Chow Time…


If there is one thing in my parenting existence that gives me a ridiculous amount of stress, it is MEALTIMES. I.NEED.HELP.

I am the girl who went to college and lived my entire first year eating frozen yogurt and cold cereal…the dorm dining hall was my junkfood dream…I am a carb junkie. Last Wednesday, while my intentions were good, I left Subway without eating when I noticed that the sandwich lady sneezed on the case that held the bread. Rather than be bummed out, I was happy because it gave me an excuse to eat peanut M&Ms for lunch.

My eating habits suck.

My incompetence as a meal consumer and meal planner is not for lack of being exposed to great food. In fact, my mom was an AWESOME cook, but her entire day centered around meal prep. She was a stay-at-home-mom who cooked Korean food for most of our meals (most Korean meals take all day or even days to prepare). As soon as she put us on the schoolbus, she was off to the market, picking up fresh items for dinner later that night – we would return home to incredible smells coming from our front door even before we stepped into the house. After school, we would walk into the kitchen, and find fresh fruit, beautifully cut up on a plate, and numerous pots on the stove, bubbling up with some amazing-looking meals.

Everybody tells me that I’m a pretty good cook too…when I have the time. But that’s the catch – I only know how to prepare a meal with ample shopping, prep and cooking time. Seriously, who has time for that??? Half of the stuff I feed my kids is frozen in some form or another (at least it is usually in whole frozen form like frozen peas, carrots, fruit, etc) because the TIME I have to shop is limited and I just can’t get through all the fresh stuff before it spoils. I do admit that there is a fair amount of processed food in that freezer, too, because that’s what can be done quickly and easily and even I, in all of my cooking incompetence, need a break.

Saturday’s “dial it in” dinner – (organic) hot dogs, dino chicken nuggets and peas and carrots. Yeah, not quite the healthiest dinner…

I haven’t figured how to get a meal on the table in the half hour that elapses from the time that I walk in the door to the time that my kids are screaming from hunger, or I am stressing because cooking time is leaching into bath time. As a result, my kids eat a LOT of pasta with frozen veggies because this all can be made in 15 minutes or less. Spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese, with a side of frozen peas is a particular favorite in our house. I am NOT organized enough to plan in advance enough to make food on the weekends to nuke later – I haven’t come close to making that whole method work well.

My idea of a good summer dinner – jelly sandwich, goldfish, cheese, grapes, apples, strawberries. My mother saw this and pretty much died, asking “WHERE IS THE PROTEIN??”

I need help. My daughter has become a carb junkie. My kids, once avid vegetable eaters (when veggies were mashed up into the form of babyfood), curl their noses at the sight of fresh veggies. And while they do both eat meat, it needs to be either greasy or salty. They only eat a bite of whatever it is that I put on their plate (I make them eat at least one bite of each thing – and trust me, this “18 times” rule is bullsh*t – I can’t tell you the number of times I have put different veggies on their plate and they still won’t eat it) in anticipation of “dessert” which, in my defense, is not always a bad dessert (fresh fruit). I am setting them up for bad eating habits, and it’s because I’ve catered to the ease of a quickly put-out dinner. My parents, my in-laws, and other non-related people criticize me for the fact that my kids don’t eat well.

My kids’ lunch bag – cheese sandwich, orange slices, rice krispies, natural fruit leather and watered down juice – this was posted to Facebook because I was asking for suggestions on how to make this healthier when I was told my son’s lunch “wasn’t exactly the healthiest…” Again, WHERE IS THE PROTEIN?

If there is one thing that I ever doubt in my capacity as a mom, it will be my ability to teach them proper eating habits. I truly never want my kids to struggle with food in the way that I do, but intentions are different from actions, and without a solid foundation, it’s hard to believe they won’t struggle…

7 comments on “Chow Time…”

  1. Blend some kale or spinach into a smoothie with some frozen fruit and protein powder and serve it on the side of your organic hot dogs and dino nuggets

  2. I was going to suggest the ‘cook big on weekends for leftovers all week’ because that has worked pretty well in our house…. but I guess you’ve already tried that without luck.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with frozen veggies! In fact, some say they’re even healthier than most fresh veggies you get at the grocery store because they’re frozen at the peak of freshness and haven’t lost as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts that are shipped long distances and then sit on store shelves.

    I find it’s the protein that I struggle with. In the good weather we do a lot of grilling because it’s quick and very tasty. If I am able to plan ahead, I’ll throw the protein in a bag with some bottled marinade or italian dressing overnight. If not, I sprinkle it with seasoning salt and pepper and throw it right on the grill. Everything is usually ready in 20 min or less. In the winter, the oven broiler is my best friend…. same principle as the grill, but not quite as yummy.

    I don’t do formal meal plans, but when I grocery shop on the weekends, I try to come up with at least 2 meals that I will cook on two of the nights that week… and hope for leftovers out of at least one of those meals to use for another night. We usually have one ‘fend for self’ night. Those are the nights where I let my kid eat peanut butter on toast and yogurt… or maybe we’ll do scrambled eggs and a side of fruit.

    Not sure if any of this is helpful or not. Good luck!!!

  3. Cheese has lots of protein! So feel good about that 🙂 My child doesn’t eat meat or drink milk so I rely on cheese and yogurt for protein. I too struggle with the meal options for the carb/fruit lover I have on my hands. Some days it seems like she eats bagels, cream cheese, and strawberries for all three meals. She won’t even let the healthy dinners we make touch her lips. For now I am trying not to stress too much about it. But I have wondered if that “multiple introduction” approach really works! I haven’t seen it come true yet.

  4. Start small. Try to plan two meals for the week with healthy food you know your kids will eat and build from there. Take the kids to the grocery store or farmers market and have them pick out something they’d be willing to try (most vendors at the market will let you sample). We also have a lot of success disecting a meal into parts different players will eat (pasta w/ sausage, beans, and greens is a typical crowd pleaser). All that said, I will be the first to admit that two nights ago my kids had rice for dinner. Yes, just rice. Can’t win em all.

  5. This is one of those times that I wish I could just enter “following” and automatically get everyone else’s advice. All I can really offer you is “I feel you” and “what’s wrong with any of those meals?” 🙂

Share Some Comment Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s