Cereal? It’s What’s for Dinner!

What’s for dinner? This is the topic of conversation every night when I pick up the boys. It goes something like this:

Child:  What’s for dinner?
Parent:  Food.
Child:  What kind of food?
Parent:  The kind you eat.
Child:  You always say that.
Parent:  It’s always true.

Most nights, for me, it’s cereal. Not in the replace-2-meals-a-day sort of way. I’m not on a special or trendy diet. But rather in a my-boys-are-so-picky sort of way.

Here’s what I mean:

I have one who doesn’t like to eat meat. You name it:  chicken, beef, or pork. The other one doesn’t like anything with a carbohydrate in it. You know:  potatoes, pasta, or bread.

Neither one will eat a veggie. If it’s green (especially leafy) they aren’t touching it. No matter how you dress it up. I know the trick of putting cheese on it but wait … you’ll soon understand.

Sometimes they will eat fruit but only certain fruit and only if it’s fresh not canned. So pineapples, grapes, and apples always make the cut. Please don’t put a peach in front of them. Why? Because of the peach fuzz. Apparently:  “It freaks me out a little, Mom.”

Keep in mind it’s not just types of foods, it’s textures too. For example, they both say yes to apples but one says no to applesauce and the other enjoys it from time to time.

I have one who avoids dairy. While the other loves yogurt and creamy ice cream. I mean we can’t even order pizza because melted cheese “freaks out” the dairy hater. And that means no cheese on veggies.

You may be surprised to know that they will eat a number of beans and legumes. Not typical for kids or at least in my experience.

Now we haven’t even talked about allergies. One who can eat anything as far as we know. And one who can’t have any type of nut and had a reaction to crab legs so we’re avoiding sea food with him in general.

Do you see what I’m faced with? The easy meals that satisfied me as a child won’t fly with my kids. No Kraft Mac and Cheese (even if it’s the cheesiest). No PB&J sandwiches. You can have the J but then we have to deal with the bread issue. No fish sticks. Oh and they aren’t big on hot dogs.

Tell me, how do you create a home cooked dinner that meets the needs of these picky palates? You don’t. So I don’t. I’ve stopped trying. Instead I make them vote and negotiate amongst themselves about dinner options. This technique has its own challenges.

One says:  “I want to get something at home. I want to go straight home.” [You have to say it with a whine in your voice to get the full effect.]

The other says:  “Not me. I want to eat at a restaurant and get an order.” [You have to say it defiantly.]

But once they agree, I deliver and then come home to eat whatever flavor of cereal we have; usually Frosted Flakes but lately Coco Puffs or Lucky Charms.

Cereal? It’s what’s for dinner.

As I run into people I haven’t seen in a while they all make similar comments:  “You’ve lost a lot of weight.” And I consider it a compliment. I don’t mind hearing it. Some people even have attitude about it. Like this is a personal affront to them.

Regardless, I am not trying to lose weight. Sorry … I’m not. Dropping pounds and inches isn’t on my radar in a proactive way. That’s not why I’m eating cereal for dinner.

Even though some may say (including my husband) that I’ve given parenting control to the kids, I like to think of it as choosing my battles. They eat but they have to decide and practice negotiation. They eat things that they like so we don’t argue (as much).

And I have the added benefit of weight loss and maintenance as a result. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this method.

Maybe I am on a special diet! But if you have advice on meal options for my picky family, please let me know!

Advertisements