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#ParentHack: The Life Skill That Ended Fights over Food

No one—except maybe my daughter—was more excited than I was for this school year to end. Navigating my 15-year-old daughter’s first year in high school was a stressful time for all of us. Some of her classes were very difficult, but she ultimately made it through just fine. (Exhale!)

With summer in sight, I started reflecting on last year and what I could do to help our summer break go as smoothly as possible. We’d started off last summer fighting every day over food. My daughter is a picky vegetarian, and mealtimes were often agonizing.

In the past, I’d attempted everything to get her to try different foods, which left both of us frustrated and not speaking to each other. I was so tired of the snarky comments, and she was tired of me badgering her.

My peace offering? Teaching her to cook.

Last summer, I showed my daughter how to make rice, pasta, sauce, pancakes, French toast, eggs, grilled cheese, homemade pizza, quesadillas, sautéed veggies, couscous, zucchini bread, basic salad, and cake with frosting.

Now, when she doesn’t want to eat what I prepare, she can make her own meal and still join us at the table for dinner conversation. No more huffing or eye-rolling … and one less battle to fight!

This has been a great opportunity to bond and teach at the same time.

Last week, she made me lunch—homemade pizza.

Need some more advice on teen cooking?

Next steps: teaching her how to budget and grocery shop with the income she gets from her part-time job as a sewing assistant, and how to level up her cooking skills into balanced, healthy meals. These skills will help her when she goes off to college and beyond—and we both feel good about how they help us enjoy her time at home.

Emily Sadowski

Emily Sadowski is a former telecommunications billing specialist, stay-at-home mom of one, small business owner, aromatherapist, meditation practitioner, and lover of all books.