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Kid-Driven Meal Planning in a Snap

Harness the power of an Instax Mini Camera to gather a collection of your family's tried-and-tested meals.

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If you find yourself getting hungry while you’re scrolling past images of golden, gooey, grilled cheese sandwiches and artfully melting ice cream in your Instagram feed, you’re not alone—studies have shown that viewing tantalizing photos definitely influences your appetite. So it only makes sense that showing kids pictures of food can help them remember what they love to eat. And when they’re the ones taking the photos to guide the meal planning, everyone gets in on the fun.

Meal planning is extremely personal, and success has more to do with what actually works for your family’s tastes than what’s trendy.

Here’s how it works: Hand over control of an instant camera (like those sweet, pastel Instax Mini Cameras) to your kid on one condition: In addition to endless selfies and pictures of the family dog, he’s tasked with taking photos of meal wins the whole family loves. Whenever dinner is a hit—DIY taco night, a stellar falafel recipe, banana pancakes for dinner—remind your child to snap a photo. These pictures will become a visual menu of family dinner favorites. Keep the collection in a stack, or paste them into books, then bring them out with the whole family to plan a week of sure-fire crowd pleasers. You’ll get fewer groans when your child hears the answer to “what’s for dinner?”.

This method results in a collection of tried-and-tested recipes that are already family approved, not a long bookmark folder or Pinterest board full of “wish list” recipes that you aren’t sure will actually work. What’s more, your kids will feel like they have a say in what gets served.

No Instax in the house? You can do the same thing with an iPhone. Either print out digital images for an analog collection, or simply set up a designated “Family Meals” album on your phone. Add the pics that your kid takes of successful dishes, and when it comes time to plan, scroll through the favorites together to spark a week’s worth of menu inspiration.

Sure, there are hundreds of meal planning templates and apps designed to show you the organizational light. But when it comes down to it, meal planning is extremely personal, and success has more to do with what actually works for your family’s tastes than what’s perfectly nutritionally balanced or trendy. Besides, meals are where memories are made—chances are you’ll get some great shots of the family cooking and eating together along with pics of the finished dishes. Happy snapping!

Did you know? Little Sous offers a monthly themed kids cooking box that will help your family connect in the kitchen. Check out our subscription options!