The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

Why Feeding My Kids Drives Me Crazy, Part II August 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 5:55 pm
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I am typing this post from the comfort of my recliner. I really need a rest after the last five hours, which were filled with laundry, dishes, vacuuming, mopping, about 8 rounds of potty assistance for my 21mo (lots of lifting and bending), and the never-ending food prep, serving, and clean-up.

Yesterday in my post about feeding my kids and why it drives me crazy, I covered the first 20 minutes or so of my day, as it relates to feeding my kids, mainly my older child, who is five years old.

In today’s post, I will cover a little more of my morning.

Before taking care of 5yo Adam’s AB-1 (Adam’s Breakfast # 1), I usually give Mark, 21 months old, a sippy cup of milk. He is very capable of drinking from a regular cup, but there are a few important drawbacks to giving him a regular cup first thing in the morning.

  1. First, he enjoys being wild with his cup of milk, so it is necessary to give him a tablespoon or so at a time. This means that I need to stay right with him and pour him a bit more each time he finishes what I gave him (and also try to keep him from throwing the cup across the room the moment he finishes). And to be perfectly honest (as I should do in order to honor the name of this blog), I don’t find it’s worth the time and attention to do things this way. Heaven knows there are thirty other things that need doing first thing in the morning!
  2. Perhaps more importantly, if Mark doesn’t get a sippy cup of milk, he gets loud. And loud is not what I want when I am doing everything in my power to keep things quiet enough for Big Brother To Sleep Just A Little Bit Longer, Please God Make It Happen. My whole day can stand or fall depending on whether Adam is well rested or not, so I get a leeetle beeeet wound up in the mornings when Mark gets up very early and, being a toddler, has no concept of or interest in being quiet.

So anyway, even though I am not a huge fan of sippy cups unless there is a really good reason to be using one, I do use one first thing in the morning for MB-1 (Mark’s Breakfast # 1).

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Why Feeding My Kids Drives Me Crazy, Part I August 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 3:37 pm
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Before I became a mom, I had no idea how exhausting and frustrating the area of feeding my kids could be.

Currently my two boys are 5 years old and 21 months old. Each age, and each child’s personality, presents its own set of challenges. When all these factors work together, day after day, it sometimes drives me to the brink of absolute tears and frustration.

Adam, 5 years old:

  1. Usually gets up pretty early, sometimes at the same unholy hour as his brother (as early as 5 a.m., sometimes even earlier).
  2. Typically wants to have something to eat very soon after waking up. In and of itself, this is not a factor that would cause much frustration. But,
  3. Often, he does not want to eat much. So if I give him a bowl of cereal, even a small one, he wants to leave off about halfway through, leaving a soggy mess for me to deal with. Not surprisingly, I usually avoid giving him cereal and milk, even though this is a quick, convenient, nutritious option. This leaves me in a situation where I need to come up with something besides cereal and milk, and most other options involve more work and mess, plus, I am still left with leftovers, unless I insist that he finish whatever I give him.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that all of these  decisions and potential causes of frustration are just the things I need to deal with within 5-10 minutes of  waking up and coming downstairs to start my day. It may only be 5:30 a.m., and I may have an entire morning, not to mention day, to deal with still, and I have another child who also needs to eat breakfast (ha, as if “breakfast” is one single event).

Okay, so it’s 5:30 a.m., and my oldest child has eaten what I’ll call AB-1 (Adam’s breakfast # 1). There is also Mark’s breakfast to attend to, so stay tuned for Part II of Why Feeding My Kids Drives Me Crazy.

 

In search of: The perfect, convenient, health-conscious, on-the-go snacks August 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 7:43 pm
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One thing I love about this blog is having the opportunity to write about whatever is on my mind. And at the moment, what is on my mind is finding the perfect food and snacks to bring along to the pool.

About halfway through the summer, I gave in and bought a pool pass to our public pool, and we have been there quite a lot. It has been, overall, wonderful. Since we spend at least a few hours there at a time, I have no choice but to pack a considerable amount of food for the boys (ages 5 years and 21 months) and for myself (watching my weight).

I am pretty particular about what kinds of foods I will give to my kids. Unless we are on a trip or something like that, I really don’t buy fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, or graham crackers, much less chips, cookies, or candy. I am not a total health nut, but I try to be very aware of what kinds of habits I am setting up for my kids.

Why no fruit snacks? Well, they are just too much on the “junk food” end of the spectrum. Mainly sugar and not very filling for the amount of calories the kiddos are taking in (I am not swayed by “Made with real juice!!!!!!!” plastered on the packaging).

Why no goldfish crackers? All kids love goldfish, right? Well, that is exactly my concern. Those crackers are so salty and cheezy, it seems to me that we are just setting kids up for a potato chip habit. I know that both of my kids would eat goldfish by the handful, given the chance, because they are so yummy. It’s the “Bet you can’t eat just one” syndrome. Nothing wrong with wanting to eat handfuls of yummy food, but given the chance I would like my kids to be gobbling up foods thare are more on the whole/natural end of the spectrum.

