20637541_sLike many families with busy schedules, meal planning can often be frustrating.  One of the things I have found that work for me is engaging my children, ages 11 and 8.  At the beginning of the week, ideally on Sunday night, they get to decide the dinner menu for the week.  That’s another ritual in our home.  Sunday nights we have a family meeting, usually during dinner,  and review the upcoming week’s schedule.  This helps to provide another opportunity for family time and avoids the “you didn’t tell me I had practice” arguments.


I write out all of the available options for that week’s dinner and keep them in the top drawer of my kitchen island. (Along with all my other school supplies, pencils, scissors, scotch tape, stapler, rubber bands, etc.)  

As you can see, my children are very plain eaters – we’re still working on that.  In case you are wondering, MYOP is “make your own pizza”, one of our favorites.  Brinner is breakfast for dinner and that can be anything from pancakes to cereal.

MYOP:  Dough is available from your local store (Sickles Market in Little Silver or Whole Foods offer great options).  Whole Foods sells the sauce and cheese in the same case where the dough is located.  Alternatively, get some mozzarella and ricotta cheese for a white pizza option, another family favorite.  Let the kids make whatever shape they wish.  We’ve had round pizza, oval pizza, square pizza and something that looked like an amoeba.  It really doesn’t matter.  The fewer the rules the more engaged they are and the more likely they are to eat it!

BRINNER:  Brinner usually ends up being pancakes or waffles.  I can usually add in some sausages as a caveat.  While I would love to, I don’t make them from scratch.  I usually get Aunt Jemima Original for pancakes and Krusteaz Belgian for waffles.  When I’m really feeling crazy, I mix in a small amount of food coloring for the pancakes.  Your local grocery store probably carries McCormick food coloring – I found a neon color option to use. When I’m feeling funky, I make multi-color.  A few drops of all the color and gently run your whisk through the batter – just a little.  They end up having a tie-dyed look.