I’m late to send this out because I just got to my summer dinner rotation. Because we moved at the beginning of summer, I’ve been winging it with dinner. Well, not winging it exactly but not planning as much as usual.
Making a rotation helps me define my cooking goals for summer. Instead of generic Italian night, I’m trying pasta night. I’d like to experiment with different sauces and cook whatever vegetables I have on hand. I don’t want anything too complex for summer. I will also have the kids make the pasta from start to finish, while I work on the sauce and veggies.
Grilling will also take center stage on Thursdays and the weekend too. While I have some placeholder meals listed, I will check with the hubs to see what he wants to do since he is the official “griller.” I’m pretty loose with my planning in the summer because plans always change. But it’s a list of meals I will turn to every week so I don’t have to think too much.
Here are some recipes I’ve saved and plan to try or tweak:
Grilled Pork Chops and Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
How is your summer meal planning going (or not going)?
The Chip Talk (and Late Dinners)
Do you ever feel like summer is one big chip? Every party or get together has some type of chip (or all types). And my kids love chips. I don’t mind the chip frenzies every once and a while but when you got the 4th of July followed by a family happy hour at the pool and the next day going over to a friend’s house to swim, it can seem never-ending.
So I had the “chip talk” with my kids. It went something like this:
Now that it’s summer, and we are going to more parties and get-togethers, you are making more food choices. I know chips are yummy but if you have too many of them — day in and day out — they crowd out your appetite for other food. You both are growing and what you put in your body matters. So try to be aware of chips and balance it out with other foods. Maybe try making a plate of the appetizer food, enjoy it, and then wait for the main meal? When you just pick at food* — it’s harder to listen to your tummy than when you sit and enjoy the food.
*my personal favorite: coming out of the pool, grabbing chips with wet hands, and jumping back in the pool
Now one talk never does it with kids so I will send reminders and guide them.
Another thing that has changed is our usual 6-6:30 dinner time has been after 7 most nights. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s nice not to be in a rush. On the other hand, I prefer an earlier dinner. And bedtimes have been later too. And this affects me because I can no longer get to bed at 9 pm. This doesn’t work because I count on the time in the morning to get work done while the kids sleep.
So on the nights nothing is going on, I’m striving to get dinner on the table earlier and get the kids — and myself — to bed earlier. If they aren’t tired, they can read. But of course, there will be the nights we stay up late because it’s summer. I’m just going to try and balance it with early nights (like the chips).
I guess that sums up summer. You start off going full steam ahead and realize in time you need some balance.
In my upcoming monthly newsletter, I’ll dish about how I’m building positive habits with my kids this summer. And it’s way easier than ever thanks to advice from two of my podcast guests (one soon to be published).
I’ll leave you with some links. The first is a guest post I wrote about infant feeding and the second includes a quote from me. Let me know how you are doing in the comments!
The Sleep Lady: 5 of the Biggest Changes in Infant Feeding (and What Hasn’t Changed)
Parents: What to Do if Your Child is Always Hungry
The Nourished Child: Milk Nutrition Showdown: Which One is Best for My Child?
Real Mom Nutrition: Why You Should Serve Meals Family Style
NY Times: Cranky Baby? Feeding May Not be the Right Answer
Want to learn more about creating your own dinner rotation? Check out my book The Family Dinner Solution
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