Kids are not the easiest customers when it comes to dinner. Most moms would love to say nutrition comes first when it comes time to eat, but more likely it comes third, somewhere behind getting kids to actually eat and the amount of time it takes to cook. That's where stir-fry recipes are your new best friend. Kids love them, here's why:
Whether you are trying to please a little kid or a big one, kids of any age want to feel like they are being heard. This meal is perfect for that! Stir-fry dishes are some of the most forgiving, so let the kids pick what they want to throw in the pan. Little kids love the feeling of being able to do something mom can do, and the older kids like being in control. Win-win! The hard part for you may be hiding your feelings if they pick something you think might not have the best flavor for mixing in a meal. Use stir-fry sauce and a flavor-packed protein to help take the pressure off of their choices.
Little kids want to prove they can do it while older kids want to be allowed to make their own decisions. Take the kids to the grocery store or farmers market and let them each pick three things they like. When it comes time to head into the kitchen, cook the main ingredients at one time. You can then divide them out into bowls with each kid's produce picks and take turns tossing them into the skillet. One way to cut cooking time is to use a protein that's already cooked, like sausages or leftover rotisserie chicken. Using these flavor-packed proteins with a minute-style rice means each family member can toss them in with their own ingredients before heating and eating. Splitting the cooking to individual dishes for stir-fry doesn't add much time to the dinner prep. You get some great family time and everybody will clean their plates!
Kids love the idea of adventure and this is one time where you can easily go along for the ride. Ask your kids to think outside of the box, but you should too. Instead of going with plain chicken and noodles, mix things up by trying a more flavorful protein, like sausage. If you need a thought-starter recipe, we have one. Try this Asian-style "Sausage Stir-Fry" which pack a hot and spicy punch to the meal. This stir-fry is part of our 5-5-5 series, which means it has only 5 ingredients and a simple 5-minute prep time. If you want to raise kids who will eat anything, you have to show them how to cook and eat with lots of different flavors.
The winning ingredient in any stir-fry recipe is flexibility. This is a perfect dish to turn to when you haven't had time to get groceries or when "nothing sounds good". So bring the whole family into the kitchen for dinner and let them pick and choose what goes in the wok!
For more weeknight meal inspiration that only require five ingredients, check out Womensforum's 5-5-5 Meal Planner!