March 15, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Reader help requested.  As you all know, I prepare (with help from plenty of volunteers) the meals on Wednesday nights for our church’s children’s program.  I struggle with what to make for the kids some nights. I try to find a balance in making them reasonably healthy meals that they will actually eat.  I want to introduce them to more fruits and vegetables, maybe even ones that they haven’t tried or even seen before.  Yet, I have found when I do something wild and crazy like, for instance, serve butterbeans they go to waste.  Well, they don’t really go to waste because I send them home with one of the grown ups to enjoy. 

We made a point to introduce our daughter to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at an early age.  I remember eating with her at Abuelo’s one day for lunch when she was two.  When my plate came, she lit up and almost screamed, “Kale, Momma, you got kale.  Can I have it?”  while she instantaneously grabbed it from my plate and started eating it. 

I would so enjoy giving these children an opportunity to try and experience new foods, but when I make advances in that direction the children react pretty strongly.  I have saved the church a significant amount of money this year by purchasing most of our foods with coupons and shopping sales, so I feel like I can spend a little more money if need be.  The main issue is that I don’t want to see a lot of waste.  When I made the butterbeans, most of them that were put on children’s plates ended up in the garbage can.  I look forward to watching Jamie Oliver’s new show that focuses on making healthy school lunches.  

Here are some of the issues--

  • We have a very short time for them to eat.  15-20 minutes.  The food is more of a snack supper, yet it is the supper for most of the children who attend. 
  • I’d like to make some healthier foods that are budget friendly. 
  • I’d like some ideas on getting the children more interested in a variety of fruits and veggies.
  • If we met in the summer months, I would work with them on planting part of our church garden as a way to introduce them to fruits and vegetables and the seasonality of those foods.  Since we do not, I’m not sure that the garden would help our cause.  Yet, I am going to try and preserve some of the foods from the church garden for the fall semester of the children’s program in hopes that knowing that we grew the foods might interest them. 
  • As with any group of children, peer issues play a role.  If one or more children loudly say that they don’t like _______ then the other children will follow suit.
  • I’m not a big advocate for sneaky chef meals for this particular situation.  If I were trying to get veggies and fruits into my own child, then I can see where that could help.  Yet, my goal is to get them more interested in fruits and vegetables period.

Any ideas for me?

Suppers

Monday—Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese with ham and peas

Tuesday—Local sausage, homemade whole wheat biscuits, fruit salad, black eyed peas, braised cabbage

Wednesday—Tonight I’ll make a kid friendly version of “Fish and Chips”, carrot sticks on the side, and lime jello for dessert (the green). 

Thursday—Our anniversary.  I’ll make lamb chops, rosemary roasted potatoes, cooked carrots, and we’ll have our last jar of peaches as a special dessert.

Friday—Hubby and I are going out to eat to celebrate our anniversary.

Saturday—We’ll enjoy a FREE tamale and chili dinner at our church (Faith UMC).  Times are 5pm-7pm and everyone is welcome.  We hope to see you there!

Sunday—Chicken Drumsticks, mashed potatoes, green peas, sautéed pears

1 comment:

  1. I can't be much help with specific recipes, but two cookbooks you might look at if you haven't already are Lunch Lessons : Changing the Way We Feed our Children, by Ann Cooper (primarily about school lunch systems, but I think there were some recipes in there; she also has a website, chefann.com) and Petit Appetit : Eat, Drink, and Be Merry : Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods for Kids of All Ages, by Lisa Barnes, which--if I recall correctly--has some really neat ideas for kids' food and also takes things like allergies into consideration. Holy long sentence, Batman (but not, for the record, a run-on sentence!).

    Both are at KCPL.

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