A couple weekends ago, I decided to practice what I preach, and do some serious meal planning. I felt so virtuous, too. The Wellness Guy was spending a big chunk of his time (the most precious of resources) preparing the way for the week’s family dining. And as usual, it was actually pretty fun! Whenever I go to the trouble to dice, chop, sauté, stew, and store ahead of time, I always both see the value instantly, as well as use the time to multitask a bit of podcast listening, or talking to Mom and Dad on the phone, or some other activity I should be doing on Sunday anyway. And so I entered the workweek—and the week with kids—thinking to myself, “Ah, yes; I’ve got this.”
Then Monday came and the rebellion began.
“Dad, what is this chicken on the counter?” my younger son asked me over the phone during my drive home. “What’s all this stuff on it?”
The poultry in question would be the chicken I’d planned to pan sear upon arrival (and, yes, it had a few spices on it) and serve with asparagus and rice. “We don’t want that—the same old chicken and rice. Matt and I are going to order from Uber Eats.” Things devolved from there.
I must admit that this verbal assault from my 13 year old was more than a little disconcerting. Maybe I should have, but I really hadn’t anticipated this sort of reaction. In my mind, I had laid the ground for a stress-free and harmonious Monday evening. Boy, was I wrong.
Once we were all assembled at the kitchen table, however (Matt and Mase didn’t end up spending their hard-earned money on takeout, after all), we did have some productive conversation.
“Okay, guys, you are tired of chicken and rice,” I said to M and M and their stepbrother, “then tell us what you do want to see more of.”
From there, they each had to name one dish that they would like to see become a part of the regular rotation. None of them hesitated. “Halibut,” Santiago said. “I want to try halibut.” “I like the shrimp and pasta that you [my wife] fixed not long ago,” Mason added. And when it was Matt’s turn, he said simply, “Something on the grill.”
This was great, too, because it forced the peanut gallery to take some ownership over the meal planning in the household, instead of just complaining about the choices that others made for them.
So, folks, try a little meal prep, because it’s usually better for you and more economical. Try meal prepping, because it saves time during the week. And, you parents out there, give meal prepping a try, because it stimulates conversation and shifts your little complainers into a more positive, proactive state of mind. Family wellness at its best.