Of Steamed Tuna and Hopes for a Better Future: A Plan for Meal Time Madness

On one of our first dates, my partner made me a meal of steamed tuna and mixed frozen vegetables on a bed of egg noodles. His mama taught him well, it was a balanced meal—protein, vegetables, carbs—and took full advantage of the one pot and steamer that he had. Even my fairly unrefined palate had a difficult time downing that meal. It is probably memories of that meal that have made me incredibly concerned about getting my kids involved in the kitchen and learning real cooking skills.

To me, it’s more than just cooking. It’s about everyone in the family being more conscious of the food choices that we make. Making dinner can be a chore if you don’t enjoy it. Many of us come home from work exhausted, and just rush through the motions simply to get something on the table.

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Eating A Lot, A Dad’s Work

When I was growing up, I always looked up to my dad and the sheer amount of food he could ingest in one sitting. Me and my two brothers would watch, our forks stuck in our mouths as we watched our seconds turn into his thirds and fourths. As much as I wanted by seconds, I was more in awe of his ability to make food disappear.

So when I became a dad, I thought it was my job to eat as much as I could as fast as I could. Now, even though my dad ate a lot, I still learned to eat quite fast. You can’t help but learn that skill if you have a fast eating dad and two other brothers to compete with at the dinner table.

For a while I had an easy job staying at the top of the food chain at my own dinner table. My wife couldn’t cut it and my first daughter, while she started strong, has slowed into a low-level speed eater.

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Dieting and Setting a Precedent with Your Children

Every New Year, there are so many people that make the resolution to get fit, get healthy, exercise and diet. I am one of those. I am guilty of pretty much year after year, making the resolution to better my physical self, whether it is to diet, exercise or a combination of both.

What I have noticed this year however, is what effect this has on my daughter. She is 5 and a half years old, and she notices. Kids are our little mimics – listening to everything we say, watching what we do, and copying it all.

So when I say “No, I can’t eat that”, or “that is not healthy” or “I hate myself, I am so fat” – she hears it all. Kids are also little sponges. So just because they may not say anything or react on that now, it is still in her memory, something she will pull from in the future.

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A Sneaky Treat That Everyone Will Love

A few months ago, I wrote about my worries with hiding veggies in my toddler’s food. In the end I had decided that it wasn’t that bad. As he hit the height of the terrible twos and became an even pickier eater, I became firmly resolved to shove as many hidden veggies in his diet as possible.

Recently, I came across a healthy toddler recipe Pinterest and thought it might be worth a try. It’s sort of like a carrot muffin, but with all sorts of other things in it—like banana, squash, and bran. But, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it—the original recipe called for butter and white flour, while okay for the occasional treat, not what I want in our everyday repertoire.

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The Salad Bar

So when my son says ‘mom, can we have that supper where we get to pick different things from bowls by ourselves’ and I say ‘you mean the salad buffet?’ and he says ‘ya, that!! Can we do that for supper?’ you know that my answer will be YES.

The Salad Bar/Buffet has become a staple in our house. It satisfies the kids’ desires to decide what they eat and how much, and for us it’s nothing but deliciousness. Now that it’s market season, this will become an even more popular dinner item.

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My Love Hate Relationship With Splenda

When I first started grocery shopping after my daughter’s diagnosis I decided I would brave the baking aisle to see what exactly was available to me. Low and behold to my amazement there it was, the answer to all my problems, Splenda! Measure cup for cup like sugar, great for baking, heck there’s even a brown sugar version! Life was great!

When I got home I proudly announced to my daughter that tomorrow we’d be making cupcakes and a cake for mommy’s decorating class. She gave me the biggest smile I had seen in a while! The next morning we got down to business, the mixer and cook book were out along with our bag of Splenda. We followed our recipe for the cake to a “T” and measured our Splenda cup for cup. We put it in to the oven and began the same process again, this time for our cupcakes. About 35 minutes later the timer goes off, I open the oven door, and to my amazement my cake was about a 1/2 inch thick and was as solid as a brick. I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. It had to have been a mistake I made. So we put the cupcakes we had been working on in the oven, and low and behold, the same thing happened. What did I do wrong?

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