The kids are tired. We are tired. Homework has to be done, dishes to be washed, sometimes there are meetings or practices we still have to get to before the day is finished. Add in the sometimes-difficult task of getting your kids to enjoy a healthy meal and it sometimes can be a recipe for disaster.
Have you been there before? Maybe more often than you’d like to admit?
There are some healthy meals that we’ve found that my kids will eat AND even enjoy (you can find most of those right HERE).
But, there are other days where I know before we even sit down at the table that my kids are going to protest about the food I’m serving. I don’t want to be a short-order cook in my own home, and I don’t want to raise kids who only eat chicken nuggets, so I prepare one meal a night. If I know the kids aren’t going to like the menu then I try to make sure I have at least one fruit or veggie that I know they’ll eat, but we insist that they have several bites of everything on their plate. We are trying to teach them to try different foods- particularly healthy foods. Some days this is easier than others.
However, one meal is their absolute favorite and is SO simple to prepare and to serve. I wanted to share it with you today in hopes that it might bring some joy and fun to your dinner table, too!
My husband first came up with this idea a couple summers back. We were on vacation and needed to use up some leftover foods that we had in the fridge. He came up with the idea of Toothpick meals.
Now before you go and click exit from this post, hear me out.
1- It can use up food you already have in your fridge.
2- Preparation AND clean up is a BREEZE.
3- It can be healthy.
4- Your kids will think it is so fun they’ll be willing to try new foods that they haven’t before.
For Valentines night, this is what I prepared and they loved it. I had a fridge full of leftovers so this time our spread included:
-Fresh Sourdough bread
-Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese
-Artisan cheeses (several different varieties)
-Grilled Chicken Breast
-Oven based pork tenderloin
-Leftover hotdogs cut into small sections
-Leftover slow-cooker beef
-And not pictured, veggies like carrots, celery, and cucumbers.
It can be customized to include whatever you have on hand with the only rules being- you have to eat using only a toothpick. No forks or spoons allowed.
They loved it!
Sometimes when we do a toothpick meal night we get out our fancy china and crystal glasses. Other times we break out the plastic tablecloth and red paper plates in honor of Valentines Day.
During this meal we sometimes have our very best conversations with the kids.
I know as they grow, they won’t always think it’s super fun to sit around the table talking with their parents and using a toothpick as their eating utensil. But for now, they do, and so I’m going to SOAK IT UP.
Have some fun with your kids and try this idea out. Let them help select your menu and prepare the food.
CELEBRATE the moments you’ve got, friends. Make today count.