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Episode #28: Food and Family Dynamics: How to Like your Kids, Husband and Mealtime with Ahuva Magder Hershkop

By May 5, 2020 Loyalty

Episode #28: Food and Family Dynamics: How to Like your Kids, Husband and Mealtime with Ahuva Magder Hershkop

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What You’ll Discover in this Episode:

  • How meal planning actually affects family dynamics.
  • Ways to make a visual meal plan to get kids excited.
  • Why giving kids a choice about their food will actually get them excited to eat it.
  • How to become aware of your stories surrounding food and meal times.
  • The ways you and your spouse can work together to reduce stress around food.
  • How to look at snack time differently!

The Micro Version…you know, like the version of the story you wish your seven year old would tell you about the Lego creation they made:

Stress surrounding meal times is nothing new for families. You or your man spend countless hours in the kitchen, not sure what to make, searching for ingredients, and then when you finally finish your masterpiece, your kids aren’t interested in eating it. We don’t tend to notice the amount of energy our food requires, which can put a strain on our relationships in general. On today’s episode, we are going to chat about new strategies to use when it comes to meal prep and getting our kids (and husbands) to get on board!

Rather read it while sitting in the carpool line? Read the full transcript below.

Rachel:

Hey everyone, welcome back to another week of How to Like Your Husband. I’m so glad you are here today for a little change up. We’re going to do something a little bit new, a little bit different. Um, and, and why not? I mean, we’re in the midst of the craziest time going on in our country and in our world and so why not change things up here as well. Um, today I am going to interview Ahuva Magder Hershkop and she’s a mother of almost three year old twins, a registered dietician and an online course creator. She runs a pediatric based nutrition practice in Toronto that’s focused on working with families to reduce meal time stress, support, positive family mealtimes and support mothers in reducing the mental load of feeding their families. She also believes in the immense power of a successful family meal, but that as busy moms giving our family the nourishing meal they deserve can only take so much out of us.

Look, this is a great time for this. If you have wanted to put better practices in place and your home for feeding your kids and introducing new foods to them, or just really, getting on the same page with your husband and making sure that mealtimes are as stress free as possible while creating an atmosphere of health and wellness within your home. This is the episode for you. She has got some great tips and you know, I think all of us as moms can, can relate to how this affects our marriage as well. Because I say there’s probably more than one of us that have had the argument over what we should be doing with the kids during dinner time and what that looks like for each of us. So we’re going to talk about all of that and dig into it today with Ahuva. I’m so glad you’re here for it.

Hi, thank you so much for being here on How to Like Your Husband. I’m so excited to have you and hear all the things that you can share with our group today.

Ahuva:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Rachel:

I feel like what you do is so important and going to be so timely for people as they’re home with their kids more because as we’re recording this, a lot of us are in the midst of the stay home or um, or a stay at home order and we’re spending a lot more time with our kids, which can be stressful. So can you, before we dig into marriage and those kinds of things, can you kind of tell us what you do?

Ahuva:

So I’m a registered dietician by profession and I work with families to create successful meal times to avoid meal time stress and to support mothers in particular in reducing the mental overwhelm that comes from feeding their families. 

Rachel:

I love that. I feel like everybody that just listened to it might want to like hit that like back ten second thing. And listen to it again to get it in their mind, but she’s going to help us get our kids to eat in a healthier manner. Right. Is that the thing? Okay. Without stress? I like that. I like that a lot. So first before we kind of dig into that more the first question I generally ask everybody is if they can tell us a little bit about their family and their marriage story and tell us, you know, what you have there at home?

Ahuva:

Totally. So we’ve been married now for about six years, I want to say six years, in May. We have three year old twins at home. Um, so we definitely have lots going on, especially, you know, now that we’re all home together. So yeah, there’s, there’s just the four of us at home. My husband is a lawyer, so now is also a difficult time cause he’s a working full time and you know, our kids are home as well. Um, but that’s our little family.

Rachel:

All right. Awesome. I love it. So let’s dig into this because, um, we’re gonna, we’re gonna interview like normal, just as if this was normal times, but then also I want you to give us that extra bump for while we’re with our kids so much more right now. So you told us what you do for families and I want to know, um, what you feel like are some tips and tricks that moms especially cause that’s the audience here can use to reduce the stress.

