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!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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