Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kid Food Callout

And I shall now humble myself and answer Jenn's question.

Try not to judge.

I remember when my cousin Martha used to feed her kids kid food for dinner, and I said I would never do that. Every night my family would gather around the dinner table and partake of my lovingly homecooked meal where all of the food groups were perfectly represented.

Oh, humility, how you love to stick it to me.

This is still the dream and I believe that when the kids are all in school, it could happen. The problem now is that the kids are hungry by 5pm and ready for bed by 7pm. The mom and dad are not either of those things. So, I make two dinners, a kid dinner at 5, and a good mom and dad dinner at 7.

I must say that this is my least favorite mommy chore. I find coming up with and preparing twelve daily meals (plus snacks), while trying to keep them somewhat nutritious and kid-friendly, to be a totally mindtaxing dilemma. And we end up eating way more of the junk I swore I would never serve. Just like Martha ;)

Anyway, here are a few of our favorites:

- Mac & cheese, of course. And chicken nuggets and other scandals

- Frozen peas. This is my favorite mom trick. When babies start on finger foods, give them English peas straight out of the freezer. They are so sweet, they taste like candy. All four of mine still love them.

- Squash: chop zucchini and yellow squash into rounds, put it in a Corning ware with about 1/4 a cup of water, salt, and a tiny bit of pepper, and nuke it for 6-8 minutes. Cheese makes it even better. And, the kids love to peel the zucchini themselves

- Salad. Fortunately both the big kids love fresh spinach, especially with the new spray salad dressings that they love to spray themselves. Shep, especially.

- Spaghetti squash and Ragu.

- Pasta with kid tomato sauce (canned tomatoes, little bit of Italian seasonings, salt & pepper.) They love sprinkling on the Parmesan themselves (do you see a trend here?)

- Eggs. My intent is for us to eat way more eggs because they are, well, so cheap. Much cheaper than chickens, huh? So I am looking for good egg recipes. I made them eggs in a basket the other night and they loved them.

- Black eyed peas and cornbread. I was raised on fresh ones from my grandpa's garden, but the frozen work very well. Boil with a few strips of bacon and salt & pepper. And, well, a little bacon grease makes them even better. Ummm. If I had some of my grandma's chowchow to put on top, I would really be in heaven.

- Quesadillas. Just tortillas and cheese, beans if I am feeling really creative. Folded over and nuked for 20 seconds.

Ok, now a word about hot dogs. Yes, I do make them - occasionally. Very, very occasionally. Because if you have never heard, children who eat 12 hot dogs a month have nine times the risk of childhood leukemia. Nine times. Also, more brain tumors. Here is a link. I doubt I would ever serve them 12 times but if they are that toxic, I don't really want to be serving them at all, you know? Of course, this study could be flawed. I'm still limiting the dogs.

So, I am sure that was very disappointing for Jenn. My kid dinners kind of stink. So I am calling on y'all to rescue us. Please feed the children.

I am going to do a Mr. Linky love, and please post your favorite kid recipes and link them back here. If you do not have a blog, then please leave them in the comments!

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  1. First of all, I would say those are pretty nutritious kid dinners, as far as I'm concerned. I don't have any tricks you don't know, so far. But also, so far I am lucky - I have a child whose favorite meal is salmon, mac and cheese, and watermelon. And he will not eat chicken fingers or commercial french fries. How do you argue with that? Mine won't eat salad, but he will eat all of the components of salad separately (he eats raw tomatoes probably five days out of the week, which does a number on diapers, to be sure).

    The only trick I know came from another mom friend. She blends up fruit and makes her own popsicles with the little popsicle molds from the grocery store. Sometimes she uses yogurt, sometimes just fruit, but her kids love them and get to avoid some of the sugar of junk food.

    But I don't think your kid dinners are anything to be embarrassed about.

  2. Those meals sound great to me! I would add frozen meatballs. My kids love them: with spag sauce over spaghetti, or with a creamy swedish meatball sauce over egg noodles. I've heard the teryaki ones are good, but I've never tried them. Beware, though: if your kids are still in diapers, they make for some seriously stinky poop! --jana

  3. hope I did the Mr Linky thing right.
    anyway, I'm big into pickled veggies and stuff sitting in the fridge at all times. It provides instant finger food with no notice whatsoever. Granted I don't have kids of my own yet, but these work pretty well on my niece.....

  4. You're not doing as badly as you think. : )

    My philosophy for things like this is basically, you do what works for your family at the time. Don't worry about conforming to anyone's standards, just go with your family's flow!

  5. I'm all over this. I was just thinking about doing a similar post.

    Be back soon to shake hands with Mr. Linky.

  6. I love the frozen peas trick!! My kiddos love them!
    My son doesn't like tomato sauce unfortunately, but I like most of your ideas. if I have time, I will try to add to your kids meals!

  7. I can't believe how my 10 month old will down the the handful!

    My three year old is all over the cheese quesadilla too.

    Have you tried giving them edamame?

    They can pop it out of the shell THEMSELVES!

