Hi, Welcome to the Ritz Carlton for Kids!
Oh, I mean my kitchen.
I’m pretty sure that my boys are some of the pickiest eaters out there. And I’m also sure that I am largely to blame.
In the last seven years I’ve become the accommodating mom that I swore I’d never be.
When I was a kid, it was eat your butter beans or get a spanking. I didn’t want to be that mom either.
But somehow I’ve created food-fussy kids. (Food-fussy is a word by the way.)
Now, let me just say that I wouldn’t consider either of my boys to be difficult children. I almost never take them out without getting some kind of compliment on their behavior. They are happy, help out without complaining, have great manners and are extremely loving. All in all, great kids.
But everything changes when when we start talking about food. Oh sure, when they are refusing my latest creation they will say “no, THANK YOU” in the sweetest voice possible.
A small consolation to a mom who is worried about her kids getting enough to eat. (And consistently tough on my ego.)
You know the whole, “They will eat when they get hungry enough” thing? Um, yeah. Not at my house.
Both of them will willingly miss meals or under eat to the point of losing weight when they are not given something they want.
It’s a constant battle because I’m so focused on keeping them on a mostly whole foods diet, but struggle to keep them both in a healthy weight range. In a world of childhood obesity I never thought I’d be battling single digit BMI’s. (Yeah, I kinda hate ‘em for that too…)
I’ll give you some examples of their food persnickety behavior just so you understand how much work it creates.
My oldest won’t touch pasta (except for mac n cheese) but my youngest loves it.
My youngest, on the other hand, won’t touch beans unless they are re-fried. And then only sometimes.
One likes white cheese. It’s only yellow for the other.
One likes brown rice, the other wild. Neither will touch their “brother’s rice”. (Not such an issue since the whole arsenic in rice thing.) Same goes for white and sweet potatoes.
One won’t touch anything with any type of nuts. His brother won’t touch nuts every other day.
Last month, they loved soy yogurt. This month it is “gross”. The month before that it was pudding. (Typical toddler behavior, right? Did I mention I’m preparing for Alex’s 8th birthday and that little brother is only littler by 14 months?)
Oh, and my oldest only likes ONE brand of organic mustard. I have four other bottles in my fridge that I’ve got to try to find a way to work into recipes. So if anyone ever needs me to ship them a bottle…
I could go on all day here.
If you ask Alex what he wants the response will likely be something like this: “I’d like a Chick’n Bagel Sandwich with Gardein Tenders, not Scallopini. Toast the bagel, but not so it’s brown and make sure you remember to turn the Chick’n when you cook it so it doesn’t get soggy. Dad sets a timer to flip them at the perfect time. I’d like mustard but remember to use the mustard I like. On the side I’d like baby carrots and strawberries. Are the strawberries really fresh because I don’t want them mushy? If they are mushy, I’ll take a green apple.”
I kid you not. Boy, am I glad I had that conversation a year ago with him about asking for exactly what he wants?! (Thank God he’s not like this about anything else!)
Pizza night sounds easy, right? Especially since my freezer is always packed with frozen dough and sauce I’ve made.
Pizza night in my house means rolling out and preparing four completely different pizzas. God forbid my boys eat the same thing.
My oldest is by far the most difficult about food and will not touch red sauce on pizza. So for him I must prepare a Mexican pizza. My youngest loves plain cheese pizza but will not touch vegetables willingly and will refuse to eat if I try to do 1/2 his pizza and half someone elses. Even if there is absolutely nothing touching his pieces.
And my husband….well, since he handles all things technical around here, maybe it would be unwise to go there?
Something I’ve realized as of late is that I just can’t continue at the rate I’m going. With a new baby on the way something has got to give.
I’ve already tried and failed at the “you’ll eat what I give you are starve” thing. That landed my 7 year old in a size 4 swimsuit, thanks.
So instead, I’m going to be focusing on family meals that are versatile without too much effort. Because as picky as they are, they had to get it from somewhere and I’m not willing to sacrifice on taste. I’m also trying to find recipes where I can chop veggies up small and hope they aren’t noticed.
Today’s Veggie & Quinoa Burritos are a perfect example.
They are easily made vegan for me. It’s also easy to make with one kind of cheese for one of them and one for the other. No need to skip flavor for me because I can just use plain sour cream for them. And it’s easy to add Chick’n and toppings for the hubby. (Oh, yeah we aren’t going there – forgot.)
It’s still not a perfect solution, but it’s progress.
It’s a WHOLE lot easier than having pizzas in the oven for 1 1/2 hours straight!
Make this dish more kid friendly by substituting plain cooked quinoa and plain sour cream.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup vegan or low fat sour cream OR Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1/8 tablespoon chipotle chili pepper powder (optional)
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- ¾ cup shredded zucchini
- ¾ cup chopped tomatoes
- 4 whole wheat or gluten free tortillas
- 1 cup Daiya Pepper Jack or Cheddar Cheese
- For serving: Salsa and/or Guacamole (optional)
- Spray a medium saucepan with organic canola spray. Add onion and jalapeno and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add quinoa and garlic and sauté for one minute. Add vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 more minutes.
- In a small bowl combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and chipotle chili pepper.
- Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and spray with canola oil spray. Add corn and zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for one additional minute. Remove vegetables from heat and wipe pan carefully with paper towels.
- Heat tortillas a few minutes per side. Spread with a thin layer of sour cream. Top with ¼ cup cheese, ¼ of the quinoa and ¼ of the vegetable mixture. Roll up using toothpicks to secure.
- Return skillet to medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add 2 burritos to pan and cook each side until browned.
With Daiya: Servings 4, Calories 385, Fat 12.9g, Carbohydrates 57.8, Protein 9.5g, Cholesterol 8mg, Sodium 558mg, Fat 6.6g, Sugars 3.7g With Cheddar Servings 4, Calories 409, Fat 16.3g, Carbohydrates 51.1g, Protein 15.5g, Cholesterol 38mg, Sodium 483mg, Fiber 5.6g, Sugars 3.9g Without Cheese Servings 4, Calories 295, Fat 7g, Carbohydrates 50.8, Protein 8.5g, Cholesterol 8mg, Sodium 308mg, Fiber 5.6g, Sugars 3.7g Nutritional information assumes 130 calorie wrap
Post featured in Wellness Weekend.