Why no graham crackers? Aren’t they a rite of childhood? It would seem so, if you ask my MIL. Again, graham crackers have a pretty high “yummy factor” (thanks to the added sugar) but even the ones that are “Made with point 2 grams of whole grain per serving!!!!!” are a little too processed for me to feel good about giving to my kids on a regular basis. It’s not that I don’t give them any processed food – I am well aware of that – but in my world graham crackers are more of a treat than a staple. I just don’t think they are very filling, and I already feel like I’m shoveling food in front of my boys all day long just to keep the “I’m hungry”s at bay.

So, what to pack for snacks for the pool? It comes down to a balance of convenience and yummy-ness. Here are some things that have worked, and not worked, for us —

  • Yogurt in a tube (Go-Gurt) – My 5yo likes these and can eat them without making too much of a mess. I like the protein and calcium, and we buy the version that has no HFCS or artifical flavors. I am aware that there is a fair amount of added sugar in these, but over time I have decided to accept that trade-off. The only real downside is that my 21mo son sometimes gets upset because he wants one, too — and that is a mess I just don’t want to deal with when we’re out and about.
  • String Cheese -The 5yo claims he doesn’t like these, but I usually hold firm and say that if he’s truly hungry, he will eat some (he used to eat them all the time). I’m not a huge fan of all the sodium in these, but I do buy the “Light” kind so they are high in protein and low in fat and calories. Also portable and not messy!
  • Snack Mix (made from Cheerios, raisins, and lightly salted peanuts) – Both kids seem to really like this, and the convenience factor can’t be beat, including the fact that leftovers aren’t a problem (unlike sandwiches). Cheerios are a processed food, to be sure, but since they are low in added sugar and have some other factors going for them, such as fiber, I do consider them a staple at our house.
  • Wasa crispbread – I was really gung-ho on these for awhile. I would pack a jar of peanut butter (either natural or Smart Balance) and make peanut butter crackers for the kids on the spot. There are so many reasons I like the Wasa, but after awhile I got tired of the kids not really wanting to eat them. It seemed they like the “Whole Grain” type better than the “Multi-Grain” type, whereas for me, it’s the other way around.
  • Ry Krisp crackers, sesame flavor. Both kids seem to like these, even plain, and the nutritionals are pretty good. I tend to buy these instead of Wheat Thins, Triscuits, and the like, because it seems like the nutritionals are better (lower sodium, lower fat, good amount of fiber, and so on).
  • Greek Yogurt (individual packs) – for myself. They are yummy and convenient (so long as I keep some spoons in the cooler) and filling (hello, protein!) and just 2 Points (Weight Watchers) each.
  • Apples – Cut into small pieces. My 5yo always welcomes these, and so does Little Brother (sometimes). Obviously very nutritious and filling.

What about you? What do you buy as a staple for your home, and what as once-in-awhile treats? What are your go-to items for trips to the pool, park, and elsewhere?

 

Re-discovering French Toast August 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 3:24 pm
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Always on the look-out for cheap, easy, healthy kid food, I have re-discovered French toast.

I use either regular eggs or Egg Beaters, whichever I have on hand — I consider either to be a healthy food choice because of the protein and the other nutrients found in eggs.

I also use 100% whole wheat bread, sometimes a “light” variety since I’m on Weight Watchers. For toppings, either fruit or a small amount of sugar-free syrup. I’m not huge on giving artificial sweeteners to my 4-year-old, but at the same time, I’m not worried about small amounts here and there.

Like most kids, my kid loves pancakes and waffles, but I find it is so much easier (and probably healthier) to make French toast. There are some “healthy” pancake mixes out there (Fiber One, for example) that I use when I do make pancakes.

 

Gerber Biter Biscuits July 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 5:16 pm
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Aother day in the trenches with my two boys. DS2 had a bath and an outfit change already due to some quality time with a Gerber Biter Biscuit. Those things are so messy–at our house, a biter biscuit equals a bath every time. Fellow parents — how do you deal with those biscuits???

 

Easy, cheap, healthy food for kids July 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 3:50 pm
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Before I became a mom, I had no concept of how much of my day would be taken up with preparing, serving, and cleaning up from meals and snacks. It seems that every time I turn around, one of my two boys (ages 4 years and 8 months) needs to eat! So, I’m always on the look-out for healthy, inexpensive, easy-to-prepare foods.

In the summer, it seems like there is even less time to spend prepping and cooking. Just a simple, quick trip to the park in the morning can result in a lunchtime emergency when we all come in the door hot and hungry. Does anyone else run into this problem??? I have started to prepare lunchtime sandwiches and fruit at the same time I’m working on the mid-morning snack, so that I can pull out the sandwiches right when we come home from our morning outing.

A few of my favorite kid meals/snacks are

  • plain oatmeal (old fashioned or instant), jazzed up with peanut butter, honey, etc.
  • eggs in all their forms, but mostly scrambled because it’s so easy.
  • cut up fruit (apples, bananas, grapes)
  • baby carrots with dip
  • whole wheat pasta with olive oil & parmesan cheese
  • (Don’t throw me under the bus here) Lean Pockets, because they’re filling and have reasonable calorie and fat counts, though are pretty high in sodium
  • Peanut butter sandwich, of course!, on whole wheat bread
  • Grilled cheese on whole wheat
  • Whole wheat mac & cheese with a bag of frozen veggies mixed in

Please post your favorites to the comments!