Friday, February 04, 2011

Eat your vegetable or... well... something bad happens, I am told. 14 / 30

Last night as I sat down to do my evening Blog post, something extraordinary happened.  In between pressing one key and another, I fell asleep at the keyboard.  In all my years of online gaming and chat / forum posting until 3 am, I have never actually fallen asleep at the computer desk.  And to make matters worse, it was only 10:20 at night.

Ironically, my post last night was to be a scathing tirade against people who make commitments and then don’t follow up on them.  Inspired by my lovely wife’s question as to why that bothered me so much, I had spent a considerable amount of time (about ten, maybe fifteen minutes) thinking about why it bothered me.  Then, charged with a righteous fury, I proceeded to... fall asleep.

So I have failed.  I failed to complete thirty blog posts in thirty days - well, more accurately one blog post per day for thirty days.  Unlike the last 4,209 times I have fallen off the wagon on a diet or a work out routine though, I am refusing to just quit because it got too hard, or to hang my head in shame and declare that I was doomed from the start.  So once more into the breach my friends!!!

Today’s topic, eating healthy with kids and limited time... and my plea to the parents and cooks out there for help and ideas.

I am ashamed to admit that my boys eat a disproportionate amount of processed foods.  We eat, on average, at least one or two frozen pizzas a week.  The rest of the week likely consists of pre-made hamburgers (on the Foreman grill in the winter or the BBQ in the summer), the boys’ favorite food, Hamburger Helper (which I try to serve with a salad at least), hot dogs (with KD) and chicken nuggets (with pre-made fries).  OK, that is a slight exaggeration.  We usually have McDonalds once a week too.

I am a very, very bad dad.

I started looking, on my coffee break today, at some alternatives to eating these foods, while still making foods that the boys will eat.  It looks almost too easy!  Hell, we can even eat the same things, just made with raw ingredients rather than pre-packaged ones.  Home made pizza, with fresh dough made in the bread maker, is a no-brainer.  Pasta with a tomato meat sauce is almost as easy, though making the sauce from scratch may be more challenging.  Burgers are easy!  Substitute ground turkey for the beef, or at least use extra lean meat, and we’re set.  More veggies is tough - the boys will frequently rather die than eat broccoli, but if we try peas (they seem to like peas) maybe we’ll have more luck.  When I have the time, I love to cook and bake - the weekends are usually a time for an actual decent and healthy meal.  But...

The problem is the time.  On the typical weekday, I get home from work at about 5:30.  On any day when my wife is working, that means I have about a half hour to play with the boys before making something fast and easy (read, unhealthy) and then its dinner, bath and bedtime.  If I try to make a more healthy meal, I end up with no time to play, no chance to get wacked in the groin with a Nerf sword, no opportunity to have my nose crushed by a flying headbutt, and zero chance to play Super Mario with Noah or chase Griffin around the house making zombie noises.  In short, no chance to hear my favorite sound in the world, my two boys laughing.

So what’s more important?  Time with your dad, having fun and laughing, or a healthy meal?  Can you have both?

This week, we’re going to try.  Starting with tonight’s baked chicken with mashed potatoes and peas.  Something simple to start.  Nothing out of a package (save the peas from a bag of frozen peas, but that doesn’t count, does it???) and nothing with ingredients that I can’t pronounce.  Wish me luck - and send me your ideas on how you throw together fast, healthy meals that your kids will eat!


  1. Cook mass amounts on the weekend and freeze them. Soups are awesome! Separate into portion sizes and you're all set. Or combine healthy meal making with spending time with the boys and make fun food like tacos. :)

  2. try crazy chili dogs, i don't know a kid yet that did not love them. AND it won't damage your kids brain cells, AND its gooood. try it as a breakfast food...:)