Meal Planning

Ahuva:

Completely. That’s a really great question. Two of my favorites, um, are number one, creating a menu for your family. Um, and I think that’s something that is incredibly important all the time. Um, and I think that is even more so important now for the times that we’re in. And you know, a lot of people who are listening are like, Oh, menu, a meal planning. Like does it happen? That whole thing. And I don’t wanna plan a menu and all of those kinds of things. Right.

Rachel:

I am one of those people.

Ahuva:

Right? Totally. And I hear it and I’m also kind of one of those people. Um, but I think that we all have to remember as moms, whether you’re, you know, we’re working professional, whether you’re a stay at home mom, whatever you have going on, I run a free community on Facebook. It’s called the “Busy Moms Guide” because I think that as moms, there’s one thing we can all agree on is that we’re all incredibly busy.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like I have any extra brain space during the day. You know, sometimes I don’t think that we all always realize how much goes into the decision making of, you know, what’s going to be for meal time, right? It’s, it sounds silly, but you know, am I going to have fish or chicken or pasta or steak? That’s one decision.

When you’ve settled on chicken, how am I going to make it? What are we going to do? What do I have to start making it? What sides am I going to have? All of these questions just need energy from us. And it can be incredibly draining when we have something else going on already. Right? And the ability to sit down during, you know, one time of the day, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to make a 16 course meal. If you want to say Tuesday night we’re having frozen peas and carrots and frozen fish sticks. I’m just as happy like I, you know, I don’t care. But the ability to make that decision and get rid of that decision fatigue is massive for moms in terms of how we’re showing up to meal time because when we’re showing up stressed, everyone else is showing up stressed.

Making a Visual Meal Plan

And that can just start really, you know, a lot of power struggles right away. Especially now for moms who are cooking, you know, breakfast, lunch, dinner, there’s snacks that we weren’t planning on having. That’s massive for people. 

The second thing is making the menu visual. So I have  a template that I can share with your audience just to create a visual menu for your kids. Because sometimes you also don’t realize it is the surprise of meal time. Sometimes we don’t, our kids are picky eaters. Or even if they just, you know, show up some mealtime and they don’t want to eat what we put in front of them. Sometimes it’s just a surprise was too much. Right? If you have a first grader who’s getting, you know, getting used to sitting in a desk all day and they’re coming home and they’re just like, so you know, pent up energy in these sense, so much of their, their own mental energy getting used to that and they want, you know, French toast for breakfast and you’re like, actually we’re having chicken breasts.

That dichotomy for them, it’s just too much. Right? And so we have to also now remember, especially that our kids are living in just as uncertain times as we are, right? And every day they’re going to use your new normal the same way that we are. And sometimes when they show up to lunch or dinner or whatever meal it is, and there’s a surprise, it’s like this, you know, just total overload for them. So a visual menu is just something that can be helpful. Like, again, it can be something as simple as, you know, writing down like we’re having cheese and crackers for an afternoon snack, but it’s something that everyone can see. So that element of surprise is just totally taken down, which means that our kids are showing up less stress to meal time.

Rachel:

Okay. I love this. So I have questions that I want to ask about both of these things and kind of dig into them a little bit more with the menu that you were talking about and kind of laying that out in advance. This is something that’s worked really well for my family in the past, especially when I was not at home but I was working as well.  And we were having to, like, by the time we’d get everybody picked up and get home and it was like, you know, chaos has taken over. And so, one thing that we did was that we made a list of like 20 things and some of them repeated. So like our family loves breakfast for dinner. We probably have that once a week. Right. So it was really on there multiple times, but so we’d have like 20 things that we kept the food for in the house all the time. So, you know, and then, um, if we got home and we didn’t know what we were doing, it was as simple as walking over there, like, you know, flicking your finger at it and there you go and you have everything you need for that. And that really set us up for success in a time.  Yes. Did we repeat spaghetti and tacos and a breakfast and burgers? 

Ahuva:

Pretty much “Oh-no meals”. I always tell families to have a list of “oh-no meals,” as in like, oh no, I didn’t think about what I’m making for dinner. There are things that you, you know, I had that list as well of like, if it’s, you know, five 30 and my kids are starving already cause they’re little, right. And thought about what’s for dinner, here’s something I can throw together in like 30 seconds and have it on the table. 

