What’s on the Menu? Why?

by beagoodmom on February 22, 2007

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I spend alot of time planning what to feed the kids, buying things to feed the kids, making things to feed the kids. I want the kids to eat healthy, but I feel that diversity is more important. With enough diversity, nutrition will follow. Plus, it’s easier as a teenager/young adult to improve the health of your diet than the diversity of your diet.

You may not believe me, but I know an adult 30-something woman who will only eat chicken fingers when she eats out. And she calls them chicken fingers, not fried chicken breast strips. I know another 30 year old man whose only acceptable vegetable is carrots. Or what about the 5 adults, all members of the same extended family, who have never eaten salmon, the easiest to prepare, most palatable tasting fish ever?

I would prefer that my children have at least been exposed to a wide variety of things. Here are a few things we have eaten recently and why they made the menu.

  • Spaghetti Os- check the label. These are actually healthy. Also, Pookie likes spaghetti and I am trying to move him into “casserole acceptance.” Anything that is already stirred together and mixed up, rather than pristine white noodles with a small puddle of red sauce on top, is progress.
  • Bagels with Cream Cheese – Natural Ovens Brainy Bagels are chocked full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus it’s a very grown up food. You can’t expect to travel in adult circles if all you will eat is macaroni and Teddy Grahams. At some point you have to make the leap.
  • Hot Cocoa – the kids had never had a hot beverage before. New experience.
  • Baked Sweet Potato slices- very healthy and sort of like french fries. A vehicle for gross ketchup consumption, but it broadens the horizons again. “Potatoes come in different colors? You gotta be kidding me!”
  • Pop-Tarts – not healthy, but a good treat that is not candy. Somehow, the kids already associate treats with candy and ice cream. I think it is an OK idea to teach them that there are a lot of things that can fall into that category, things that you can only eat in moderation. I think it might lead to a bit less candy obsession.
  • Tortillas spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a banana – this was one of my best tricks recently. I am always trying to get the kids to try something new, but they are on to me. This concoction has 3 of their favorite things and a great name (The Banana Taco) and as much as they tried to resist, they could not.
  • Raw spinach leaves – somehow Geetle developed a taste for these. I think it happened by accident on a trip to Subway about year ago. She was so busy watching people walk by that she did not notice that she ate a handful of spinach off her sandwich. I had ordered the sandwich that way because I am always working the vegetable thing, although they usually pick them off. So now she likes raw spinach leaves. These are very healthy of course, but I hope its a gateway vegetable that leads to even greater vegetable diversity. I give them to her any chance I have.
  • Pepperoni and Cheese on a Cracker – Intro to Appetizers and Party Food 101.
  • Pears – sort of like apples, but not quite. Accepted by the average 4 year old because they seem enough like apples to pass inspection. Bam! another acceptable fruit added to the list.
  • Pureed Strawberries over Ice Cream- if you want the ice cream, you gotta get through the strawberries first. A 4 year old’s strong desire for ice cream helps encourage the transition between the known and the unknown.
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