I Will Not Be a Short-Order Cook

If your kid has a food allergy or medical conditions that cause a specific diet…this blog posting is NOT for you!

I’ve waited and waited for my friend to write about this one on her own blog, but I’m waiting no longer. So the idea was hers, but now she’ll have to deal with the fact that I’m writing about the topic first. Sorry Kidd.

Feeding your children is more difficult than it sounds. There are so many choices to make…breast milk or formula, when to start solid foods, organic or not, homemade or not, etc. I will admit that we were more cautious with Stella than Charlotte. For example, I would buy more organic items and didn’t introduce many sugary things. For me, I found that to be more expensive and time consuming and I worried constantly about what I provided while she was at home since she also ate at daycare. Although they have guidelines they have to follow, the food isn’t always what I would consider to be the healthiest and I tried to make up for it at home. We became more relaxed over time.

Would I do it differently if I had all of the time and money in the world…probably. But due to our lifestyle, I’ve learned not to worry so much about it. We’re not the family that shops solely at Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but we’re also not the family that eats out each night. We make an effort to cook most dinners at home served with a fruit and veggie. (Some of my friends are stay-at-home moms and they make their own baby food, etc. I don’t make fun of them…I commend them. It takes DEDICATION!) We are still considered “strict” by some – Stella gets maybe 1-2 juice boxes a week as a special treat.

When Stella started eating table foods a friend shared some of the best advice with me…”Don’t be a short-order cook!” She was always telling me that whatever I did with Stella (from bedtime routine, to feeding, etc.) be prepared to do the same with any number of kids Andy and I had. So if I didn’t want to make 4 separate dinners for 4 separate kids, begin with Stella by making her eat what we eat. It made complete sense to me.

And it worked for quite awhile. Then life got crazy…we added another kid to the routine, no one seems to ever be healthy, activities in the evening seem to make dinner planning difficult, one of us would work late, blah, blah, blah. Making her a PB&J and veggie straws during the “witching hour” after work while she screamed she was HUNGRY was so much easier than making her wait until “our” dinner was ready an hour later. It really got “bad” during the holidays…who wants to cook during all of the festivities? Not me. So there were a lot of nights of the “basics” – grilled cheese, waffles, cereal, and lunch meat.

I also found myself making Stella a separate meal when I “knew” she wouldn’t like what we were having – taco soup, eggs, fish, etc. But then a revelation occurred. I watched my friend’s kids on a Friday night in early December. She said she was making chicken chili for dinner. On my way there I wondered what the kids would eat. Chicken chili. One of them hesitated, but ate an entire bowl of it. That was my wake-up call. The mom had followed her own advice, but I had veered off of the path. I had been going the “easy” route for a couple of months. However, I’m not helping Stella (and now Charlotte) by not putting new foods in front of them.

So as of this week, I’m back on track. I recently asked the pediatrician how much Stella needed to eat during the day…just in case she revolts at dinner. The doctor said she needs to have one full meal. She definitely gets that and more. Am I going to make something “new” every night that she may not like? No. I’m not that mean! BUT I’m not going to add grilled cheese and PB&Js and McD’s happy meals to our normal dinner rotation for 2010. Stella has actually been confused lately when I give her grilled cheese for dinner (a weekend lunch favorite)…she’s asked, “Is it lunch?” with a quizzical look on her face.

I’ve also found that what “they” say is true. If we eat as a family, Stella & Charlotte eat more. And if Stella helps prepare her plate, she eats more. She’s been helping a lot in the kitchen over the last week due to our LearningTower gift and she hasn’t complained as much during dinner about what was served.

How am I going to stay back on track? One way is that I plan to use my crock-pot more in 2010. I just came upon this website: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ where a woman challenged herself in 2008 to make a crock-pot recipe everyday. I figure with 365 recipes, 4-5 of them have got to be good. I also had another friend tell me that every night before dinner her mom put a veggie or fruit tray on the kitchen table. If you were hungry before dinner, you could eat off of the tray.

But most of all, I’m just going to try harder. Being a parent isn’t supposed to be easy…even when food is involved. What do you feed your kids?

One Response to I Will Not Be a Short-Order Cook

  1. Hey Tricia
    Amen sister, moms have enough on their plates, no short order cooking. We stopped making different meals for the kids, but if they don’t want dinner they can have fruits and vegetables still (but no juice, only water) It seems to be working pretty well. I love the 365 crockpot blog. We used a crockpot yogurt recipe from her and now we do it weekly.
    I’m just getting into making meals on mass by a couple different methods and blogging about my experiences – I’m trying cooking with girlfriends, meal swap, and twice a month cooking Once a month cooking seems to hard, maybe when I get better at twice a month cooking I’ll give it a try!

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