“I’m hungry! What’s for Dinner?”: 3 Ways to Get Creative with Boring Food
When it comes to making dinner for the family, there are two kinds of parents in the world. One is the super-organized type who plans the week’s meals, grocery shops for all the necessary ingredients in advance, and even decorates a kitchen chalkboard with a hand-lettered menu.
And then there are the rest of us. Real people, with messy homes and a busy schedule. We often don’t give a thought to cooking until it’s 5 p.m. and one of the kids says, “I’m hungry! What’s for dinner?”
If you struggle to come up with appetizing new meals that appeal to everyone, you’re not alone! That’s why we’ve compiled these creative solutions to spice things up!
Three Creative Answers to the Question “What’s for Dinner?”
There are only so many ways to cook ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Factor in a picky eater, or family members with differing taste buds, and planning meals can seem like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are more than a few ways to whip up fast dinners that are healthy and fun; these are some of our favorites.
1. Use Themed Meals
You’ve heard of Taco Tuesday, or maybe your family can make every Sunday into pizza-and-a-movie night. Why not take the idea of themed meals to the next level? Assign each day a particular category of food such as:
You get the idea! Changing things up every day helps you narrow down the available options so that you’re not overwhelmed, while still leaving plenty of wiggle room.
Plus, assigning different foods to each day of the week creates effortless meal planning. If the kids ever get tired of the pattern, you can always adjust the rotation every month or so to keep things fresh in the kitchen.
2. Belly Up to the Bar
A make-your-own bar, that is! This is a great way to get kids invested in their food, and it also makes dinner time more fun. You can do a taco or tostada bar with lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, salsa, cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno peppers. Or try a baked potato bar with toppings such as cheese, sour cream, diced ham or crumbled bacon, diced broccoli, and minced chives.
Make-your-own bars are pretty low-stress for the cook. Other than cooking up the taco filling or baking the potatoes, all you have to do is open some jars and chop up some veggies. It also takes away the challenge of having a picky eater in the family. If everyone makes their own version of dinner, everyone gets what they want! Even if it is plain for some of the kids.
A make-your-own-pizza dinner takes a bit more effort because you have to cook the individual pizzas, but it’s still fairly easy and one of the most fun dinners ever! Use store-bought pizza dough or flat bread to make the prep easier. Keep it simple with one sauce or get a few to choose from. Everyone adds their favorite toppings to create their own personal pizza.
3. Snack for Your Supper
Who says that dinner has to be a meat-and-potatoes meal? Sometimes it’s better to stay on the lighter side, especially if you eat late. For people who are trying to keep their weight under control or maybe have digestion issues, dinner should really be the smallest meal of the day. A fun way to do this is to set out a platter of healthy snacks, nibbles, and noshes instead of making a large meal.
What to include on your snack tray? The options are endless at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce!
- Sliced salami or prosciutto
- Crackers or baguette slices
- Fresh fruit
- Crudité with ranch dip or hummus,
- dried fruits and nuts
- olives and pickles
Pro tip: Serving a variety of snacks is a good way to clean out the refrigerator, too.
If dinners at your house have become repetitive, it’s time to switch it up! You don’t have to serve elaborate meals or exotic ingredients. Sometimes all it takes is presenting the food in a new and creative way. So, the next time your kids (or spouse) asks, “What’s for dinner?” try one of these solutions!
What are your best tips for meal planning, dealing with a picky eater, or making dinnertime more fun? Share them in the comment section!