You know how every day around a certain time, this thing rolls around where everyone in your house expects to be fed? They've already had a snack after school (or if it's summer, they've been eating every hour since they woke up) and now they are hovering, wanting to ask, but knowing they are not supposed to ask,
"What's for dinner?"
Ugh, it's that time again. Why does this have to happen every. single. day? As a stereotypical American mom, it's been ingrained in my mind that I'm supposed to make my family a meal every day. Now, that's not exactly how I was raised, however. My dad was the mealmaker, but there was still a meal- and boy, was it a meal! My dad always had a meat, potato and vegetable every night. Sure, we occasionally had pasta or on the rare occasion pizza, but we were pretty well-fed and my dad was an amazing cook. We even lived out in the country and grew our own vegetables. But my dad worked full-time and prepared a meal every night- and he seemed to enjoy it.
I sure as $hit did not inherit that gene. I would say that I'm a decent cook, but in no way do I enjoy cooking. And I've unfortunately raised some picky eaters. I don't make a separate meal for everyone, if they don't like something, they just eat more of the thing they do like. But in the last year or so, my husband has taken over the dinner making, and unfortunately his repertoire is extremely limited. He's a bit of a grilled cheese, ramen noodle and frozen food kind of guy. In fact, he knows how to use our air fryer WAY better than I do.
So here is my personal conundrum. What is considered a "quality" meal? I once met a fellow baseball mom in Little League that had like seven kids and they seemed really great and she homeschooled them through high school. I asked her what she did for dinner when they were so busy and she said they had a lot of frozen pizza. I was shocked and it made me realize that maybe it was okay to feed my kids frozen pizza on a regular basis. But I keep coming back to this question about cereal. Shouldn't cereal be an okay replacement for dinner sometimes?
My husband doesn't think so, but I beg to differ. They load cereal up with vitamins these days it seems like, so as long as I'm not just feeding them pure sugar flakes, wouldn't it be a better choice than ramen noodles? I was doing some research and according to the Food Network, "Many cereals deliver whole grain, fiber, vitamins, and minerals all in one bowl..." (2022). Even the cereals that have marshmallows or frosting have found a way to hide some sort of nutrients in them. Plus if you add milk, whether it is dairy, almond, soy, etc., you're getting that added nutrition there as well.
What do you think? In a country where many others see us as eating to excess and meat, potato and vegetable might be out of the question for some, am I wrong to think eating cereal for dinner is okay? What are some other options you might have for a parent that struggles with ideas every day? I also have a daughter that's vegetarian, but dislikes most vegetables and many fruits, so that's always fun. Perhaps my third husband will be a personal chef. 😆