April 4, 2012

Day 4—Knoxville Real Food Challenge

Four days into the ten day challenge and things are going pretty well.  I did slip up at Kroger and grabbed one of the samples while talking to the deli lady (she has become a shopping friend) and ate a slice of pickles and a couple of pieces of lunchmeat before I realized what I had done.  The lesson of this for me is not to worry about having eaten lunchmeat but rather to realize the importance of being mindful when and of what I am eating.  I was distracted and just grabbed the sample without thinking.  I wonder how much of my caloric intake for a day happens like that? 

Tonight I’ll make the meal for the children who come to the program at our church.  I remember listening to Chef Ann Cooper talk about school lunches and how she fought to get salad bars into each of her schools.  People kept trying to convince her to give up the idea because the kids would spit in the food, pick it up with their fingers, or not eat it.  However, she found the opposite was true.  Offering them some ownership and choice in what went on their plate seemed to lead to a greater appreciation for the food.  I decided that I wanted to have a similar experiment with the children at church. 

I purchased the following salad bar fixings that I’ll prep in small bowls for the kids to choose from for their salad—lettuce, peas, carrots, celery, bell pepper, cucumber, grape tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, croutons, dried cranberries and shredded cheese.  I bought a small boneless ham that I will chop, and I boiled 8 or so farm fresh eggs that I’ll quarter.  We have premade dressings at the church, and I’ll bring some olive oil and vinegar from the house.  Not all of the ingredients fit within the challenge rules, but I wanted to encourage more kids to at least try it.  I wanted to have some things that were familiar to them so that more of the kids will give it a shot.  (For the record, I’ll be refraining from eating the things off of the challenge rules list).  We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll be posting an update tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for us! 

When shopping for tonight’s food, I had a couple of ah-ha moments.  First off, I had thought of serving bread with butter on the side for the kids.  I didn’t want to buy the white breads and wrestled with whether or not to shell out the money for the kids to have the high quality whole wheat breads.  I talked to our daughter about this:

Me—“I’m not really sure if we should buy bread.  Some of the kids might not eat it.”
Her—“Why wouldn’t they eat it?”
Me—“Because it is whole wheat bread and some of the kids aren’t used to that.”
Her—“Well, I like it, Momma, and if I like it, I think they would like it too.”

She was probably right.  Maybe I should give them more credit for their curiosity and willingness to try new things.  However, I was a little nervous about feeding them the salad to begin with, afraid I would get a backlash of groans from the big kids that would trickle down to the  younger ones.  I decided not to go out on a limb further. 

The second ah-ha came when I really asked myself to delve further into the source of the anxiety.  Why was I so worried if they would try it or not?  What did it ultimately matter?  The answer--money.  That’s what it all boils down to.  I didn’t want to waste money when I thought there was a chance that the food might go into the compost bin.  Logically I know that kids need to be exposed to foods a number of times before they are willing to try and even admit they like something new, but ultimately the price tag is what keeps many of us from buying the more expensive foods for our kids. 

When I talked to a relative about this aspect of food, she explained that she feeds her kids pizza and other premade, frozen foods because she was tired of working all day, coming home and making a meal, only for them to spend the entire supper time complaining and then not eating it.  It was easier to make something from a box that they would eat and that she had a coupon to save off of the purchase price.  I get that.  I can empathize with that, but as I asked her, where does it stop

So, in a few hours, I’ll experiment and see how it goes.  Since I have a very elaborate meal planned for next week that I’ll tell you about in another post, I’m hoping and praying for the best.  They are fantastic kids and I’m guessing that many of them will surprise me. 

What did I eat today? 

Breakfast—2 boiled farm fresh eggs, pineapple (not from a can), local bread with organic butter
Lunch—Plain organic yogurt and local honey, hummus with regionally made crackers, carrots and celery
Supper—Salad bar, as mentioned above
Snacks—Locally made raisin bread (no sugar added)
Beverages—Unsweetened tea, water (I’ve not been mentioning that I drink water because I thought it was a given), coffee with a bit of maple syrup, vanilla and milk.  Note—my friend Rebecca of Simply Natural Mom mentioned a trick that I’ll try with my coffee tomorrow

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited to see how it goes tonight with the kids and salad bar.