Friday, March 15, 2013
As I was sparking yesterday with my SparkFriend, Kimberly, we were commenting on the fact it is so difficult to get our kids who are under the age of 6 to eat chicken or protein without it being breaded. A few months ago, I started to try to introduce my two girls to new foods whenever my husband and I eat them because I am tired of having to cook them different meals. Abigail is 5, as of yesterday, and Madeline is 2 1/2. It is time they eat what we eat everyday. I want my girls to learn to eat healthy and like eating healthy.
As I think back to my childhood, I do not remember my mother cooking different meals for my sister and me. We ate what my parents ate. The problem is that the girls do not like some of the same vegetables and proteins and how I prepare them. So over the last three months I started cooking meals that are more kid friendly and adding a salad for my husband and me. It takes some planning on the weekends, but it is worth the time because my weeks have been less caotic. There has also been less frustration at the dinner table. Here are some of the meals that have worked:
Tortellini Chicken Soup with carrots and celery - Sometimes I use chicken tortellini instead of cheese to add some extra protein. I also had chopped broccoli florets to the soup. Madeline will only eat the veggies when they are mixed in with other yummy food. Moreover, I make the chicken stock with two split breasts of chicken. I cut pieces of chicken up for the girls and they dip it in ketchup on the side. For myself, I have the soup with chicken and use shirataki noodles (yam noodles without the carbs) and have a salad.
Chicken or Turkey Meatloaf with mashed potatoes (for the kids) - I finely chop up broccoli or cauliflower into the ground poultry so the girls get some veggies. I bake the potatoes for all of us, scoop out the potato from the skins for the girls and mash it with some milk, sour cream, and cheese for them. I have a half baked potato with the meatloaf and add a garden salad for a complete meal.
Chicken Sliders - Organic ground chicken with chopped up vegetables in a mini size on mini burger buns with baked potatoes (mashed for them; see above) and I add string beans and a salad on the side. Abigail is very good at eating her veggies, but she does not like fruit. Madeline loves fruit but does not eat veggies. (Isn't that always the way?)
Chicken or Turkey Chili with Black Beans and Vegetables - I perused some of the recipes for chili on SP and doctored one of them to fit the tastes of my daughters. Less red pepper, garlic and chili powder and no jalpenos. I take portions for my husband and me and spice it up the way we like it. And the next night, I put the chili on slider buns and turned them into sloppy joes.
Quiche Lorraine - When I know that I have a lot of meetings, I like to make a quiche with feta cheese and spinach on the weekend and give the girls pieces during the week when I am in a pinch. They love it!
Black Bean and Vegetable Soup - I just posted this recipe on SP recipes this week. My girls loved this soup and I was pleasantly surprised to have another "go to" meal and I have soup and salad for lunch or dinner. http://recipes.sparkpeople.com
Chef Nicole's Fried Brown Rice and Vegetables - I just tried this recipe yesterday and we all loved it! This is another "go to" meal for me and the family. I love that you can throw in whatever veggies you want or have on hand. So easy and you can make extra for another meal. I used this recipe as a main entrée. They loved it and my husband had a second helping.
For those parents who have children that do not like vegetables at all, I understand. Madeline was like that and she is finally coming around because I keep putting it front of her. Moreover, when I put broccoli in her mac n' cheese, she eats it because it is mixed in with the cheese. She also likes baby carrots with hummus. So, she is still a work in progress.
Generally, my girls are pretty good eaters but I want them to be willing to try new things, to be open to new tastes and I think that by introducing them to new foods again and again at the family dinner table may be "sparking" them to just try it. (Pardon the pun.) Moreover, I am tired of cooking different meals. I have taken matters into my own hands and I know that I am not the only parent who faces this issue every night of the week. I hope this helps others out there but more importantly, I am open to new ideas for family friendly meals. Please feel free to leave a comment and share a meal idea.