I really struggle with my kids’ diets. There are definitely some good healthy foods that they enjoy – applesauce, whole grain waffles with peanut butter, and whole grain pasta. These borderline convenience foods just don’t match the nutrition provided by a real home cooked meal.
Yes, I cook. Honestly, I find it therapeutic. Prior to having the two kids, I was a Food Network junky – picking up tips and ideas, then making the recipe my own. Giada taught me the beauty of fresh parsley and lemon zest over your seafood dish. Emeril taught me how to kick it up a notch with andouille sausage and cayenne. And Rachel showed me how to make creative meals with the ingredients I already had.
But neither of my kids seem to like my cooking. My son informed me that my chili was stinky. My daughter turned up her nose to the pork roast. And it goes on and on. I find myself making two meals – one composed of pre-cooked chicken, turkey meatballs, whole grain pasta, or leftover soup when we first get home, and a second for my husband and I after the kids go to bed.
The other night was the exception – baked chicken with rice. We brought our meals into the living room and watched in amazement as the kids ran between the two of us eating off our plates. Now before you judge, yes, I recognize that eating in the living room may be part of the problem and according to the experts I am developing eating habits in my children which lead to obesity. But frankly, if you saw my two little peanuts, you would know that I’m not worried, and I think there is plenty of time to force them to sit at a table later on in life.
So the next night, I was cooking fajitas. When my son turned his nose up at it, I remarked on the fact that he doesn’t like most of what I cook. His response? “But mama, I really like chicken on a stick!” He was referring to the drumsticks from the night before. And it occurred to me that the novelty of it all was what got him. Being a “big boy” and getting to eat it right off the bone was special and fun. And my fajitas? Land of boring.
So I’m attempting to devise ways to make our food more fun. More kid-friendly. Or else we’ll be eating a lot of chicken on a stick until this phase too has passed.