This is a new, monthly feature on Just The Right Byte!
Each month, Just The Right Byte will feature family-friendly, quick, and healthy meals that will please the whole family! But, instead of a regular recipe, The Dinner Bar is a concept that your kids will love–because they are in control of what and how much they choose to eat. You will love it too, because you get to determine the menu, without the headache of extensive cooking and preparation, and Just The Right Byte will help make sure your family meals are well-rounded and nutritious. The Dinner Bar will always present a ”square meal”, with representation of most food groups. Simple, uncomplicated items which are easy to prepare for mom and dad, and easy for children to assemble…and yummy to eat!
Why start The Dinner Bar? As a pediatric dietitian who works with families every day, I am frequently asked for dinner ideas that work for busy families, particular palates, and a rising sense of health-consciousness. Families generally do well with breakfast and lunch, but get hung up on dinner. Families are REALLY busy, with little time to cook meals, let alone plan, shop, and prepare foods at the end of the day…I know, I have one of those families! AND, many families have children with variable appetites, taste preferences, and nutritional challenges. Parents tell me frequently that it is SO HARD to choose a meal that will satisfy every family member’s needs, while healthy, nutritious, not overly processed, and acceptable to their children. Plus, recipes sound good, and ARE good, but somehow they got lost in the busy-ness of schedules and family life. The Dinner Bar is an approach that is different!
What is The Dinner Bar?
- Envision entree ingredients assembled on a table and each family member chooses which foods, preferred combinations, and how much they want to eat. The Dinner Bar presents the components of the main entree as seperate, to be chosen and assembled by the eater. The Dinner Bar will feature family-friendly dinner entrees that are fun, tasty, and engage members of all ages.
- The Dinner Bar offers a variety of ingredients for individuals to “build their own” entree for dinner. Other meal items such as fruit, a veggie, grains, and milk are available to choose as well, to complete a nutritious meal.
- The Dinner Bar meals are easy to prepare and are based on simple, uncomplicated ingredients.
- The Dinner Bar allows children to prepare their own meals, choosing the items they want, and in the amounts they desire, while encouraging a child’s self-regulation and promoting trust between the parent and child.
- The Dinner Bar allows for variability in appetite and promotes a child’s capability to choose which foods they wish to eat (within what is offered) and the amount they wish to eat.
- The Dinner Bar offers simple, healthy, FUN, and varied solutions to your crazy, busy life.
- The Dinner Bar is a “healthy smorgasbord”, offered in a “build it yourself” atmosphere, sure to please your family.
- The Dinner Bar is a healthy alternative to dining out, for those busy family evenings.
I hope you will enjoy this feature of Just The Right Byte! I’ll keep it going for as long as you like it…of course, feel free to send your ideas along as well.
Stay tuned for next week’s Dinner Bar feature: Italian Chicken Kabobs!