Rachel:

Right. I would also consider them the like, no, no meals because literally no one in my house says no to them. If I’m like, it’s taco night, even if we had taco night yesterday, they’re like, yes, let’s go. Right. So, um, I think having those things is it a huge, huge help. So, um, how do you feel like having that list, like do you suggest that couples do that together?

Is that generally a mom thing? Does it just depend on the family dynamic? Because like at my house, I don’t really cook, so my husband cooks most of the time. And if I cook it’s from that list. Right? It’s like the standards. And then my kids, two of our four kids have nights that they cook as well. Yeah, that is, that has been huge. Two of them really like to cook. It’s like a thing that they enjoy doing. And I’m like, well why would I take that from you? Because I hate doing it. So what do you feel like the family dynamic, you know, pulls into that?

Considering the Family Dynamic

Ahuva:

I think it, it really, it depends for every family, right? Like my husband does not cook. He’ll tell you. It’s mostly cause, you know, I don’t want him in my kitchen, but it’s just, you know he doesn’t really cook. My kids are little. So I’m the one who really makes the decisions for what we’re having for meals when we talk about how to create a healthy structure, in terms of, of healthy eating at home, there’s something called the division of responsibility that we talk about at meal time. And really it outlines that, um, that, you know, parents are responsible for deciding what’s going to be for meals, when they’re going to happen. How we’re all going to serve them, just to decide if they want to eat and if they want eat, how much they want to eat of it.

So generally it’s great, like as you’re saying, you know, your kids love to cook. Um, we always love it if kids make decisions like that and they want to get involved. Um, having that happen, let’s say away from meal time. 

So for people whose kids are younger, it can be as simple as like if your children are asking like, we want pancakes for dinner. Right. We can all agree that’s going to happen on like Wednesday night if everyone is okay with that. If parents are okay with that. And if kids love to cook, I think it’s fantastic. Um, there’s, there’s a doctor in, um, Ottawa actually in Canada. His thing is it’s 11 by 11, and he wants his kids to be able to make 11 things by the time they’re 11 years old, so that when they go out into the world, they have the skills to be able to cook.

Important Life Skills

Because being able to prepare food is a really important life skill in terms of actually being able to, you know, maintain a healthy diet, right? Like if you’ve always been able to eat healthfully, whatever that means to you because your parents cooked for you, I’m going to be a little bit of trouble like your first year in university. When there nobody there to, to do that for you. Um, so I really think it does just depend on the family dynamic. If, you know, if your husband loves to cook, then you know, he would probably be the one who’s making more of the, um, decisions about what’s going to be for dinner depending on what, you know, how much time he might have to prep. Um, but I always do love the idea of everyone maybe, you know, sitting down at the beginning of the week and saying like, does anyone have any requests that we can maybe see if we can accommodate?

Giving Your Kids Decision-Making Abilities

Rachel:

Yeah. So two things. One way that we, um, kind of took control of that and our house just because obviously the two kids that like to cook, they also constantly want to know what’s dinner, you know, and so this way, um, on Sundays, uh, my husband and I plan out the week of who’s cooking, what night. And then the kids get to cook, you know, get to pick what they are cooking that night. But we also can tell them what we’re cooking on the other nights and that helps them a lot. And then, um, the other thing is, you know, my kids are a little bit older now, so, um, it’s different in my house. But when they were little something you said about them getting to make choices, I always felt like that was so important to allow them to make choices, but still know that the final decision rests with you. So one way that we, um, made sure that that didn’t go into complete chaos is to limit the choices down to like two or maybe three, not just say, what vegetable do you want for dinner? When their answer is going to be, I don’t want a vegetable, what’s in her or whatever. You know, what would be to say, do you want peas tonight or do you want carrots tonight? You know, which, which one do you want to eat tonight? And that’s an easy choice to give kids.

