Helping parents become better feeders,
so they raise great eaters!

by Your Child Nutrition Expert Jill Castle

The Dinner Bar

June 3, 2010 | In: Child Nutrition, The Dinner Bar

Introducing…

The      Dinner      Bar

No, this is not a new restaurant, or a drinking establishment, or a meal replacement bar.

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!


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16 Responses to The Dinner Bar

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The Dinner Bar: Pizzadillas & Fruit with Chocolate Fondue « Just The Right Byte

February 23rd, 2011 at 12:37 pm

[...] Dinner Bar features a quick stress-free meal that will be fun for the whole family.  If you have never tried [...]

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Beth Downey

February 25th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

We are having the dinner bar tonight! Thank you for your great ideas and inspiration!

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jillcastle

February 27th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I hope you enjoy it!

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The Dinner Bar: The Walking Taco « Just The Right Byte

April 6th, 2011 at 5:33 am

[...] taco consists of an individual size bag of Fritos corn chips topped with taco fixings.  This Dinner Bar takes the old concept and gives it a healthy facelift– transforming it into a lean, [...]

Avatar

  Reflections (and Celebration!) on 100 Posts about Child Nutrition  by Just the Right Byte

August 10th, 2011 at 11:45 am

[...] series on childhood obesity, eating disorders and child development to family-friendly recipes, The Dinner Bar and the Consumer [...]

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  The Dinner Bar: Chopped Salad by Just the Right Byte

October 25th, 2011 at 7:32 am

[...] 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.  Share this:FacebookStumbleUponEmailPrint Share | var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true}; Tags: Chopped Salad recipe, family-friendly salad, healthy salad, salad, salad recipes, The Dinner Bar [...]

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  Gorp, Mustgo and Cake Decorating by Just the Right Byte

January 18th, 2012 at 7:48 am

[...] it as a smorgasbord, so your kids can pick and choose their own dinner combination, much like the Dinner Bar concept. And no, I’m not going to show you a picture of my [...]

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What’s for Dinner? « Dairy Delivers Blog

March 6th, 2012 at 9:12 am

[...] and the child is responsible for how much and whether. To help with this, I have incorporated the dinner bar into many of our evening meals. This concept, developed by pediatric dietitian, Jill Castle, allows [...]

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  Easy Cheeseburger Pizza, Dinner Bar Style by Just the Right Byte

April 25th, 2012 at 7:53 am

[...] can’t think of any meal that is more kid-friendly.  Keep in mind that The Dinner Bar is about letting them make their own choices with food and eating.  And don’t forget to practice [...]

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  Family Mealtime: One for All and All for One! by Just the Right Byte

July 3rd, 2012 at 10:50 am

[...] smorgasbord of entrée ingredients and let your child assemble his main course the way he likes it. The Dinner Bar works well for combination dishes such as pasta primavera, pizza, tacos and salads. Check out the [...]

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  Quick and Healthy Dinner Ideas for the Babysitter by Just the Right Byte

August 22nd, 2012 at 9:38 am

[...] around the salad bar at restaurants? There is a fascination in creating a salad masterpiece, and a Dinner Bar approach works wonders. Have the ingredients in the fridge and have the babysitter place everything in [...]

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Balancing Healthy Living One Week at a Time

September 19th, 2012 at 11:11 am

[...] way to do this is by using The Snack Bar. A spin-off of The Dinner Bar (http://justtherightbyte.com/2010/06/the-dinner-bar/), the Snack Bar concept is a way to serve the ingredient components of a snack while allowing your [...]

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  The Dinner Bar: Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps by Just the Right Byte

October 24th, 2012 at 9:10 am

[...] these would be perfect for The Dinner Bar. If you’re not sure what I mean by Dinner Bar, read this, or search my archives for other Dinner Bar [...]

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  Feeding Interactions and How They Influence Child Obesity by Just the Right Byte

October 31st, 2012 at 3:06 pm

[...] lead on eating the amounts that are right for them is key. Parents can use family-style meals, the Dinner Bar, and take the lead on providing nutritious and balanced meals, letting kids eat to their [...]

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3 Feeding Interactions and How They Influence Child Obesity | Fooducate

November 25th, 2012 at 7:41 am

[...] lead on eating the amounts that are right for them is key. Parents can use family-style meals, the Dinner Bar, and take the lead on providing nutritious and balanced meals, letting kids eat to their [...]

Avatar

  The Dinner Bar: Meatless Mexican Bowl by Just the Right Byte

September 26th, 2013 at 9:24 am

[...] you are new and not sure about the Dinner Bar, read here for the rationale behind it. In a nutshell, this approach gives you leadership with meal [...]

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