Thursday, February 17, 2011

How We Lunch

Very recently, a reader asked me the trick to having kids who are not picky eaters. Well, I wish I could tell you that I had some big trick up my sleeve, but I don't.

My trick is, that I'm not picky at all.

There used to be three things that I really didn't care for: Sloppy Joes, green olives, and radishes.

Over the years, I've developed a more pleasant relationship with Joe, and I decided a few months ago to go on ahead and like green olives. (Cory's family eats them with wild abandon.)

So now I'm just down to the lonesome radish.

I would like to like them. They sure are pretty.

All of that to say, I like to eat, I like to cook and it was a strange priority to try to grow small people with welcoming palates.

If I serve it, they have to try it. No excuses.

Right now, Ruby is in a phase where she likes to pretend to be picky, but I took a page from my SIL's play-book and if she complains about what I serve, she has to go clean up all the toys by herself. Genius!!

Dinners are when the biggest fun happens.

Lunchtime is all about what's easiest. It's nothing fancy, and sometimes, it's not even that tasty, at least not to the over-5 crowd. I sometimes eat what the kids do, and sometimes I eat something a tad more...appetizing. I don't do chicken nuggets. But they do! And there's room for all of us, under this roof.

Here are some recent lunches:

(How I love thee, Pickled Beets!)



Don't let him fool you...

The alphabet noodles mixed with peas is one of his all-time faves.

And it's always a good day when I bust out the cafeteria trays.

These are identical to the trays I ate my lunch on for 12 years!

Thank you, Mrs. Benning.

I'm sorry I forgot my lunch money so often.

And while I've got your ear, serving the syrup from the giant cans of peaches and pears, in styrofoam cups, really can't count as "juice". But hey, we all make mistakes.


More peas! More kiwi!


It should be noted that this is not Siley lunching. This is Siley snacking.

I don't have photos of him lunching, because he is not a very well-managed luncher. He's a food-thrower and a bread-shredder and a sauce-smearer.

Once he starts throwing food, I tell him he's done eating and take him out of his high-chair.

He screams like no body's business.

I ignore him.

And then sometimes, like yesterday, while I'm in the kitchen getting more water, more milk, more turkey, a wash cloth or a moment of peace, he just climbs right back up and into his chair, and we repeat the entire scene.


At long last, after 27 trips to and from the kitchen, it's clean-up time.

Here's a tip, straight from me to you: Leave the crumbs on the floor for a while. Especially sticky stuff like noodles or rice. Just walk away and pretend that you don't notice. Pretend that it doesn't make your skin crawl. Come back an hour or so later and it'll be just dry enough to sweep right into the dust-pan without smearing all over your floors.

Do I sound like a woman who knows that of which I speak?

Well, we eat a lot of rice around here. What can I say.

So lay it on me, what's your go-to lunch?

54 comments:

  1. i love it! ha! the crumb thing....i do that!!!! works like a charm. i'm so glad you admitted it because i was scared i was nasty. ;)

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  2. Wow. You are such a good Mom! Your lunches look like the stuff good nutrition is made of. However, I'm feeling a little bad for your kiddos on the pickled beets. I've never been able to eat them on purpose, so I never made Lumpkin eat them either. That's my bad Mom tip of the day. If I don't like it, you don't have to either! ;)

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  3. You should just make radish roses instead--that way you can enjoy their beauty but you don't have to eat them! I'm unfortunately a "grazer" just like your son and it drives my husband crazy. But tell me: what's so wrong with a lunch comprised of cereal, an apple w peanut butter and some Ritz crackers??

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  4. I am attaching this link since I saw a recipe in their magazine this month that has radishes in it... I think it was a Chipotle and radish taco. Should be a link somewhere on this page to it, but I thought it looked kind of yummy.

    http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/ingredients-guide/radishes-00000000039353/index.html

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  5. oh yes-- lunch time. we do alot of smoothies. it is amazing what kind of things i can blend up and make edible! and anything that looks like a face seems to go over pretty well. but more than anything i tell my friends.. it's about not ruining their tastebuds to begin with. if you get to eat all sorts of salt/sugar/ processed foods who in the world would think real food tastes amazing?? no one. love your heart for your babies. really. inspiring. :)

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  6. I wanna come over and eat lunch at your house! I LOVE beets but never make them. Only get them when I'm eating at a salad bar. Are those beets from a can? The bagel sandwich looks delish too. Just have to add that my 3 year old girl is standing by my side and just looked at the pics and said, "Ew. That so yucky!" as I scanned down the pics. Clearly my kids are not getting enough veggies and good food for lunch. Lots of chicken nuggets and pb & j sandwiches.