  8. Love the picture of Shepherd spraying the salad dressing right in his mouth. :)

  9. First, I don't really have any kid recipes that I can think of off the top of my head. If I come up with something I'll post it :)

    But I did want to tell you about hot dogs ... have you seen the new Oscar Mayer Natural Hot Dogs? Such a silly thing for me to be so happy about, but they are beef, and not cured (so no nitrates and nitrites). They are, of course, more expensive than regular hot dogs, but they're worth it IMHO. Just wanted to pass that along :)


  10. Honey, if you can get kids the age of yours to eat SALAD!, you have an easy row to hoe. You have things well under control. My daughter will bring a plate of plastic food to the table if there is not something she likes being served and simply announce, "I'll eat my food tonight."

  11. Hi! I'm Emily, one of Jenn's friends. This subject is VERY near and dear to my heart, so I'm so glad you blogged about it.

    I recently got a book called The Sneaky Chef, and it gives lots of ideas about how to add some nutrients to kid foods. I haven't had a lot of time to try the recipes, yet, but they sound really good. Lots of purees that you can make a head of time and stick in the freezer to add to meals on the run.

    Also, as somewhat of a nutrition junky, I offer a few suggestions for you: whole wheat pasta instead of "enriched" or white pasta, whole wheat tortillas instead of flour (Guerrero's is FANTASTIC), fresh or frozen but NEVER canned, fruit for breakfast and snacks, baked chicken nuggets (using whole wheat bread crumbs and non-fat plain yogurt to make the crispy part), and if you do take the kids out for a treat, Chick-fil-a has the best deal going nutritionally--Never, EVER McDonald's, juice only once a day (too much sugar), and my kids like the little bottled Ozarka water with the pop tops just as well anyway. OH! And for dessert, my kids LOVE the frozen fruit you can buy by the ton at Sam's or Costco. Nuke it for 30 seconds or so to soften it up just a bit.

    I also have a great recipe for whole wheat pizza crust (which I'm making tonight, in fact) that my kids really like. Add a little store-bought Ragu pizza sauce, fat free mozarella cheese, spinach sauteed in olive oil (got to work your oils in every day--They're important!), black olives, and mushrooms, and you've got yourself a kid-friendly meal! So, if you'd like the recipe, just let me know.

    I know I've rambled...But I love your blog! I'll have to check in regularly.
    emilybpickett at yahoo dot com...

  12. I had never heard the hot dog thing. YIKES! One of my guilty pleasures is a Sonic Chili Cheese of God's little gifts, or so I thought. Must be...SATAN?!??? (she said in the SNL Church Lady's voice). Even as teens I have only 2 salad have schooled me, for sure!

  13. I had never heard the hot dog thing. YIKES! One of my guilty pleasures is a Sonic Chili Cheese of God's little gifts, or so I thought. Must be...SATAN?!??? (she said in the SNL Church Lady's voice). Even as teens I have only 2 salad have schooled me, for sure!

  14. RYC: Thanks for posting the prenant woman climbing mountains everyday... it made me feel OK that I'm blogging while the laundry is all dirty and the floor hasn't been mopped in weeks (or is it months???)

    I love your dinner ideas. I can't wait to make some super creative things when Bug's a little older.

  15. Oh wow. You feed your big kids way better than I do. Mostly all D will eat is pizza (I try to make it healthy), eggs, lunchmeat, and buttered pasta. And broccoli. We have issues. These are all great ideas though!

  16. You have been tagged. Check out my blog.
    Mommy of 5

  17. A Flintstone vitamin can do wonders as far as making a meal nutritious, ya know... ;)
    Thanks for answering my question Mis!

  18. The daughter still eats what looks like kid meals and she's now 14. Mac and cheese in this weird container that she heats in the microwave. At 10 pm. Easy Mac?

  19. On second thought, I do have a real kid-food-tip! I was given as a gift, the Jessica Seinfeld book, Deceptively Delicious, from my SIL. Now that I think about it, maybe it was a hint... Anyway - it looks like a bunch of great ideas, but who really has the time to do all that? Not me. But I did get one good idea from it, I bought a bag of flaxseed meal and I add it to anything I can think of - like cookies. It's great, and they get lots of omega-3's and fiber. Add a little bit of a nutty taste, but no one has noticed yet! So a little bit of flaxseed meal and a Flintstone and you are good to go.

  20. Ooh! i have an egg idea... I just made this for my family last week when hubby was gone for the evening... I called it a fritata, but I don't know what the heck it is.

    Preheat a oven-safe skillet or pan in the oven with 2T butter.
    Mix together a bunch of eggs, chopped fresh spinach, diced ham, chopped red pepper, and salt and pepper. And anything else that sounds good.

    Pour it in the dish and bake for mmm.. i dunno... like 20 min? at 375ish?

    I served it with toast. My daughter said it was her favorite food. ha.

  21. Great ideas! Coincidentally, my WFMW tip happens to be one nutritious item my kids will eat without complaint: Blue Monkey Smoothies.

  22. Oh great, I guess bacon, sausage, lunchmeat and jerky are all off the menu!!



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