Ahuva:

And this happens in a lot of different, you know, like if I say to my kids, am I going to carry you upstairs to the bath or are you going to walk by herself? Right? Either way you’re going upstairs, right. I haven’t given them a choice in that, but allowing kids to feel empowered to have choice, whether it’s how we’re getting upstairs or which of two vegetables, you know, you’re going to choose. And for kids who really struggle with being able to make that decision, I sometimes tell parents to give them the choice of one that they, you know, if you just want them to have a vegetable like one that they like and when they really don’t like, so that it’s, it’s a very clear choice. Like, you know, I prefer A instead of B. Um, but kids love being able to make decisions. And the truth is for younger kids, meal time is one of the only places they get to do it.

Rachel:

Right. Um, I think another reason that it’s so important to give them the option to make these decisions is that we see, you know, we have teenagers and so we have a lot of teenagers go through our house because of that. Not right now because you know, stay home and coronavirus. But normally we have a lot of teenagers go through our house. And um, one thing I noticed is that sometimes you have kids that like literally don’t know how to make decisions. And I worry for those kids in college, if you don’t know how to make some, uh, some decisions in your life, it can be, you can really flounder when you get out into the real world. And I think that we can start that as easily as, do you want to wear blue socks or black socks today you are going to wear socks, right? You are going to wear socks, you are going to take a bath. You can either walk there yourself or I can carry you. What’s your preference? You know? And it gives them that ability to learn that as a skill, as a lifestyle.

Ahuva:

Which is like such an important life skill.

Rachel:

Yeah, I agree 100%. So I have a question that just popped into my mind while you were talking about breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and I kind of have an opinion on this, but I’d like to hear from somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about. How do you feel about snacks with kids? And like, is there too much of that going on? Do we really need to eat it that often? What’s your take?

Rules Around Food

Ahuva:

Totally, so, I mean kids should eat roughly three to four hours. It sort of depends. Um, it’s fairly normal for kids. So let’s say, you know, my kids had breakfast at 8:30 if they’re going to have lunch at 11:30, there’s no real need for a snack. Um, I think snacks are important. They play an important role in being able to, you know, tide our kids over between meals. Um, I do think that they’re very often overused. I think that, you know, kids ask for snacks very often, right? A lot of times they’ll say like, my kids love snacks needs and they don’t love meal food. Right. Of course everybody loves snack food more than, it’s like me too. If we could eat Oreos all day, like, um, but you know, I think it’s important to remember that first of all, um, I always loved the idea of having a kitchen’s closed policy.

So no snacks for an hour before a meal and an hour after a meal because anything that happens in there, um, will, will impact the meal. But also remembering that hunger is not an emergency. So, you know, very often parents will be like, well, you know, dinner is going to be in half an hour. My child is saying that they’re hungry now. Okay. Like, that’s, that’s not the end of the world. And maybe that’s because, you know, you forgot to give them, you know, they had lunch at 12 and dinners, not till five or six. They probably should’ve had a snack in between, but maybe it should have happened, you know, closer to three o’clock, four o’clock, and now at five o’clock, they’re starving. Maybe we can bump up dinner if it’s ready. Um, but we don’t need to like, you know, I feel like alarm bells go off in mom’s heads in particular as soon as their child says that they’re hungry. Right. So I think snacks play a really important role, but we can’t overuse them.

Rachel:

So, I think that’s a life skill too. Learning how to be hungry, that is really complicated for parents. I’m not sure why I don’t, I don’t have this issue, but I grew up with not a lot of money and not snack foods in the house. I mean, we ate at our meal times and there was not extra stuff. And, so the idea of snacking is not as big for me. And I think because of that it wasn’t as big for our boys who are older, they’re teenagers, both of them are going to be heading off to college and that here this year. So, it’s not as big of a thing for them, but I do find with my girls, like I’m at home and I don’t think it’s that it’s the hunger, I think it’s like a time filler. I think it becomes a time filler and I feel like there’s value to knowing that. Like it’s okay to be hungry and know what that actually feels like as opposed to bored or dehydrated or, you know.

Ahuva:

So I also do think though that a lot of moms associate, um, you know, their child’s saying they’re hungry. Like I always say, you may as well take a red permanent marker and just like write an F on a mom’s forehead, right? Like they, you know, if your child says they’re hungry, you’re like, well you have failed as a mom cause how was your child’s hungry? You know, a lot of people will say to me, if they say, let’s say my child said they’re hungry 20 minutes after a meal, right? How can I not give them food? What kind of a mother withholds food for their child? 