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  7. i really wish i had a go to lunch. i'm usually a light eater during the day, so i never feel like making anything of substance before 4 o'clock!

    i recently blogged about making a muffin tin lunch for my kids. they really liked it! keep on posting and i'll be sure to find some great ideas for lunch!

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  8. I'm new to your blog, but just wanted to say your kids are absolutely adorable!

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  9. Go to lunch (when I am doing healthy)...pita bread, hummus, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes and fresh spinich...add a pinch of salt& pepper...yummo! Fun post!

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  10. i'd dine with you any day! we have many of the same expectations for eating 'round our parts!

    i've started hosting a 'wannabe roundup' the first wed. of every month - coming up in march, the topic is picky eating...you should come on by and share!

    ~h

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  11. Wow! I actually blogged about my lunch today. I have no cuties at home to eat lunch with...they are hanging with their peeps at school.

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  12. yes, cleaning up freshly dropped rice and noodles is the pits!

    gotta love green olives :)

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  13. I love that you can turn something everyday and ordinary as lunch into a really interesting blog post. I even read all the comments...crazy. The kids lunches are boring, mine usually consist of leftovers with a salad, or made into a salad. My kids are not given a option on whether or not they want to eat their food. What is put infront of them is the meal...Period. They are given the option of going hungry, they have never choosen this option. ; ) I love that you serve your kids beets!

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  14. lately it's been two pieces of multigrain bread (the publix bakery kind), a little light mayo, half of an avocado sliced and dashed with salt, some ham and a little muenster cheese all toasted up and smooshed together. it's horribly caloric. but it's very tasty.

    that's just me, though. 'round these here parts we just sort of eat whatever for lunch. leftovers. hot dogs. sandwiches. whatever tickles the fancy that day. dinner is different. if i've cooked-which most of the time i have because family of five equals budget buster-you're eating it.

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  15. Don't forget the giveaway, I would love for you to win some fun facial products! : )

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  16. Your lunches look lovely. Ours are not NEARLY so put together. Crusts of bread, spread with PB and J and doused in milk, cold oatmeal, granola and yogurt, whole quarts of applesauce, carrot sticks if you're still hungry, reheated veggies from last night, beans and rice, scrambled eggs if there is nothing else in the house...

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  17. Great idea on the lunch trays- it looks like a visual reminder to include all the food groups. I have a food thrower too. It is the entire reason we own a dog.

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  18. I serve anything that can be rolled into a soft tortilla and served with a side of salsa. Ham, turkey, cheese, tomato, hamburger meat, lettuce, onion, black olives, etc... I just grab a few things out and roll it up. Super quick and very tasty.

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  19. Yum, I brought a cheese stick and a power bar for lunch.
    I love radishes on buttered french bread, very thinly sliced with a sprinkle of salt. It's a french thing, and its sooo good!
    Char

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  20. okay..so here is one that we recently added to the lunch line up. I call it the fruit taco. You take a whole wheat tortilla (or whatever floats your boat), warm it up just a bit so it doesn't break apart on you. Smear some peanut butter down the middle and little on one side to help close it up when your done. Next you sprinkle a healthy addition of granola down the middle, then add fruit of choice on top of that. We have been enjoying either diced up apple or banana the best. Roll that bad boy up and let the peanut butter that you had on the outside edge seal the deal for you. This meal has been 3 and 6 year old tested and approved!

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  21. pickled beets. I just can't get over it. lol

    I am a huge green olive fan. And I also love sloppy joes though no one in my family will eat them.

    Sam is a grazer. He manages to stretch his yogurt and GF peanut butter/honey toast all the way through lunchtime...

    pickled beets. lol

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  22. I think your lunches look delicious...cute as ever pictures as always:)

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  23. Love that you reminded us of Mrs. Benning and the fruit juice debacle! We eat some very plain lunches around here, popcorn chicken, pbj, grilled cheese, ham and cheese, etc. Probably the kids' favorite is tortellini and quesadillas. They're pretty cheap and easy! Also, when I was "brave" and commented on the person above me's blog I noticed that she had served a meal to her kids in muffin pans. She had something fun in each slot. It was such a cute idea. I'm holding out until summer to try it though.

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  24. I have a 13 month old. His typical lunch is multigrain crackers, yogurt, non-nitrate/all natural ham or turkey lunchmeat(2 slices)and milk. He will sometimes eat fruit (I hope that's a phase) and sometimes cheese (again... I hope that's a phase). He also likes Mum-mums, which are rice crackers. He eats leftovers a lot, because he'll eat all manners of veggies disguised in a soup, sauce or casserole. Your lunches look yummy, and once we graduate to plates, I'll have to get those trays.

