Confession time...I'm not the cook in my family. I do make lunch for my kids, but it is my husband who prepares dinner almost every night and he is wonderful at it. However, we are equal partners in the weekly meal planning process. We both try to come up with meals based on what we have on hand, what's on sale for the week and what the whole family will enjoy. You will see from our weekly menu plans that we use rice in many of the recipes we make regularly. It is a inexpensive pantry staple that can really stretch the grocery budget.
When planning meals we do have to consider the picky eater in the family, my 5 year old son. To get him to eat healthy can be a struggle. If we're making something like a casserole he won't eat it. We overcome this dinner obstacle when cooking by separating the food items he will eat. If it's a chicken and rice casserole some of the cooked chicken and plain rice is set aside for him. We know he'll eat peas, so that's a veggie we try to throw in the mix more often. When my son helps decide what's for dinner and is part of the dinner making process he is much more willing to give new foods or foods he thinks he doesn't like a try. Most of the time he is a great helper and is glad to be the runner to grab needed seasonings or other ingredients. He also enjoys to help if there is any stirring, scooping or sprinkling involved.Uncle Ben's wants to encourage families to get in the kitchen and cook together and so they have launched a national contest called Ben's Beginners. Enter the contest and you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school. You'll also have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show. If you have children ages 5-12 you can submit a 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice-based dish with your children to enter. There is a limit of five entries per parent and only one entry per child. For more details be sure to check out Uncle Ben's on Facebook.
My family might not be traditional in the sense of having mom in the kitchen more often than dad, but one thing I know we're doing right is taking the time to sit down around the table and share a meal together. It's important for us to have that time together to connect and hopefully will lead to my children making healthy choices not only in what they put in their bodies, but also for what they decide to do with their bodies as they grow up.
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.