Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to feed a whole family.

I have been thinking a lot about how my family eats. I now feed, on a nightly basis, my two children- one slightly overweight and one who could exist on milk and go gurt alone, my husband- trying to watch his weight, myself- a lap band patient, and my Mother in Law- who has lupus and seasonal depression. We all have different dietary needs, and different tastes. It probably doesn't surprise you to hear that sitting down to family dinners most nights is very important to me. However, I don't want to cook different things for everyone. So I have a few principles I try to stick to. Sure, two nights ago we had the blue box mac and cheese (whole grain at least), dinosaur nuggets and carrot sticks. Yes, all of us ate that. It was a rough day, cut me some slack. But mostly I try to do better... by sticking to these four basic principles:

1) Whole foods. I try to stay away from processed foods. Fresh veggies taste better, though I do use those microwave steamers a few nights a week.

2) 2 veggie choices each night, one I know my daughter will eat and one other one. My son will usually try any of them. So each night we have either corn on the cob, broccoli, asparagus, or carrot sticks. And sometimes another veggie, sometimes a salad.

3) If the protein I am making is one my kids probably won't eat, I do try to have another choice. I put it on the table as though it is for all of us, so they don't see it as something fixed just for them. Nuggets, turkey hot dogs, meatballs, leftovers, just something. I always make extra of the healthy proteins they like so I will have some on hand. I don't do this if I have made something that they will eat, even if it isn't a favorite. But I do want them to eat a protein at each dinner.

4) One starch choice, and I don't worry about my kids eating that. They usually do, but if they don't I know they don't really need it. My husband needs this, without it, he grazes all night long.

So tonight we had that yummy turkey chili I made yesterday (we were invited to a neighbors at the last minute so I saved it.) I also served cheese tortellini, broccoli, salad, and some whole grain drop biscuits. I had some leftover turkey hot dogs and nuggets which I heated up for the kids, knowing they wouldn't eat the chili. Though I give Sophia credit, she asked to try it. I think there was no stress about it being her only option, so she was more willing. We all ate well, there were leftovers, we used up some leftovers, and the kids even had ice cream for dessert. And honestly, I didnt work that hard to prepare it all. Now I need to get them out of the bath before they turn into prunes.

Back to school tomorrow. Hope you all had a nice holiday season!

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