I WISH I COULD FEED MY KIDS KRAFT DINNER.

I do.  I wish I could make my kids K.D. with hot dog smiley faces and hold their birthday parties at McDonalds with crowns and a Ronald cake.  I remember my own parties plus the parties of all of my friends being held at the “Golden Arches” and they were magical – Ronald even sent me a Birthday Card one year.

I wish I didn’t know about Pink Slime, GMO’s, Monsanto or all the other things that have broken our food system, but I do. I am aware of too many harmful decisions made in favour of faster food production and bigger pay cheques.  I also know how food can be linked to our emotional state.  Introduced innocently at first as a way to keep bored or anxious kids calm and then maybe as a treat or reward for good behaviour and then you find yourself eating a tub of ice cream after a breakup, or {SPOILER} during Breaking Bad {SPOILER} when they kill Hank.

My kids are great eaters.  They eat real food which I prepare every day and we all eat at set meal times .. it is exhausting, I would obviously rather order in or make “from the box” but I just can’t.  AND I’m not even hardcore.  I know people with and without kids who make everything from scratch, buy local organic soy based products and know the farmers they are supporting.  I am NOT there.  I am simply responsible for two humans who deserve the best I can do with the information I have.

When I was pregnant my sense of smell and taste was so exaggerated and the space in my belly was so limited that eating became “nutrition necessity”.   Everything smelled like dirt, puke and garbage to me so I was not able to be in the kitchen and J ended up making 99.9% of our meals usually based around what I “needed”.  Did I have enough iron that day, Did I need Folic Acid, Calcium or Vitamin A in this meal.  It sounds exhausting (and I’m sure for J it was) but it exposed me to the idea of eating for sustenance as opposed to “because it’s time” or “out of bordem” or “because I’m sad/tired/happy”.

It made me respect food and appreciate it’s value and while I’ve tried to keep that philosophy going strong, J and I steer away from it from time to time – but the twins… they don’t know about “junk food” or “late night eating”.  They only know the food we expose them to and they are more than happy to see their oatmeal and banana each morning.

I’m not saying I won’t give them cake or treats… but not yet, not when they enjoy watermelon or spinach and mango smoothies.  I know it will probably end.  I know they will want candy and birthday cake and oreos but right now I would rather “stress” over making their meals as opposed to questioning if there is any FOOD value in the food I have bought for them.

So no K.D. or wiener faces and no stops for a burger at McD’s….. even though my childhood is sprinkled with these staples the times have a’changed and it’s not the same meat, it’s not the same cheesy powder and if we’re being honest, it’s not even the same fresh fruit that I grew up on.  We used to get our meat from my Grandparents farm (I’ve later learned nothing went to waste – which means the “beef” I ate, occasionally included their organs – ugh).  But it was real – as were the fresh eggs laid that morning or the jerky my dad’s friend would make from whatever animal he caught that weekend – dried and spiced in his own back yard.

The times have a’changed and my goal is to keep my kids as excited about real food as possible – not to use it as a reward or give it emotional attachments but instead help them explore the sound and taste of what we eat and as they get older hope they continue to jump up and down with excitement at every meal – to get giddy over salmon and be hit or miss with broccoli but still try it just in case it tastes different “this time”.

So I’m reaching out:  What are your favourite “go-to” foods.  Just to be fair here are a few of our adult/child friendly winners right now:

1) Beet Rice with Rosemary and Kale:  yep it makes delicious red rice. Usually served with chicken or salmon

2) Summer Salad Dressing:  ALWAYS a hit.  In a food processor add each ingredient one at a time.  1 clove of Garlic, 8 leaves of Basil (optional), 1/2 lemon, 2 second poor of either olive oil or 1 egg (yes a raw egg) – this usually makes enough for 4 people – if you need more I recommend the egg over the oil for a better flavour.  You want the dressing to lightly cover the salad not drown it.

2.5)  Summer Salad: Spinach, Strawberries or Blueberries, Feta, Cashews or any nuts, 1 cup of cold rice.

3) Mashed Vegetables:  potato, yam, eggplant, turnip, chickpeas and garlic.  Peel (at least the Eggplant), cut everything into cubes and boil in the same pot, drain and mash with butter, milk, or use a little of the boiled water to help with the mash.

4) Smoothie – handfull of spinach, 1 banana, 1 tsp of honey (start small – add to taste) ANY other fruit.  Strawberry, blueberry, mango are ALL winners.  It’s green but it tastes fruity and it’s filling.

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