You know the drill. You spend a half hour chopping up the vegies while the fish, meat or pasta bake is cooking in the oven.
You feel a sense of accomplishment for not overcooking the greens and serving up brilliant green broccoli and not-quite crunchy yet not-too-soft carrots. The baby peas roll appealingly onto the plate, a delightful pile of rotund sweetness in every popping bite.
You collapse on the chair with them all eating heartily, then with your heart sinking to you feet, notice the vegies are staying put while the rest is demolished. They promptly say, "I'm finished..." and then starts the nightly, exhausting rigmarole of vegie coercion.
After cooking a full family meal it's the very last thing any of us feel like doing, yet here we are again.
It's taken me 13 years of parenthood to work it out, but I now have a trick that is so simple, I feel silly for not having thought of it before.
It's as basic as serving the vegies first.
The afternoon, post-school snack has long worn off by dinner time. They are hungry. The other critical part of this trick is not allowing them to snack in the lead up to dinner. That's the hard part but the rest is a doddle.
I serve them a nice hearty bowl of vegies first, while the rest cooks. Then when they've finished that, I grab those bowls back and put in the meat, or whatever else usually sits on a plate next to the vegies.
Now I'm not saying this will 100 per cent work for everyone, especially if you have kids who just live to hate vegies unlike mine, who simply fill up on the stuff they prefer and feel full enough to say they're finished. But it's worth a shot and has worked a treat since I tried it.
Only trouble is, now they expect a three course meal wherever we go (they get yoghurt for dessert).
Win some, lose some.