Mom, can I have ice cream for breakfast?
…the question every parent loves to be asked first thing in the morning, before they’ve opened their eyes, before they’ve had coffee, by a bouncy energetic child.
My dearest love muffin,
A huge part of parenting – and adulting…is preparing meals.
After all, the food fairies don’t just appear in the night to do it all for us. (though sometimes kids think that’s what happens, and don’t realise the work that goes into it. – queue slightly frazzled hysterical laughter here.)
As someone who has served up a fair few meals for not just my family, but also kindergarten kids, I know how tricky it can be to satisfy picky eaters.
Sometimes it feels like there are 500 different requests, and you need to create something that’s ticks 100 different boxes.
It somehow needs to be something that:
* is healthy
* is liked by everyone at the table
* has got a good balance of protein and carbs
* isn’t touching anything else on the plate
* has NO sauce
* crunches just right
* that makes you strong like superman
* isn’t soggy
* doesn’t taste like fish
* isn’t too “vegetable-ly”
* has MORE sauce
* has at least two marshmallows in it
* has sprinkles on top
* is something that a unicorn would eat
* did I mention it can’t have sauce?!
This unending pursuit is enough to make anyone scream with loopiness, as they tear out their hair.
At one point I went through a phase where I’d wake up at night drenched in sweat, screaming ‘THERE’S NO BROCCOLI IN IT I SWEAR!!’ It would scare the crap outta my husband. The worst thing was in the dreams, I was serving cake to angry toddlers. CAKE.
So, my love, I know what it’s like to try and feed a family. All you want to do is make something yummy and healthy, with some treats thrown in from time to time. Does it have to be so goddamned hard?!
There are lots of things that can make it easier, and inject some fun. The main thing is to let go of the idea of perfection or getting it “just right”. The more pressure you put on meal time, the worse they will feel. (for all of you)
I’ve combined some resources here to make dinner time a friendlier experience for you.
Firstly, Nutritionfacts.org have created an Evidence Based Eating Guide that you can grab for free HERE.
This has lots of facts and inspiration for how to put together Healthy Meals. This colourful guide is backed by years worth of scientific evidence and research, so you don’t have to spend hours fumbling around the internet for what the latest fad diet or health kick is.
Secondly, sometimes it’s nice to take the thinking out of meal prep. I have been an on-and-off subscriber to meal plans from ‘Clean Food Dirty Girl’ for a long time now. Hop over HERE for a Free Meal Plan to see if you like it.
For me, it frees up so much time to batch cook once a week, and then just reheat on the night. And Molly puts so many veggies in the meals that I know at least one will work it’s way down my kids digestive tract and feed his growing body.
If this isn’t your jam, try to see if other meal-plans resonate with you. It can take a lot of stress out of figuring out what to cook.
Over at Bad Manners (previously known as Thug Kitchen – the hilarious foul-mouthed chefs), they are giving away a really cool Free wallpaper (as seen above) full of beautiful healthy foods.
Don’t forget we eat with all our senses – including our eyes – so feast on this beautiful image and remember not to take it all too seriously. Grab it HERE. (just scroll down)
Remember to involve your kids in the shopping, and cooking – hell even the growing and picking – of your foods. They will have fun and are much more likely to try new stuff out.
If all else fails TRICK THE LITTLE SUCKERS! (said with love)
Hide veggies in sauces and soups, throw greens in smoothies, disguise things. I’m going to leave you with a recipe for a healthy chocolate mousse that you just wouldn’t even know was healthy.
|I hope your meal times are filled with laughter and much munching.|
Don’t forget there’s no rule against cranking the music up and having a dance party in your kitchen.
Do whatever it takes to make it fun.
(just mind out for hot stoves and sharp objects)
Life’s too short to spend stressing, when we could be smiling.
Camilla the unusual parenting coach.