Rachel:

The kind that’s going to teach their children to eat during a meal. 

Ahuva:

So, and the way that I always say that is we have to reframe that because you’re right, like when you say it like that, that kind of sounds like a crappy mother.

Intuitive Eating

Like let’s just, you know, but um, but the reality is when we’re talking about, you know, there’s a movement called intuitive eating, which really sound super simple, which is just, you know, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, um, honoring your hunger. But is much more complicated when we put it into practice. But in order to raise intuitive eaters, we have to encourage our kids and teach them the skills of when you’re hungry, you should eat right. And if your child is telling you that they’re super hungry 20 minutes after a meal, they were hungry during meal, they just didn’t eat things that you gave them. Right? So instead of, you know, framing it as what kind of a mother hold withhold food from their child. We know if we do give them the food, then we’re teaching them that they don’t have to honor their hunger when they’re presented with food, right. You can be hungry if you’re presented with food and you should not eat when you’re hungry and then, you know, eat later. That’s not what we call raising intuitive eaters, right? When you’re hungry, you eat something. Right. Um, so it just sort of, you know, a simple reframe to the positive, but it’s a really difficult concept for a lot of mothers to hear their kids say, mommy, I’m hungry. Or, you know, mom, I’m hungry and then not give them food.

Rachel:

Yeah. You know, you’re so right. And I’ve never really thought about it like that. I think, um, that that is something that I’ve totally fallen victim of as, um, you know, when, when Mike and I first got married and we just had the boys and we were poor too and didn’t have a ton of money and it was, you know, snacks weren’t a, so we just ate at our meal time and that was the very normal. But now in a position where we’re more comfortable in life and you know, our business is more successful and we have the money. So I’m like, wait, okay, am I withholding snacks? Because it’s just like financial thing that’s in my mind still from my childhood. Like, am I putting my screwed up thinking on my kids over there? I mean, there can be so many games you play with yourself, right around food. I do think maybe food is one of the biggest mind games we can play with yourself. It’s like food, money and sex probably.

Ahuva:

Yeah. And I think it’s massive and I think, you know, that becomes massive even, you know, in a marriage, right? Because, um, there’s two people who come from two totally different. Like, I can even tell you, like my husband came from a family where there was just sort of food around and like when you were hungry you just ate it. Dinner food. Like it was just sort of like prepared in the fridge and like you just were there and you just ate it. Right. But there was like people, like everyone had their own like, you know, his sister had like his, her favorite yogurt and like you didn’t need that yogurt cause I was his sister’s yogurt. And like in my family, we all sat down to dinner most nights. My dad wasn’t always there if he was working late, but as I got older it was my whole family.

We all ate together at a designated time. Like whatever that was, if people had play practice or basketball practice, okay, fine. They weren’t there but we all did it anyway. And there was none of that in the fridge. It was just sort of like a, let me know if he finished something and my mom would buy more. Um, so we have very different like perceptions of what is normal when it comes to food. Right? So that’s something that’s really, um, I don’t even think something that people think about when they’re in a relationship. Right. What do you think about like compatibility? Most people are thinking about your, your sense on like, are we going to eat dinner together or not? And then that definitely becomes a thing when you have kids as well, right? Like what is,

Getting on the Same Page

Rachel:

So what do you recommend for people as far as like how to get on the same page and, um, you know, I know you coach women, so specifically for us, you know, I don’t, I’m not going to speak for everybody, but I tend to think I’m, that I’m the mom and I’m the one that knows the things. Right. And I, and like Mike and I will have conversations about things, but he’s always, I think because he was raised by his mom also. He very much like, he’ll voice his opinion. He’ll say, I think this, you know, uh, I, you could maybe do it like this. I dunno. But when it comes down to the end of the line, like he’s willing to defer to like my mom gut intuition or whatever that is. Um, but then even though he’ll defer to that, he’ll say, okay, well then let’s, you know, let’s go that route with it. It doesn’t always equal him enforcing it the same way that I did at our house, you know like to him a package of Doritos would be a perfectly acceptable snack and I would be like, there’s only one purpose for Doritos that’s just stain your couch. Um, you know, like that’s not, no. How do you recommend people get on the same page or, you know, do you see a lot of fighting? Like how do you eliminate the fighting about food? Like it’s huge.

