I had one of those rare mom-affirming moments the other day. I gave my kids smoothies made from an instant smoothie mix that you find in the freezer department. I never buy that stuff, but we were on week two of
"soft" diet for my daughter after tonsil surgery and I was out of ideas. So, I used a free item coupon and made the kids fake smoothies. Guess what? They hated them. Even my youngest, who would eat straight sugar for every meal if allowed, hated them. They all wanted "my" smoothies instead. It felt pretty good.
Let me be clear, I am not someone who feeds their kids a perfect diet. There are plenty of Oreo cookies around this place. I rarely give juice or soda and we eat plenty of fruits and veggies, but we also eat sugar; sometimes a lot of it. What I think I do well is that if given the choice between making and buying, I almost always choose making. I found early on that it is usually cheaper (after the initial sticker shock for fresh produce) for me to make most foods that could also be store bought. The added bonus of knowing exactly what's in the food I give my kids has become even more important as it seems more and more unrecognizable ingredients are popping up on lables these days.
I make smoothies with only yogurt, fruit and ice. I make old fashioned popcorn for snacks instead of bags of chips. I made baby food purees and later used purees to sneak into home cooked meals.
Now I have kids who eat vegetables pretty well so I can stop sneaking. I make dinner nearly every night and it almost never (I said almost) involves macaroni or nuggets unless there is a sitter or it's a late summer beach night and I've had a few, ahem- cocktails. I make icing and often cakes from scratch and I am NOT a
baker. I got the recipes from the back of the cocoa can. I have even started making bread for lunches and fresh waffles for breakfast. (That just pushed me over the
crazy edge didn't it?)
My point is, I'm not super ambitious, I am super-busy and yet even I can make a good deal of healthy
foods that we all like. I have figured out non-chef work arounds for most everything. So, when you see the ladies on the morning talk shows steaming and chopping and pureeing baby food, don't be scared. There is a way to do it that is way easier and requires far fewer pieces of fancy kitchen equipment than they have. Trust me. I have neither time nor fancy kitchen equipment and I fed my babies a diet of
those cute little ice-cube tray foods almost exclusively.
Feeding kids well requires a little extra time for planning but if I can manage it, then everyone can. Believe me, the peace of mind that comes from knowing what you are putting in your kid’s mouth is worth every extra second.
Cristie can be found offering other tid-bits on the blog for her parent education and baby planning business, The Right Hand Mom and sharing her not-so- fine parenting moments and telling tales on her family at The Traveling Circus.