Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weelicious

Before I had kids I told myself I wouldn't be one of those parents who fed their children junk food. I wouldn't order them chicken nuggets and fries off of the kids' menu at restaurants. I would cook a healthy meal every night and they would eat the same thing Adam and I were eating. I would not be a short-order cook every night at dinner. If they grew up eating real adult food, they'd never get a taste for the unhealthy junk. Simple, right?

Then I had kids and a few things changed.
For the past 3 years I have continued to cook meals that sound good to Adam and I, telling myself that Ryan (and now Lucas) would eat what I cooked. Except they don't. I had it in my head that if I made a "kiddie" meal and tailored our dinner menu to the boys, even if it was healthy, that I was somehow giving in. And somewhere along the way, out of desperation to just get them to eat something, I resorted to feeding them kid food. Frozen chicken nuggets. Fruit strips. Cereal and milk for dinner. Frozen taquitos. And as a result, 90% of the time Ryan and Lucas eat a completely different meal than what I cook for dinner. That wasn't my intention, but somehow that's where we're at.
It's a lose-lose for everyone. Dinnertime is super stressful for me. Here is an example of what our house sounds like about an hour before dinner. I get stressed out and end up microwaving whatever is fast and easy for the boys to eat.
video
Something needs to change.

And then just this week I got a birthday present from my sister. Does she know me well or what? I LOVE reading through new cookbooks.

The weelicious cookbook! The author of this cookbook also has a blog where she shares her family-friendly recipes. The idea is that the food is healthy, yet kid-friendly. And the kind of food the entire family will enjoy eating. It's not so dumbed-down that the adults won't like it. But it's fun and familiar enough that babies, toddlers, and kids will (hopefully) eat it. I really needed this book.
 
So my new goal when menu-planning is to pick a couple nights a week and really think about my boys when planning those dinners. What will they eat and how can I present it in a way that is healthy and appealing? I looked through the recipes earlier this week and chose two that I thought might work. The first was chicken on a stick. Both my boys like chicken nuggets, and I have had some success in the past with homemade chicken nuggets. This recipe puts the breaded chicken tenders on a stick, which makes it more fun for the kids to eat. I was a bit hesitant because the chicken was coated in crushed up bran flakes, making it look really brown and "healthy".
 
 
As soon as Ryan saw it his eyes lit up and he grabbed a stick, sat himself down at the table, and started eating before I even asked him to. This never happens!
 Lucas even ate a few bites too! (He is SO picky these days). Now I'm wondering what else I can serve to them on a stick!
So hopefully being more intentional about serving my boys the healthy foods they will eat is going to pay off in the long-run. Last night Ryan ate a big serving of weelicious salmon for dinner because I coated it in a sweet honey teriyaki marinade. I guess this means we'll be eating salmon every week now! (Sorry Adam)

Have you ever made any weelicious recipes? Do you always cook dinner with your kids in mind? Or do you just cook what you want and hope they will eat it?

2 comments:

  1. I just cook what I want and if he chooses not to eat it then he will be really hungry in the morning for breakfast. I've always done it and we had many meals where he literally only at 2 bites of whatever the starch was (pasta, rice or potatoes) and then went to bed. I'm sure some nights he was hungry but over time he has learned that what we cook is what is for dinner, with very little exceptions. Once in awhile if I know what I'm cooking he really hates I will make sure to make a veggie or pasta that I know he will eat, and if that's all he eats then that's okay with me. Keep at it Mama, you'll find out what will work!

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  2. See Kim, that's great! That was kind of my intention all along, but I'm just too much of a softie when it comes to food. I hate sending my boys to bed hungry, and with their level of pickiness, it'd be almost every night if I used that method. I'm glad it's working for you though!

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