    I have to ask, though... if no chicken nuggets... what are those in the first pic?

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  25. both my children are grown. They are adventuresome eaters and they both enjoy cooking. Meals were never battle time. I insisted they had to try something new, just a tiny bit, every time and eventually, some dislikes turned to likes. I tried to not make things too spicy and I took into consideration what children like. However, they also knew I wasn't running a restaurant. If you don't eat, you can have bread and butter, but dinner or lunch is here, now.
    Milk, every meal. My daughter was and is a grazer and I think that is very healthy. She would sometimes have 3 or 4 little meals in the morning and her nickname was, Jaws. She is built like a model.Neither of them have issues about their weight. We talked about what is healthy and what is not and I wouldn't buy certain items, no matter how much they begged. We always had ice cream and cookies in the house for treats and they were allowed to have what they wanted, but never went crazy. We also always had loads of fruit and juices. They cooked with me as much as possible. I sat with them during their shows and we talked about the junk that is geared toward children and eating. They have both thanked me for helping them to have healthy relationships with food.
    I was brought up differently and I binge terribly...and am a sugar junkie.
    Oh, and your little boy, pretending to not like his food is a super, cute actor. My cleaning tip when mine were little was our loving dog. Nothing like a dog to help with the food drops. And play dough...

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  26. I've started throwing potatoes in the microwave. My kids love a baked potato with a little butter and cheese. I add fruit and maybe a tiny treat and they're good until snack time. My oldest daughter is somewhat of a picky eater, but my youngest...My youngest will eat ANYTHING. I won't lie. It scares me sometimes!

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  27. Lunch is whatever my husband packs for me-I do the ironing, he does the lunch prep. I push for more veggies in my brown paper bag, but who am I to judge if I don't have to make it?

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  28. A cheesestick wrapped in turkey and a banana AND I never worry about crumbs... 3 dogs... problem solved. :)

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  29. PB&J, crusts cut off (and saved for making croutons later...my little treat). It's all Olivia wants for lunch every day. I am willing to oblige since she will eat almost anything at dinner.

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  30. Where does one find these lunch trays? I want to use one for myself. How fun. I'd even eat MY peas on one of those trays.

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  31. Those lunch trays bring back memories!My kids were awesome eaters! Everyone alwats commented they would eat anything.NO SPECIAL TRICKS.Just lucky I guess! Traci

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  32. well i love sandwhiches, but soemtyhing else i LOVE that's easy peasy? whole wheat pasta, at the end of boiling throw in a bag of frozen asparagus mixed veggies (great value brand), let boil 2 more min. drain, throw back in pan with some shredded cheese and some S & P. YUM!

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  33. An all time fav in this house....car sandwiches! Which actually consists of a pb&j for my Drew and just a pb for Beau, cut out with a large cookie cutter shaped like a car! I don't know why, but the little critters eat it up and ask for more! So we mix it up with grilled cheese, ham and lettuce sandwiches and sometimes chicken salad when I have splurged at John's Butcher Shoppe, its expensive for some reason. Yesterday however, I felt alittle springy, so I used a butterfly cookie cutter and the boys thought it was just splendid! Happy lunching :-)
    -Heather P.

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  34. We eat lots of leftovers at our house for lunch, supplemented with extra veggies and fruit. I have a 12 month old and she will eat ANYTHING! The girl loves curry, chili and tomato soup! I really think the key is introducing fruits and veggies early and nothing else! She didn't have any sweets until her birthday and hasn't had anything since. I try to keep different fruits/veggies in rotation so she stay familiar with the flavors - it takes some effort, but is so worth it to see her chowing down on broccoli and salmon!

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  35. so did you do half-day kindergarten? (i know, you just served up a postful of fantastic material, and yet this is my burning question.) i was a full-day 'gartner, but seems that everyone 'round these woods were halfers. anyhow.

    our go-to lunch: pb on wheat with sliced apples. just call me jamie oliver.

    ps now i have a burning desire to scour ebay for cafeteria trays. why do you do these things to me?

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  36. it looks like SP has met his match. You go girl!
    Also, now I'm hungry. I officially want a bagel, but I have no bagels in the house. My kids are pretty picky. They starve a lot. I don't blame them though, I am a picky eater, but thankfully I'm not as picky as my three year old. He thinks the world revolves around PB&J. I've recently developed a nutella addiction though. I mean, I dream about it and it's chocolatey hazelnut goodness. It has to be good for you right? The swiss eat it, and aren't they pretty healthy?
    As you can tell, I do a lot of research when it comes to the nutritional value in food. Woot WOOOT!

