Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Daunting Task

It feels overwhelming. I feel defensive. The reasons why it won't work come bubbling up faster than the hopeful thoughts of success.

Healthier eating. If it was just for me, I know I wouldn't do it. I'm content enough with my health that the extra efforts to control my snacking and cook healthier meals just won't happen. But when you bring my kids and hubby into the equation...then I have to try.

My kids aren't getting enough fuel during the day. Every morning, the girls get up and make themselves breakfast. They get themselves cold cereal (usally Cinnamon Life, Frosted Mini Wheats, or Kix) or they pop a bread item (bagel, english muffin, or Eggo waffle) into the toaster. I send them to school with a bagged lunch, consisting of a Capri Sun drink, half a turkey or ham sandwich, a piece of fruit, and some type of cracker. Spunky Girl, my 6 year old, never touches her sandwich. That means that every day she consumes only carbs and a light amount of fruit until 3:30 pm. That is just not the fuel she should have to run her brain and body throughout the day. I've tried sending other protein sources in her lunch (like yogurt or cheese) and I've tried making them smoothies in the morning (a lot of work and they only take one or two sips). It just never seems to stick because they prefer the carb options.

At snack time after school, I can usually talk them into some cheese...but only if I pair it with a carb. Sweetness, my 8 year old, loves nachos so she'll pop some tortilla chips into the microwave with cheese shredded on top. Spunky girl will have some slices of cheese with crackers or maybe some string cheese. They'll eat those things if there is no sugar-filled items to entice them, like a pudding cup or cookies.

The dinner plate always has three parts: the protein, the carb, and the veggie. Sometimes the carb and the meat are combined (like tacos). I found myself always placing a large carb item on their plates because I knew I would only get 2 bites of a veggie and 3 bites of a protein into them. At least when I offered a carb, I knew they wouldn't leave the table hungry. I try to serve water or milk only with dinner (although I've been talked into chocolate milk more times than I want to admit).

I look at all that breakdown and think "I'm not doing too bad. That sounds like a reasonable offering." but then I think about the breakdown of food that actually ends up in their body and I realize it is pretty much all carbs except for maybe 8 bites of fruit, protein, and veggie.

I think the hard part about making healthier food is that I have to mentally gear up for 2 things:
* the extra time it takes
* the resistance I'm going to get from the kids

Adding more work into the day is daunting when you already feel like the work you do is constant. There is already a long list of housework chores that aren't getting done. When you add to that the knowledge that the extra effort you put in will not be met with gratitude and joy, but instead with groanings and tears, it makes getting started a bit of an emotional hurdle. Do I really want to make meals an unhappy event? Do I want kids crying because I've only served pork chops and broccoli for dinner and there isn't anything that they want to eat? Do I really want to make myself get up early to cook a protein filled breakfast on the stove instead of letting the kids make their own breakfast?

So we gave it a try this morning. Hubby woke me up early (as he was leaving for work) and I started on breakfast before the kids got out of bed. I made eggs and sausage patties this morning. The kids loved it. Spunky Girl ironically commented "sausage is junk food" and happily ate it. Hubby commented "they probably shouldn't have eggs every day", which might be true from a cholesterol point-of-view. I feel good about sending them to school with a belly full of protein, even if it isn't low least it wasn't full of white flour and sugar.

I thought I might try to change one thing a month and then keep that one thing going. February will be trying to make healthier breakfasts for the kids. Maybe March will be trying to cut down their tv time, although I suspect all the sports that are starting in March (swimming and soccer) will help with that. Who knows.

got ideas for me? Things that I can do for healthier eating? I'm sure I've got a defensive reason why that won't work, but I might still give it a try!


  1. I find if I put a plate of fruit (grapes, cherries etc) out on the table at dinner time or snack time and don't say anything about it, they will eat it and eat alot. I know fruit isn't as good as veggies, but it's better than just carbs (which is what my kids want to eat too).

  2. Have you tried cheesy brocilli? or artichokes (whole and fresh - - not canned) if you steam them, they can peal off the leaves, dip the leaf in a little butter and bite off the kids LOVE artichokes like this...homemade guac with tortilla chips (easier than it sounds - - chop avacados fine and put them in chunky salsa), apples or celery filled with peanut butter, and cauliflouer with mayo and mustard mixed to takes with melted cheese on top. These are just a few ideas...also try putting a bed or white rice under meat and gravy...the rice is better than pasta and bread. Good luck!

  3. I love your resolve. Think you are right with slow changes. I am right there with you, my friend. My kids aren't picky, but will always choose mac and cheese or sugary treats over a healthy option. They abhor when I make then eat old-fashioned oatmeal with fresh blueberries. Too bad. Now if I could only tame my portion control....sigh!


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