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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?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through these links, your cost will be the same, but I will receive a small commission to help with operating costs of this blog. Thanks for your support!

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How I'm Feeding My Kids Differently in 2014 by Real Mom Nutrition

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions (beyond a flimsy promise to “drink more water” which always fizzles out by January 3rd). But recently, I read about a concept of assigning “themes” to the year instead, and that seems much more doable. Besides, thinking in broader concepts instead of narrow action items is a nice change of pace for this serial to-do-list maker. So while I’m still mulling over my personal themes for 2014, I decided to focus a few on how I feed my kids, since there’s always room for improvement in that department.

Here are the three themes I chose:

1. Balance.

Perhaps it’s because we’re crawling out from underneath an avalanche of holiday goodies (many of which were from my own kitchen), but I’m convinced we need to scale back on sugar in our house. Ideally, I like to limit sweet treats to no more than one a day and let my kids choose when they want it. In reality, this strategy fails more frequently than it works. My love for baking combined with sugary foods seemingly everywhere in my children’s lives–from school breakfast to the dry cleaner–conspires to over-sweeten our diets. It’s time to get back on track.

2. Adventure.

We recently took the kids to a Japanese steakhouse for the first time. They were thrilled with all the fire and spatula-tossing antics, my fourth grader ate two bowls of miso soup, and I was reminded that we don’t take nearly enough culinary risks when eating out, even though we live in a city with all kinds of restaurants. In 2014, I’d like to give the kids more exposure to different cuisines, instead of relying on the familiar. They may not like every meal, but they’ll probably surprise us too.

3. Independence.

I am intent on raising Men Who Can Cook. But too often, I let my desire to fix dinner quickly (read: have 30 minutes to myself in the kitchen and not create a huge mess) nix any plans to involve my boys in meal prep. That needs to change. I’m inspired by Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green, whose boys (ages 7 and 4) cook dinner for the family once a week with very little help (read all about it and see one of their meals here). I’d also like to get my kids more involved in packing their lunches and fixing their own snacks, not just to lighten my own load but also to give them tools they’ll need as they get older.

How about you: What would you like to change about how you feed your kids in the coming year?

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Lines in the Sand

November 23, 2009

Cloth or disposable, breast or bottle, attachment parenting or cry-it-out. When you become a mother, they’re some of the Big Choices you’re faced with right off the bat. But even when you’re past the baby stage—when your Diaper Champ can no longer contain the stinkiness and everyone is (kind of, sort of, almost) sleeping through […]

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