Allergies, Lifestyles And Health Issues — Oh My! 5 Tips On How To Accommodate Different Food Tastes And Needs

We are a miss-matched family when it comes to our eating habits. My daughter has an illness that gets aggravated by some food additives, and she is a Vegan. My son is a vegetarian, my husband a dedicated meat-eater, but who needs to watch his blood pressure, and I, well I am healing my thyroid naturally — that means no soy or soy products, and a long list of other foods, including some veggies, I should and will not eat. (I wrote more extensively on my allowed and disallowed food list here) Oh, and my dogs are allergic to commercial dog food, so I cook for them as well. Tired yet? I am.

Making meals that all of us can enjoy is a challenge. My over-the-road truck driving husband, is thankfully cooking mostly for himself, when he is driving, making food prep at least meat-free. That leaves us three people and the three animals. Thankfully the cat can (and will) eat whatever I put in front of him.

So what do we do to make it all work?

1. We meal plan. Once a week, my daughter and I create a meal plan for our entire week. We have some go-to recipes, but are always searching for something new, and are not afraid to look at foreign language websites to get inspired. Which also makes for a great homeschool lesson.

2. We look for or I create our own recipes that are easily adjusted (from vegan to vegetarian, or the other way around). I have shared some of these recipes on my blog , and will share some more on this platform shortly.

3. We communicate. There is no shame in speaking up and saying that one of us did not like a meal or an idea. Suggestions on how to make a meal easier or better are always welcome and openly encouraged. We are a team here.

4. We have meals, where we share our space but not the same meal. Use today, as an example. All three of us had Mexican food. My son ate a bean taco, my daughter a tofu,carrot and cabbage quesadilla, and I ate a Mexican style zucchini wrap. It was relatively easy to adjust for our individual tastes, and most importantly we still had a complete meal as a family. (My husband is currently over the road, otherwis,e he would have joined us with a traditional taco)

5. We are not afraid to try new things. None of us are afraid to try new recipes, flavors and techniques. The kids are used to our trial and error system, and will speak up when something did not work for them.

6. We do not expect perfection. I am not a Five-Star chef, and I did not grow up cooking vegan or even vegetarian meals. Because of that alone,I do not expect that every meal will come out as planned. Letting go of creating that perfect meal, made my life a lot easier, and cooking a lot more stress-free.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we’re all in this together.


Originally published at community.today.com on April 19, 2016.