Ahuva:

Totally, totally. And it can be mapped and like I’ve worked with, with couples who, you know, they, I do recommend like you go to marriage counseling or see someone to talk about these things because, you know, it’s so ingrained the differences that are in them. Um, so number one would be talking about it if you’re both seeing an issue. Um, and sometimes that’s not even the case, right? Sometimes it is like if you’re home with the kids and your husband is not, um, or vice versa. Cause there are families that it’s worse for sure. Um, you know, also being told like it’s not a big deal. It’s not to be who are not home, whether it’s, you know, sometimes I’d like our grandparents would say that’s not that it’s not a big deal, but if your partner, is not, home with you all the time.  It can be difficult to hear like you’re overreacting when you’re the one who’s having to fight at every meal to have your kids. So sometimes it’s as simple as even just showing your spouse why it’s so stressful for you, but really how it’s impacting you. Right? Saying, my child won’t eat broccoli and saying, I’m starting to resent my child and having to, you know, feed them all the time because it’s so stressful for me, are two very different things. Yeah, absolutely. Um, and I think one speaks to a partner on a very different level than just our kids are eating broccoli and them saying, who cares?

Rachel:

Yeah. I think, um, you know, this is How to Like Your Husband, I think the same can be said for your kids. We don’t always like our kids and when we have to go through like stressful situations with them over and over and over, like that resentment like you mentioned, I mean, it can build up to bitterness. It can be something that genuinely impacts your relationship with your kid and with your husband.

Recognizing Resentment

Ahuva:

Totally. I mean there’s lots of moms who do resent their husbands for not being the one who is dealing with it. Right. Or being the one who maybe is only home once a week and so wants to give the kids Doritos to the fun snack. Right. Yeah, totally. When you’re trying to instill, and there’s nothing wrong with, you know, with Doritos, like I’m not, not bashing snack food. Um, but you know, that kind of resentment when it really starts impacting. And that’s the level of stress that a lot of families that I work with are starting at where it’s not just that you’re chilling, your kids won’t eat vegetables. Right. Um, that’s one thing. But the other piece of it is you’re starting to fight with yourselves because either, you know, they’re not on board or they’re not around enough to see it, or they just don’t care or you feel alone in this and you’re starting terms like your kids because they’re not, you know, there are sort of like ruining your meal time or you spent three hours in the kitchen prepping something and then they don’t eat it and now you resent them for that time. All of that really impacts a whole family life. Um, so that’s massive.

Rachel:

Yeah. One thing that when we made changes here, um, we have a kid with Crohn’s and we have a kid that is gluten intolerant and when all that went down and there needed to be a shift in eating. I spent several months like trying to make these perfect diets and everybody that listens to this knows I don’t like to cook. So this is like I’m trying to be the best mom I can and provide this food, but I’m also having to do every day, multiple times a thing that I literally hate. I would go through this and then like Mike would swoop in one afternoon out and like, and feed them Chick-fil-A or whatever food that they are not supposed to eat and get to be the fun parent.  And so then I’m being the like bad parent in their eyes that’s taking away things that they left and right. He gets to go do the fun job or whatever, or give them things at home that were like, things that he would have in the house to eat. And so one way that I battled that beyond just talking to him about it and eventually getting on the same page, um, and him seeing like the pain that the kids would go through when they would eat this and having to put that in front of his face, like, look at like, come in here and look at what has happened. Right. But the other thing is I just stopped buying this stuff. Like, it’s really easy to not give your kids a soda for instance, if there’s just no soda in the house. Like I don’t drink soda and the kids don’t drink soda, so there’s just no soda in the house. And so, um, at the time, if Mike still wanted a soda, he would just get that when he was out. But you know, and the same for like, um, regular bread. Like we just, it’s just not in our house. Everybody eats gluten free bread. And that’s it. And that’s what I buy. And if they want something different, they get it, you know, when they go to a restaurant or whatever,

Ahuva:

Like you go out for, for dinner, you can order a, like whatever it is is definitely great because, and that sort of takes it from having to say no 16 million times in the course of a week to say no once, like you said, when you didn’t pick it up, you don’t have to say

