While at the beginning of the pandemic, cooking elaborate meals and taking on new baking projects may have been a novelty and felt rewarding, at this point, coming up with meal ideas may just feel like a chore. Add picky kids into the mix and it’s no wonder that we’re all feeling kitchen burnout!

Take the pressure off of yourself to create composed meals each night, and involve kids in cooking with “make your own” dinners. Besides assuring that everyone will enjoy their meals, involving kids in the process increases the likelihood that they’ll try something new. During this difficult time, it will also give kids a sense of control, boost their self-confidence by being able to do something on their own, and make meals easier and more pleasant for everyone. Plus, it’s a great way to use up small amounts of leftover ingredients that may otherwise become food waste. Just lay out the ingredients and let everyone build their own. Try some of the below ideas to get started.

Taco Night:

  • Whole wheat tortillas, taco shells
  • Seasoned ground turkey, beef or chicken; Black or refried beans
  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage; Chopped tomatoes; Sliced olives; Sliced red onion, Sliced bell peppers, Seeded and sliced jalapeños
  • Cheese; Greek yogurt; Sliced avocado; Taco sauce, Salsa

Pizza Party:

  • Pizza dough (make your own or pick up from a local pizzeria or grocery store); Pita; English muffins; Premade pizza crust (fresh or frozen)
  • Marinara sauce; Pesto
  • Shredded mozzarella, Jack, Colby or Cheddar cheese; Parmesan cheese; Ricotta cheese
  • Sliced bell peppers; Onions; Mushrooms; Olives; Broccoli; Artichokes; Garlic; Cooked and crumbled sausage

Mediterranean Feast:

  • Pita; Cooked whole wheat couscous; Cooked orzo
  • Grilled chicken kebabs; Baked falafel; Chickpeas; Grilled fish; Cooked lentils
  • Chopped kale; Cherry tomatoes, Cucumbers; Sliced onions; Artichokes; Roasted red peppers
  • Grape leaves; Olives; Feta cheese; Hummus; Tzatziki

Amanda Buthmann MS, RD is a pediatric and family nutritionist at Lara Metz Nutrition in NYC. For more information contact her at Amanda@larametznutrition.com, or visit www.larametznutrition.com.
Now also taking virtual appointments