Now that we can’t go out to restaurants and rely on the blessed kids’ menu — classic crutch of avoidant parent chefs like myself — many of us are struggling to come up with three square meals a day for ourselves, let alone our kids. And if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands? Fuggedaboudit. But lucky for us lazies, Joanna Gaines just shared a simple hack she has for forcing — er, inspiring — her kids to branch out their meals: Let each kid plan one meal per week.
Sounds easy enough. Too easy to work, in fact. But actually, if you’ve got multiple kids in the house, their sheer tendencies towards competition will likely win out, motivating each kid to try the other’s recipe pick — and maybe even your (more elegant) parental recipe choices to boot.
In this week’s issue of People, Gaines explains that she and husband Chip try to inspire the kids to eat a variety of foods by making “them a big part of the meal-planning process,” she says. “Sunday nights I let each of them pick a recipe for the week. Everyone gets a say. I feel like that’s how you set up a win.”
“I remind myself of a kid, so I knew exactly what was going on,” she said of trying to get the kids to try new foods. “They wanted what was familiar, but it was fun to push them to be open-minded. We have always raised the kids to be thankful for what’s served. It can be a struggle, but when I cook something, I tend to just cook it, and hopefully they will eat it. They give me feedback.”
If you’re not up to date on the Gaines tribe, know that it’s quite a crew: including baby Crew himself, the youngest kiddo at 21 months, plus Emmie (10), Duke (11), Ella (13), and Drake (15).
A few days ago, Joanna shared a video of her cooking alongside her daughter. She wrote alongside the video that “after being home for almost two weeks now, everyone has found their own creative ways to spend their days. I’ve loved the extra time I’ve gotten in the kitchen to create and make meals for the family.”
She also told People that her 10-year-old is becoming the next family homemaker: “Emmie, she reminds me a lot of me [when it comes to] the garden and cooking. I think that’s where we both connect the most together,” Joanna said.
Clearly, involving the kids in the meal planning and cooking is working for this fam. Will it also work for me, a single mom stuck at home with my four-year-old who has zero interest in cooking unless what we’re making is chocolate chip cookies? I will report back.
Until then, at least we can ogle Joanna’s pristine kitchen (as if our kids would ever allow us to have such a thing) from the confines of our own muddy, Cheerio-scattered messes.
Here are some of our favorite Gaines decor picks.