout-out!). We've had our share of food allergies in my house, which means I'm often making meals that can be adapted for different eaters. I've found that as the kids have gotten older, serving dinner family style has been immensely helpful. I *try* not to judge what's goes on their plates, but I'm also often shocked about what they go back for seconds of!