Lena has a new little brother, so I am cooking for a baby again. I know there are a lot of posts out there about how to make homemade baby food, but I thought it might be helpful to see several ways that I make baby grains. Continue reading
A lot of people ask me what I give children for snacks. My answer may take a bit of re-conceptualizing about what a snack really is.
I actually don’t even like using the word snack. In my mind, every time a child eats, it should be thought of as a meal. It may be a large meal or a small one, but it’s still a meal. I have them sit down and focus only on eating. I emphasize grains and vegetables way more than fruit. I also stay away from dry, crunchy things. Sure, children love them. But, I can do better than that. Running around on the playground with a baggie full of puffs is only going to lead down a road of mindless eating, poor digestion and blood sugar issues. The same thing so many adults suffer from with our irregular eating habits, eating on the run and at the desk while working.
One simple strategy I have seen many parents use for meal planning is to have a set dish they make for each day of the week. Then, no matter where you are in your day, whether at work, picking up children from school or wiping noses, you always know that if it is Wednesday, for example, you will have burritos for dinner.
Having a plan that stays pretty much the same every week makes grocery shopping simple, too. It’s easy to always have a stash of tortillas in the freezer and to know that Tuesday night you will need to soak your beans. Or, you pull a jar of already cooked ones from the freezer because every other week you make double.
When I think about making meals fun, it’s not usually about cutting carrot flowers or making smiley faces with raisins. These are fun, but there are a lot of other ways to help our children be engaged and interested in eating.
Children love things that are visually appealing and they love to be engaged in a story. Here are some simple ways I keep children interested in their meal and help them either try new foods or remember that they really do like broccoli. Continue reading
I grew up saying grace with my family before every dinner. We would hold hands and pray and at the end we would squeeze whomever’s hands we were holding three times, representing the three words “I love you.” (If you have siblings, you might guess that I didn’t always squeeze my sister’s hand!) This simple tradition has meant enough to me that I have taught it to every child I have cared for since. My sisters continue to do the same with their families.