Recently, I read an article that was truly helpful and actually has changed my life. Here is the article. Maybe you have read it too. I’m not going to lay out for you what our days look like revolving around food, but let me just say mealtime is my arch nemesis. I used to love cooking, but nowadays mealtime is nothing but whining and complaining and arguing and refusing to eat all together because “I don’t like it.” Well newsflash…I don’t like it either. I hate this thing we do every day and believe me I’ve read all the advice and tried it.
Make sure they have at least one thing they like on their plate.
Don’t be a short order cook. You cook it. They eat it or they don’t eat.
Give them whatever they will eat. Does it really matter all that much?
etc, etc, etc.
Well, this article provided me with not only a solution to many of my issues, but also some great comedic relief. I laughed until I cried the first time I took the bigs shopping.
In preparation for our shopping experience I purchased 2 clipboards and printed meal plan calendars for each of them. I told them I would give them each $30 and they get to buy their breakfasts, snacks and lunches for the week. Well, really Monday – Friday, but we are adjusting this come next week. I cannot express to you how excited they were and how “grown” they felt. Also, I did not limit them too much in what they are able to purchase. The only rule the first week was that they would only be allowed a sweet breakfast twice a week. (I knew they would immediately fly to the cereal isle, because we just don’t eat cereal here)
They each got their own grocery cart and clipboard in hand and got started. As expected, they went straight for the cereal. Once those decisions were made, they began looking for other items. Both of them stopped in their tracks at the beef jerky. My kids love beef jerky! This was the first time I think they have noticed how much something costs. They couldn’t believe the beef jerky was so expensive. They still wanted it though, so they put it in their carts. As they did so, Lily said “Maybe we don’t have to buy the beef jerky. Uncle Ryan makes the best beef jerky in the world. I’m sure he would give us some for free. Especially cause I’m his girl.” I. died. Yes! It’s working.
Levi’s next move was to finish his breakfast shopping, so he made a bee line to the bacon. Let me just tell you. Whenever I make bacon they eat the entire pound. If I cook more, they eat more. I can’t say that I blame them, but it just isn’t affordable. As Levi made his way to the bacon he saw the price. He had not even come to a complete stop when I heard him audibly gasp. Yes! He was gasping at the price of bacon. He never even stopped, but instead turned and went straight for the sausage patties. Again. I. died.
Bless Lily’s heart. She did a great job and even tried to throw some salad in there. No matter that she never ate it. She was really trying to be healthy. Along with her weathers originals, fruit snacks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Levi decided he wanted to have lunchables every day since it was easier and of course so colorful and fun looking! He found lunchable that cost $2.49 and put it in his cart. He didn’t pick up anymore and began searching for something else for the rest of his lunches. As he was searching he came across another lunchable. This one was only $1! He was so excited, but as I didn’t want him to starve, I decided to point out the fact that he could probably consume this lunchable in 3 bites. He thought about it for a minute and instead…settled on a pack of hot dogs.
There is no way for me to underestimate how much fun I had during this shopping experience. They were both so careful to not go over budget and really did a pretty good job planning their meals for the week.
We have already had round two and again it went well, but I’m realizing there are a few changes I need to make. First of all, we are either going to plan 7 days a week or reduce the budget to $20. They really don’t need that much money. Second, I’m going to have to add an additional restriction on the sugar intake as they want something sweet at every meal.
All in all it has been a fabulous experiment. Levi has been learning to use the grill because he won’t eat a microwaved hot dog. He has even prepared them for his friends. They are both taking on a little more responsibility which is awesome and did I mention school starts in a couple of weeks? School lunch madness?
NOT. MY. RESPONSIBILITY.
How’s that for winning?