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  37. I frequently partake of homemade rosemary rolls, fresh from the oven.

    Or wait. Did I dream that?

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  38. I have said before beets taste like dirt. BUT I discovered I like pickled beets at a salad bar recently. Who knew?? My apologies to the chef for bashing beets.

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  39. Oh, how I feel your pain on this one...my littler one is so picky that she is insisting on a separate meal every night...um..yeah, right..now that she's NINE, for crying out loud, not gonna happen.
    good luck, girlie!
    ox
    Lara

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  40. My dog is your dried sticky rice. Feels good to walk away.

    Those cafeteria trays! What a treasure.

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  41. I have one who will eat anything and one who will eat, well, nothing. The rule here is you must, at the very least, lick it! For Mr. Picky, I try to make everything into "sticks": lunch meat sticks, cheese sticks, ect or things that will make a "sandwich", kind of like a homemade version of a Lunchable. For Miss Eats Anything I try to stick to the whole Eat A Rainbow Every Day deal. Fun + Healthy!

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  42. You are so sweet. I am following you up with great appreciation:)

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  44. I love your day to day stories, and one day when I have little ones I'll do my best to remember "leave it alone until it dries" lol.

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  45. I love the part about leaving the sticky crumbs,etc. on the floor and then sweeping them up.You need a dog like ours who sits under the table waiting for all the extras!!!! LOL!!!! Have a great day!!! Sara

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  46. Beets? Really? I am definitely NOT a picky eater and therefore have not raised any picky eaters either...but beets? I suppose there is always that one thing. Actually there are two things. Milk left over from cold cereal eating. I have to gag-force that down to be a good role model for the under 7's at my house. I don't usually have to have a go-to lunch. I purposely make enough dinner to have enough leftovers for my hubby's lunch and our lunch. So my son's predicted comment every day at the lunch table..."We have to have that, again?!" Oh yes, we do. And you will be thankful for it too. :) But, on those rare occasions when there are no overs to be left, we have ham and cheese on whatever bread might be in the house. Hopefully a lightly toasted "everything" bagel thin, which you so graciously introduced me to.

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  47. Thank you, thank you! I am the one that emailed you about mealtime, and this was great to read! Funny, radishes are really about the only things I'm not a fan of, and I just recently decided I like green olives. Since I became pregnant my love for green olives has grown exponentially. It's also great to read everyone else's comments on mealtime, and I just realized another reason I will love our dog, cleanup crew!

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  48. I know I've told you before, but your children are adorable! How lucky are we to be the keeper's of these precious littles!?!?

    I wish you'd come make me lunch...looks good. :) I'm so glad Edie introduced us at Blissdom, hopefully we'll make it back next year and have a chance to get to know each other better. Until then, I'll just have to settle for daily inspiration from your blog...which isn't so bad! :) xoxo, Jess

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  49. I don't have a go-to lunch, but I did want to comment on how to teach kids not to be picky eaters to your readers. One, when a meal is served, it is served with finality & if a child refuses to eat it, the child will go hungry. Do not make them something else or feed them an hour later when they are hungry. All that does is reinforce the pickiness. Two, make your kids eat school lunch. This advice was given to me by a sage mom when my first child started school. By eating school lunch, your child eats a variety of foods, tries new things, & expands their taste palate. Three, the only thing I remember from my college Child Nutrition class is that 90% of food likes & dislikes is a learned behavior. If your kids eat what is put in front of them & try a variety of foods, they will end up liking just about everything.

    Oh, I just remembered one other thing from that college class. Children can't be bowel trained until they can walk because the muscles that are used for bowel control can only be developed by learning to walk.

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  50. OK, I'm super curious about how it plays out when Ruby complains about food and then has to pick up all toys. Our 4yo son has started grumbling at every meal, and it drives me crazy!

    Does she have to leave the table right then, or does she have the dread hanging over her all meal? =) Please elaborate!

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  51. Hey, it's Carrie again. (See comment above.) I really am curious to hear more about your rule with grumbling at the table. Could you please e-mail me when you have a chance? Thanks so much!

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  52. Lately, I can't get enough of Smitten Kitchen's (aka Deb Perelman's) Best Egg Sandwich. It really is The Best Egg Sandwich You Will Ever Have. And it's super easy to make for Big and Little Sister, and split between them. And then cook up one for myself (or five).

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