Rachel:

Yeah. And it just, it allows you to say yes a lot more because then there’s things in the pantry that literally he could say yes to any of these and I can be okay with that. Right. So I don’t, I, I feel like we could keep digging into this more and more, but, um, I want to make sure that we get a little specific on strategies that we can use during stay home. And so in my mind, when I’m thinking this through, like the coaching that you do, I feel like there’s never been a better time. And the reason I say that is I am committed to coming out of this better, in some way. So I’m going to learn something. I’m going to improve something in our house currently. I have an ice tea, uh, addiction. You can go ahead and call it that. I don’t put sugar in it’s just black tea, but like it’s a problem. I’m a little crabby without it. Right? Well they closed my Starbucks. They don’t give you fountain drinks at the gas stations right now. I won’t even go in a gas station right now. So literally like I’m getting to cold turkey on giving up iced tea. Um, yes, I do know you can make that at home, but my ice is not as good and I also know how ridiculous that sounds, so it’s totally fine. 

Ahuva:

Are you kidding me? I was pregnant. I worked at um, at a hospital where they had like the crushed ice machines and still they fun to me that I like still want to go back to the hospital just for the crushed ice.

Stay At Home Strategies

Rachel:

I know I probably once a month get on Amazon and drool over. This pebble ice maker is like $500. It just sits on your counter. And I’m like, man, but if I think about what I spend in a year on a Starbucks tea or a fountain tea, like I probably could pay for that. It would be so worth it. But the point is I want to come out of this better, right? 

I’m trying to figure out what those things are that makes our family stronger and like we all are in this hurry to get back to normal. But was normal that great. We were so busy, we were, you know, constantly we have eaten at home so much, cooked so much, you know, done all of that our family has.

So I’m on board with those things. So I feel like there’s a lot of improvements. So in my mind, something like coaching that you do, man, you’re, you have every meal to put those practices well put them into practice, right? It put’s the tips and the strategies into practice. Whereas you know what, a month ago you would have only really gotten maybe dinner because breakfast is like thrown at someone as you’re like running out the door and lunch happens at school or whatever. So what do you think we can do with this day home to just really improve dinnertime, improve meal time at our house?

Ahuva:

Completely. Um, but I think that you, you know, you just said something really important, right? Like I think the number one is seeing this time as as crazy it is as it is. And like don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have chosen it. Right. And I only would have chosen it, like we don’t all agree, but to some degree it’s, it’s a gift. Right? And when, you know what you said, um, you know, Dave Hollis on his Instagram last week, that it was like in your rush to get back to normal. Like we, we need to evaluate which parts of normal are worth rushing back to, which is, you know, we all just, we get into a routine of doing things and sometimes like those things aren’t all that great. Right? And so I do think that it’s important to, number one, see this time as the gift that it is, right?

We have this time where kids are home normally, you know, we have even maybe other family members that we’re not seeing now who might undermine our, our um, you know, like our efforts or there’s aftercare programs where our kids are getting massive snacks before they’re coming home to dinner and then they’re not getting dinner or they’re his friends lunchboxes that our kids are comparing to or they’re all, you know, all those different things. That now just aren’t happening. So this is a really unique gift of time that families have. And you know, I say that knowing that there are some families for whom this is all just too much and you know, you’re just treading water and that is cool. If you, you know, if you hear me saying like, now was a gift of time to make changes and you’re like, I am up to my eyeballs, like I cannot do anything else.

Right? You do you. But I do encourage any family who says that to think about how much of that overwhelm and how much of that stress and how much of everything that’s going on is coming from your kids refusing to eat the food you put in front of them and you feeling like you’re a short order cook in the kitchen all day, every day when you also need to work or you need to take care of your kids now or any of those things. And the stress of coming from, you know, going from only making dinner maybe to making three meals a day and then sum all of those things. So just really being honest with yourself about how much of that overwhelm is just something you can’t control and it’s just let’s ride this wave and how much of it is really coming from something that we can work on, like, you know, meal time during this time.

