dining out

New Year's Food Resolutions For Me & My Kids by Real Mom NutritionI set the same goal every single year: Drink more water. The ugly truth? I never, ever keep it. (It’s my worst health habit. I swear, I’m working on it!)

So last year, I went another route. Instead of resolutions, I chose three “themes” for the new year for how I wanted to feed my kids (read: “Feeding My Kids: What I’ll Be Doing Differently in 2014“).

Did they stick? Here’s what happened:

Theme #1: Balance

I wanted to reign in sugar, limiting sweet treats to no more than one a day.

What worked: For the most part, I stopped putting any kind of sweet in my kids’ lunch boxes since they enjoy having something after dinner. I made a conscious effort to buy cereals with around 5 or fewer grams of sugar per serving (read: “My 5 Favorite Boxed Cereals“). I also trimmed sugar in foods like yogurt (read: “5 Easy Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Child’s Diet“).

What didn’t: I made too many home baked desserts. I love to bake, but it’s too tempting for all of us.

Goal for 2015: Take some the time I spend in the kitchen baking and use it for cooking meals for the freezer instead.

Theme #2: Adventure

I wanted to give the kids more exposure to different cuisines, instead of relying on the familiar.

What worked: We had Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Greek, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

What didn’t: Too often, we chose a favorite restaurant or recipe instead of branching out. Moving outside our comfort zones can be hard, especially when it’s possible the boys won’t like the food.

Goal for 2015: Try out local Indian, Ethiopian, and French restaurants. Be okay if the kids only eat the bread. Stick with it.

Theme #3: Independence

I wanted to get my kids more involved in cooking dinner, packing their lunches, and fixing their own snacks.

What worked: With their Curious Chef Knives, they sliced fruit and cheese themselves for snacks. I taught my six year old how to use the microwave to warm up a bowl of frozen edamame. I taught my 10 year old how to heat soup on the stove and make scrambled eggs for himself. (Hey, it’s a start.)

What didn’t: I couldn’t relinquish control over the lunch boxes. I just couldn’t. And my plan to have my kids cook dinner went nowhere. They had zero interest, and I realized how much I savor my time alone in the kitchen at the end of the day.

Goal for 2015: Get my kids in the kitchen on weekend mornings since they’ve shown some interest in making breakfast. Work toward dinner. Don’t compare my kids with preschoolers on Facebook who are poaching fish and mastering soufflés.

And there is hope: My six year old actually asked for (and received) this Playful Chef Cooking Kit for Christmas. It includes a bunch of pint-sized cooking tools, an apron, and laminated recipe cards that include tips on cooking techniques, ingredient “fun facts”, and even little tidbits about nutrition. He’s made eggs and smoothies so far, and I’m hoping that having his own kitchen gear will motivate him. Because I am determined to raise boys who can cook!

Playful Chef Deluxe Cooking KitIs there anything you’d like to change about how you feed your kids in 2015?


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This is Day 2 of my 4 Days of Giveaways! I’m hosting a different giveaway every day.

I have proclaimed my love for Noodles & Company already.

But just to recap: I love the food (especially the Japanese Pan Noodles and the Pasta Fresca). I love that my kids love the food. And I love that it’s fast. Fast enough that my fidgety preschooler doesn’t get into too much trouble while we’re waiting for the food. Except for the time he grabbed a giant cookie from the counter display and bit right through the plastic. But that’s another post.

Today’s giveaway is for TWO free bowls of Noodles & Company noodles, plus a cute little paper and cloth bag filled with a MAC DADDY t-shirt for the man in your life and some Noodles & Company temporary tattoos for the kiddos.

To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your favorite family restaurant. To increase your odds, you can also:

  • “Like” Real Mom Nutrition on Facebook here, then leave me another comment telling me that you did.
  • Tweet about the giveaway, then leave me another comment that includes a copy of your tweet.

The giveaway ends Monday, March 19 at noon. I’ll choose a winner at random through Random.org‘s number generator.

Disclaimer: Noodles & Company provided me with the prizes and a free tasting of their Grown-Up Mac & Cheese dishes.




Noodles & Company Giveaway!

April 26, 2011

One thing Sam will reliably eat, no trickery necessary: The macaroni and cheese at Noodles & Company. Lucky for us, Noodles (as it’s known around our house) is pretty much the only family restaurant that fits our current criteria of quick, inexpensive, and loud enough to cover any kid-related outbursts. There’s a lot I like […]

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On the Menu: Full Disclosure

January 5, 2010

The last time I ate out–and I use that term loosely because it was at a Panera along I-70 in Ohio–I had a squirmy toddler, a spazzy kindergartener, and a hungry husband with me. Simply placing the order was an ordeal (“I want mac and cheese…no! I mean grilled cheese…no! I mean mac and cheese…”), […]

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