Children and Meals – Now What?

Roughly half of all American marriages end in divorce and some studies suggest 60% of those splits involve children.A divorce brings a number of lifestyle changes.  For many dads, that means tackling meal planning for kids for the first time. In many families, mothers often handle the cooking duties. I’ll be honest; initially even the thought of having to prepare meals and shop for groceries was intimidating.

When I first got divorced, my child was young and a picky eater. Like most young children, it is considered an accomplishment just to get him to eat most of their meal so I found it worked best to stick with foods he was familiar with and I knew he would like such as pizza, chicken nuggets, and if all else failed, grilled cheese.  I was lucky because grilled cheese is my specialty and I make one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches out there.

This blog will provide you with some initial pointers for meal planning for your children. You may think that eating out at restaurants or ordering in may seem like an easy solution but that can become very expensive especially after going through a divorce. I will be adding posts in the future that will include easy recipes that will further guide you through this new stage of life.

Here are a couple of initial pointers that may help you out:

  1. Figure out what your kids like and dislike:

You probably know this already, but make sure you know your kids’ favorite and least favorite foods. You can’t have pizza and ice cream every single night, but you can treat them every now and then. You can also avoid foods they can’t stand, as long as it’s within reason.

  1. Develop a few standby dishes:

If you’re new to cooking, start slow. You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay on Master Chef to be able to cook some decent family meals.  Even if you’re completely new, you should be able to whip up some grilled cheese or spaghetti.  Try to use the nights that you don’t have your kids to try out new recipes. Start with meals that are easy and gradually experiment and spice things up.

  1. If you have it – Use your family base:

Since eating out or ordering in can become very expensive after going through a divorce, and eating at home may become mundane. A good alternative may be to go over to relative’s homes for meals. This can provide a nice break from routine as well as interaction with relatives.  I am very fortunate to have a strong caring family base that help me through this process that have always invited us to join them for meals.

  1. Use Meal Time with your Children to Bond:

You might be surprised to find that cooking can actually be really fun once you get the hang of it, and sometimes it can even be an activity your kids enjoy helping with.  Cooking meals and enjoying meals together can be beneficial for everyone. It allows you to bond with your children and spend time talking while engaged in an activity.


Remember this is new for everyone – There will be good times, bad times, very hard times and some easier times. Every one of those have one thing in common – which is you. You can make those times better than ever.  Don’t let mealtime intimate or frustrate you – if take some time to plan ahead and make it a fun enjoyable activity for you and your children.

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