Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Picky Eaters Anyone??

I was talking to a friend the other day and she was sharing her frustration on having everyone eat the same thing for dinner.  Her and her husband are on Weight Watchers and trying to eat healthy, but sometimes the kids do not want to eat what they are having, yet she does not want to play short order cook after working all day!

I have a picky eater too and the last thing I wanted to deal with at the end of a long day was her telling me she was not going to eat because she did not like what we are having.  Growing up, I would not have had a choice but to eat what was there, sit at the table hungry, etc...  But, I do not have the energy to deal with a hungry child at the end of the day who still has homework to do, etc.

So, there are 3 choices I always have available in my refrigerator that are relatively healthy and easy for my daughter to make herself and just in time for everyone to sit down together.  Because again, my goal was to have a family dinner - who cares what everyone ate, as long as I did not play short order cook and we were all together.

Choice number 1:  The Italian: 
Cook a box of pasta - shapes hold up the best - penne, bowties, macaroni, etc.   Drain, add a touch of olive oil so it does not stick, pour into a ziploc bag and put in the fridge.  When your little one does not want whats for dinner. Pour into a bowl, add his/her favorite sauce or butter and parmesean with cracked pepper ( the favorite of my picky eater!) and dinner is ready.   The good news here, if the pasta does not get eaten by the end of the week, you have the beginning of a pasta salad,  pasta side dish - just toss with some pesto, or a pasta dinner - make a pan sauce and dadah!!

Choice number 2: The Cuban:
One of my time saving tricks - along with the pasta, is to cook a few cups of rice early in the week, enough for at least 2 meals.  Leftover rice works well for picky eaters too!  I never had this growing up in my Italian family, but my Cuban husband did.  Heat up the rice in the microwave - I always put a damp towel over and it comes out perfect. (my mom's trick )  Then top with a fried egg or two.  Followed by a ketchup happy face!  It might not sound good, but I promise - it is delicious.  Your picky eater will have protein, carbs and according to my daughter a vegetable - if you put a big enough happy face! 

Choice number 3:  The American:          
Who says sandwiches are just for lunch?  Keep some lunchmeat in your fridge and a quick sandwich with a piece of fruit or a few pickle strips is satisfying enough for anyone!  

Eventually, my picky eater made a deal with my dad, when he spent a summer with us, that she had to try at least one thing on the table if she was not going to eat the entire meal and every now and then she was surprised at the foods she liked!

Not sure why, but I just realized that my Dad's name was Sam and this made me think of
Dr. Seuss' s Green Eggs and Ham - One day our picky eaters will say:  "I do like this Sam I am!"- and I will eat it - in a ....and on a ... 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pizza Night!

With my husband and I both working and the kids having a busy after school schedule, we declared every Wednesday to be Pizza Night (or any other fast food -my kids always like rotisserie chicken from Publix too!). It means a break for mom and dad - pick up or order out. No thinking about, "What's for dinner" all day.

If possible, still try to eat together - use paper plates, shoot for minimal dirty dishes and more time to be together and share about the day.

I once had a manager who declared everyday a different night - she had Pollo Tropical night, Burger King night, Subway night, etc.. I admit, I thought she was crazy, but in reality, she had figured out how to eat with her kids every night that she did not have to work late without spending hours in the kitchen. She made healthy dinner choices from the menu and everyone grew up fine!

Pick whatever day works for you and Go For It!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Set the table...

Something as simple as setting the table lets everyone know that we are all eating dinner together tonight. My friend Kristi shared today that she gives everyone a 10 minute warning that dinner is ready..time to finish up what you are doing, turn off your electronics and join the family for dinner. After a few times, this will become a part of your family's routine.