Thursday, September 16, 2010

At the mercy of the food police

I am a self-admitted bad cook. Okay, not a terrible cook -- I can bring water to a boil without scorching it -- but I'm definately an uninspired cook.

That's the real reason I have 31 meals pre-planned that I use on a rotating basis. What? Me come up with something creative in the kitchen? Sorry, all that creative energy just got expended on my main characters!

We eat okay, but nothing to write home about -- or to write to school about. So imagine my panic when The Kiddo divested her bookbag of one (1) weekly food survey.

It was a chart, and The Kiddo was to fill it out with what she has for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The point, of course, is to teach healthy eating habits. But, oh, my, I'm about to get busted for enabling The Kiddo's Lucky Charms addiction.

Luckily The Husband in a stroke of complete serendipity prepared a grilled cheese sandwich for The Kiddo for breakfast yesterday morning, and supper was chili and cornbread, so I looked good, if I do say so myself.

This morning, though, The Husband said, "Now that they're checking meals, you need to cook healthier stuff." He proceeded to fry the child an egg.

It's not that I'm loading The Kiddo up on deep fried chicken tenders and french fries (I don't.) It's just that ... well, vegetables that I can afford bore the stew out of me. What is there in the frozen foods department besides baby limas, green beans, and turnip greens that are fit to eat? I've tried frozen carrots (yech), frozen broccoli (double yech) and the brussels sprouts are pretty much hit or miss.

Couple that with The Kiddo's strong propensity for noodles, and sometimes the only vegetable on the table will be the chopped up garlic that I used to season the pasta sauce (I know, I am a bad, bad mommy.) She likes salads (as long as they're caesar with no hint of carrots), but my grocery budget sometimes won't stretch to the arm-and-a-leg price tag on romaine lettuce.

I miss fresh summer squash and eggplants and sweet potatoes. Those are the interesting veggies. They also tend to be the expensive veggies that The Kiddo, most conveniently, won't touch a morsel of. Sigh.

Well, maybe the lack of those Happy Meals will make up for the lack of veggies? But if the food police come and arrest me, will someone bail me out?


Linda G. said...

Wish I could offer up some useful advice, but that would be the blind leading the blind. ;)

But don't worry too much about the Lucky Charms. I hear they have vitamins. Have you ever tried them with Vanilla Soy milk? Pretty yummy, and soy milk is fortified, too. Also, soy milk comes from a bean. That's gotta count for something. ;)

Matthew Rush said...

I will most certainly bail you out.

I have a hard time getting my kids to eat vegetables too, well the little one at least. I try to use meals in which you can sneak the vegetables in: lasagnas, other pastas that can disguise red peppers, casseroles ... but you're right, those meals are expensive to prepare and if the little one catches even a glimpse of a broccoli floret, it's over.

Summer said...

Don't sell your pasta too short--tomatoes are an excellent source of nutrition!

I've started buying the "steamer" veggies in the frozen section. I get the singles, since a supposed single serving can actually serve two. The green peas and sweet corn are great.

Maybe you could try different methods for cooking the same things? Whenever I make green beans, I always sautee them in olive oil with garlic powder and italian seasoning, until the beans are just this side of overdone. It's really good, and different from a boiled or steamed variety.

Or maybe Santa can bring you the Cooking Light cookbook, which supplies side dishes with each main meal. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

If the food police ever came to my house, I would be in jail for the rest of my life.

When Monster Baby was just learning how to eat real food, I was the Uber-Mommy and made her fresh everything and then ground it up, no Gerber for my little one.

Then the fateful day when her father (sometimes I could kill him) introduced her to chicken nuggets and chocolate milk.

Needless to say her eating habits haven't been the same since. Mac'n cheese, hot dogs, deli meat, pizza, are the four main food groups in her diet. Luckily, she likes fruit, however she's allergic to most of it, so apples and oranges are pretty much it.

Thank the Lord they make children's vitamins.

wordsareforwriting said...

This is quite an insightful post.

I can´t believe fresh produce in America is so expensive that people have to buy frozen food!

At the moment the Austrlian and American dollars are more or less the same.

Here are prices for 2.2 pounds (1 kilo - Australia uses kilos)of fruits and vegetables. These prices are for produce bought in a supermarket. If you go to a farmer's market , it´s normally cheaper.

Tomatos - $3.99
Bananas - $2.99
Apples - $2.99
Mushrooms - $8.99
Broccoli - $4.99

How do Americans survive if they can't buy fruit and vegetables. The mind boggles...

Lickety Splitter said...

Oh goodness. Don't mention bad eating habits. Is popcorn for dinner a bad thing if you don't have children to feed?

Tawna Fenske said...

I'm a total vegetable fiend, and I love sneaking them into things. I buy giant bags of carrots (which are super cheap) and shred them up in the food processor so I can add them to meatloaf (often made w/ lean ground turkey) or tuna fish sandwiches. I do the same with spinach -- shred it up and throw it in lasagna.

I also love serving entrees (fish & chicken especially) on a bed of wilted spinach.

Pasta is another dish I load up with veggies. I buy frozen asparagus and frozen artichoke hearts and toss those in with a bunch of garlic and then saute in a tiny bit of olive oil. I'll add spinach and tomatoes at the end, and sauce it up with some fat-free cream cheese, maybe a little chicken broth, a little wine, a little more garlic...mmm, I'm making myself hungry now.