Make Mealtime Easy

The Secret Is Getting The Kids To Contribute

How do you do it?

That’s the question I am most often asked. How do you get them to hockey, soccer, swimming, dance? But the lifestyle issue people are most curious about is how do you feed them? The Them of whom they speak are my six children. Five boys and one girl. Kallum is 22, Connor 17, Liam 15, MJ 12, Savita 9 and, last in line to the throne, Kieran is 7. Feeding the Them is an adventure. I’m happy to say for the last ten years I have led a lunch and supper stress free life. Here's how...

The Right Portions For the little ones, their fist size as a portion is enough. Savita usually takes a bit more. Matt (my husband) and Connor have, shall we say, well developed appetites. Kallum, Liam, MJ and I are about the same. If they would like more, we add small portions.

Less Waste We aren’t obsessed with finish what’s on your plate. We’ve taken the time to find out how much is just right. Eat slowly. Enjoy the taste - there’s love in there!

We Eat Well That is to say fast food, boxed food, processed and prepared foods are out. Fresh and local and made from scratch are in.

So, how do I do it? My husband and I sat down with the children with a sheet of paper. On the sheet were the numbers 1-31. We asked Kallum what his favourite food was. Chicken Curry and Rice with Roti. Kallum was born on the 23rd so beside the number 23, I put his fav down and on the 23rd of each month, that’s what I serve. Connor is ham casserole on the 24th, Liam is tacos (home made from scratch using spinach wraps) on the sixth, MJs is lasagna on the third. When the younger two were born we added their favs. Savita is homemade mac n cheese on the sixth and Kieran is homemade pizza on the tenth. Matt and I then filled in the rest with meals they like. In a one week stretch you will find two red meat meals, two chicken, two pork and one vegetarian.

I shop to the meal list which makes shopping easy. Seriously - shopping and meal time - easy. If I see a new recipe, I try it and eventually it makes its way in and an old recipe falls off the list. The children built the list so they like the food. If there’s something they do not like, they know my answer will be, this is not a restaurant, pick it out and eat the rest. Sometimes I sneak things in - dice up that zucchini so small they can’t tell. Sometimes the ingredient makes the flavour of the dish but they don’t like it so I leave the pieces in pick me out sizes - like onions.

Left overs are for my husband and I to take to work. Lunches, again, we talked about favourite foods. My husband and I won’t make eight different lunches so the children compromise. A few items are different but easy to include. On a sheet, we have the child’s name on the left and the days of the week across the top. The sheet is divided into morning snack, a three course lunch and an afternoon snack. Again, I shop to the lunch requirements. The children like their lunches because they have invested in the meal plan. No repetition either - always a bonus! In the mornings they are able to help - it’s written out for them to follow - even better!!

Our family enjoys food. We love trying new foods. From roasted feta and portabella mushrooms to wicked garlic guacamole, from mussels to quail and bison (their choices for holiday meals last year!). Food is another experience we can share. Eating plays a major role in our lives and why not? It allows us to share suppers together. Eight of us around the table, sharing stories, laughing and loving each other.

Katia a mother of six. Five boys and one girl (the rose amongst thorns as Katia calls her). Four of her boys have a pot pourri of neurological disorders, from Aspergers, to Autism, ADHD, ODD and Dysmethic Disorder.

Katia has been a journalist for 23 years and is currently working full time as a producer. She teaches film and TV editing part time at a local college. She has been a birthing companion for 15 years, a child birth educator for ten and a breast feeding consultant. She is also the co-care giver of a dog, a hedgehog, a budgie, a gecko, a cat and a snake. Who is she kidding? She's actually the primary caregiver..... but that's another tale.