Too many cooks in the kitchen

I have often read how parents should include children in the preparation of meals, as they are more likely to eat what they’ve helped create. It makes sense to me, but I’ve never really tried it. Sure, I’ve spent many frigid January afternoons in the kitchen with both kids standing on chairs, helping me make chocolate chip cookies. Just yesterday, my 3-year old spread peanut butter and jelly on bread for her lunch.

But when it comes to preparing dinner during that dreaded 5 o’clock hour, I just can’t bring myself to enlist the help of my two young children. By that time of day, they are inevitably tired and wiggly, and seem to have lost the ability to follow simple instructions. So, instead of having them help out in the kitchen, I usually get them going on an art project or encourage them to play animal hospital together while I get out the sharp knives and chop vegetables.

Today, however, I was motivated to prepare dinner while my 3-year old was eating lunch (which seems to take all afternoon). I scrubbed and chopped two pounds of carrots for soup while she chattered on about her toy hedgehog and tried to hide under the counter. Then she reached into the bowl and pulled out a piece of carrot. “I can eat this?” she asked, very sweetly. “Well, it’s for dinner, but I guess you can have one,” I replied.

While I continued chopping, she shyly stole more carrot pieces, feeling like she was doing something sneaky. I was ecstatic — I had never before seen this child voluntarily eat a carrot, even though I often serve them with hummus at lunch. But watching me cut the carrots and not offer her a piece somehow inspired her to try them out.

I’m still not ready to employ my wiggly little ones as assistant chefs, but I have decided to gather up some late-day patience and find ways to help them feel included in the dinner-making process. Even if it means I have to “let” them sneakily eat those healthy ingredients!

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Mom guilt is the worst

My mornings generally begin with Food Guilt as I stare into my 5 year old’s empty lunch box. What to prepare and pack? Or better yet, what NOT to. I surely don’t want to risk being perceived as the average, lackluster mom. You know the ones – they send a classic PBJ every single day with some sort of sliced fruit (usually of the apple variety) and ziplock baggie of Goldfish crackers to round it off…

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Mom picks her battles at mealtime

In our house, there seems to be a continuous battle between ‘meals’ and ‘snacks’. For some reason, my 2 boys (ages 2 and 7) seem to far prefer snacking to sitting down for a healthy, formal, around the dining-room-table-meal. “What kid doesn’t?” you might ask. However, it isn’t about them wanting to eat snack-type foods vs. their foods at meal time. It’s all about the format…

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The featured photo of the article.

During my girls’ quiet time yesterday, I took advantage of a sunny moment and hacked at some weeds in our vegetable garden (a wonderful way to vent frustration!). When 3-year-old Tess ventured outside, walking carefully in her favorite purple rain boots, I invited her to join me amidst the zucchini, corn and basil…

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