Meal Times Create Structure

I also really encourage families to think about the fact that dinner and having that meal together or any meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, whatever that is. And being able to have that successful meal time is really grounding in a way for so many people. Right? And kids are used to a certain structure and we all get used to a certain structure, right? Kids crave structure. And, you know, if you’re anything like me, like I need structure and there is none now, right? It’s sort of like, it’s an extended summer vacation essentially. Like there’s, there’s just, there’s nothing going on. It’s been in work when you can like, you know, kids watching and whatever it is, and be able to have that time, if you can use that time, this time to create it is so massive and so important for so many families, right? Like being able to sit around as a family at the end of the day and just bring a sense of normalcy to a time that seems so uncertain is massive. So important for kids and for ourselves.

Rachel:

I would agree with you 100 percent. I was thinking just as something tactical for people that we did the other day, because grocery stores are out of a lot of food due to the panic that’s going on. And, um, my like instincts from childhood of like we have to like use every drop of food that’s in the house, right? We have to use everything. Like waste is not an option right now kind of thing. And so we had some fun this week with, um, ingredients that we had in the fridge. Uh, I had like heavy cream, which my daughter needed for a recipe and used like a cup and we had like three cups of it left, you know, and we had strawberries that were like on the verge of like, you don’t quite want to eat them, but they’re not moldy, you know, kind of thing.  They’re just mushy and that kind of thing. And so we literally Googled like recipes with strawberries and heavy cream and came up with, you know, a slew of recipes and she picked one to make using up those things and did the same thing with some, um, Italian sausage that we had like recipes with that. And so it was uh, it was cool because first of all they got to Google it. So that was fun. You know, while I was sitting there, they got to search for something and they got to pick out the recipe. And um, I think when they get to do that, they’re more likely to eat it as well because they got a say in it. Right. So that might be a fun activity for right now to just to, yeah.

Ahuva:

Definitely. Again, this is an amazing time to get your kids involved in dinner prep. Right. Whereas you made it, you may have been commuting at five o’clock to get them, you now have, you know, that half an hour or hour you’re spending in the car to maybe, you know, make something with your kids. My kids are three and literally anytime that I go into the kitchen, my daughter already, it’s like, let me, can I help you make that? She’s walking through, but what I am, you know, anytime that she thinks that I’m prepping something, she wants to get involved. Um, even, you know, if our kids aren’t eating the vegetables every night or, or whatever it is, getting them in the kitchen to see new things is so important

Letting Kids Get Involved with Cooking

Rachel:

Yeah, I think when kids are able to help you make something, they are so much more likely to try it and to eat it because they feel ownership of it. And that’s huge. My youngest child is eight and I will tell you that every one of my kids cuts up vegetables, you know, cuts up things, fruits, can peel potatoes. Like um, I literally, I don’t think there’s anything that I let, I let my older kids cut meat and I don’t let my youngest daughter do that yet. But other than that, I don’t think there’s anything that they can’t do. Most of us underestimate what our kids are capable of helping us with for sure. So, um, okay. So before we wrap up, can you tell everybody where they can find you and learn all these awesome things from you?

Ahuva:

Definitely. So there’s two places I hang out a lot. One is in my free community on Facebook, it’s called the Busy Moms Guide to Feeding Your Family. And we have about 2000 moms who are in there, you know, just supporting each other, sharing their meal time wins or meal time challenges and you know, strategies. And of course, you know, I moderate it daily as well or you can find me on Instagram and my handle is @Ahuvard which stands for registered dieticians.

Rachel:

Okay. Awesome. Perfect. Well we will be sure to check you out there and I will have all those things linked in the show notes and um, the download that you mentioned for making that visual, um, menu and we’ll do it there. So thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate it. I hope you’ll consider coming back cause I bet there’s going to be a lot of questions and maybe we can do this again. 

Ahuva: 

Definitely. I’d be happy to. Awesome. Thank you.

What Are Your Thoughts?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. You can comment on an Instagram post over at Mrs. Rachel Ballard on Instagram or we are going to chat about this in our private Facebook group, How to Like Your Husband with Rachel Ballard. You can also leave a review for this podcast, which is super helpful and be sure to subscribe so that you can get a notice each week when another episode goes live. In the meantime, my friends, please remember that you are so incredible and you deserve incredible things. So let’s get those on the calendar and make them happen. Have a great week.

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