Interview with Christine Steendahl from Dine Without Whine

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I recently had the pleasure to interview my friend Christine Steendahl from Dine Without Whine. We talked about her family friendly menu mailer and how she deals with the picky eater in her family.

Christine, what is Dine Without Whine?

Dine Without Whine is a Family Friendly Menu Planning Service. Our weekly newsletter, sent via e-mail every Thursday, includes a dinner recipe for every night of the week, side dish recommendations, and two brunch and two dessert recipes to be used anytime during the week. Each issue also includes a personal note and a detailed grocery-shopping list for the week, categorized by aisle, to make grocery shopping quick and simple.

What makes it family friendly?

I strive to include recipe’s that are easy to prepare and do not include fancy ingredients that are hard to find. I also try to include recipes for dishes that I feel kids will enjoy. Our family follows the menu as well and I have three children ages 5, 3, so I try to pick recipe’s they will eat.

Would Dine Without Whine work for a family with a Picky Eater?

I could never guarantee that every person is going to like every recipe in my newsletter. After all we all have different tastes and are personally picky about one thing or another. However, I have had several clients e-mail me to let me know that through Dine Without Whine they were able to get out of the food rut they have been in (we’ve all been there -spaghetti, pizza, hot dogs and then the cycle starts over again) and were able to get their family to try new recipe’s that they actually enjoy.

How do you pick the dishes and recipes in your mailer?

Generally I choose recipes that our family has tried and enjoyed. However, I do know that there are families out there that may have different tastes than ours. Therefore, I do periodically throw a new recipe in once and awhile that meets my policy or easy to prepare and overall looks like a kid-friendly dish.

Do you have a picky eater in the family?

My oldest – Ryan used to be really picky. As he gets older he is getting better. He still won’t eat anything with potatoes, any food combined together – such as casseroles, or anything with a sauce or gravy on it. We work around this on evenings we are serving such dishes by setting aside the parts he likes before we add the additional ingredients.

Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters?

I believe patience and persistence are key. The rule at our house is that everyone has to try one bite of everything that is served. This means even if they tried it last time I made a dish and didn’t like it, they still have to try it again this time. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have looked at a meal and said “Ewww, Yuck!” We remind them that they should always try something before deciding they don’t like it, and more often then not after they try it they decide it isn’t so bad after all. Children will often not like a food the first time they try it. The goal is to continue to offer a variety of foods and encourage them to try them. Don’t give up the first time. Let it go for that day, but re-introduce it in a couple weeks. There are of course going to be foods that your child is just never going to like (I am sure there are some things you don’t like) but try a few times before you totally give up on something.

What do you do when one of your kids doesn’t want to try a dish or maybe a new food?

Well, I kind of mentioned this above. Our kids have grown up knowing that it is our rule that they have to try one bite of everything. After that, they do not have to eat the dish if they decide they do not care for it. I personally do not want to be forced to eat a food I do not care for, so I do not force my children to eat something they do not care for. If they absolutely will not try it (which rarely happens, as we instilled this rule from the beginning) then they are not able to have a snack in the evening before bed. After they try one bite of the food and decide they do not care for it (which only happens 1-2 times per month) then we do let them have something else to eat. I will not cook them a entirely different meal, but they can have a sandwich, yogurt or something of that nature.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would encourage everyone to give Dine Without Whine a try. There is a sample menu on the web at and the first week of the monthly subscription is free as well. The service introduces a variety of foods into the family, and overall saves a family time and money.

Additional Resources:

Dine Without Whine – A family oriented menu planner

Christine from Dine Without Whine – a mom of three little boys who have their moments as picky eaters – created a family friendly and healthy menu planner. Get 7 kid-friendly dinner recipes in your email inbox every week. Give it a try. Even the most picky eaters like Christine’s recipes.

The Picky Eater Ebook – A must have if you want proven strategies to get your child to eat just about anything. I have the ebook and love the humorous yet informative way it is written. I’ve been using quite a few of the recipes in the book and have gotten my little picky eater to eat a little more. It’s a great resource for any parent of a picky eater.


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