Despite what many of you think, my children are not “perfect” eaters. Silvia admitted to this the other day too, in her article about 7 tips for picky eaters. But no matter how often I say it, ever since I started this company, I notice that people around me think otherwise. Isn’t my family eating each spoonful of whole grains and broccoli in a peaceful, nutrient dense cloud of happiness? Even my closest friends dodge conversations about what’s on their dinner menus. Eyes shifting, nervously moving from one foot to the other, pleading to change the subject as they sheepishly admit to having served…PIZZA…for dinner the night before.
HELLO?! I’m a mom. I have three year old twins. I live on Earth. There is nothing perfect going on at my dinner table.
This brings up one of my biggest pet peeves of being a mom. Thinking that other moms have it all together while we, alone, flail around like fish newly plucked from the ocean. This is not a new idea. But I do this all the time. Beating myself up, listing reason after reason about how I don’t measure up, scouring the Internet for inspirational articles about girl power and mom power and putting post its on my mirrors that say “YES!”. I am not alone. You are not alone. We are in this day-to-day battle of wills together. And the kitchen table can often be the biggest battle field of the day.
So, what does a typical day at my house look like around the kitchen table? Something like this.
Claire: “Mo-ommy! I want milk.”
Me: “Please??? I’m getting your cup right now. Have a seat at the table.”
Claire: (As I hand her and Rachel a cup) “NO! I WANT THE PINK ONE!” (Pulls at Rachel’s cup, screaming, milk everywhere)
Me: “TIME OUT!”
Rachel and Claire: crying….Crying….CRYING
Me: (deep breath, take two) “OK, come on back to the table. Would you like oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast?”
Me: (I usually mix some plain Greek yogurt with a flavored Siggi yogurt to cut down sugar, then add some Kashi or Cheerios and blueberries with sprinkle of probiotics or flax seed and hand them out at the table)
Rachel: “I don’t like blueberries”
Me: (She doesn’t like blueberries?? Since when?) “Can you try two bites? You might change your mind.”
Rachel: (tries 1/18 of a teaspoon. Gagging) “I’m all done”
Me: “Just try a couple bites and then you can be all done if you want. But you might be hungry later.”
Claire: (3 bites in) “I’m all done. Can I have something else?”
Me: “Nope. This is breakfast.”
Claire: “But I’m so HUN-gry!”
Me: “Great! There’s a nice bowl of yogurt right in front of you.”
Claire: “I’m full”
Me: “Ok, but you might be hungry soon if you don’t have a couple more bites.”
Claire: “Can I have something else?” (and by something else, she usually means SUGAR)
On and on we go until a few more bites (or in Rachel’s case this morning, ALL the bites including the dreaded blueberries…that she miraculously decided were good) are eaten and we move away from the table.
Yes, I try to make nutritious choices. I use lentils and quinoa and flax seed and chia seeds on a regular basis. I try to serve vegetables at lunch and dinner but sometimes they go untouched. I try to eat what they are eating but sometimes I don’t want to eat ravioli for lunch two days in a row and I just want them to eat it so I don’t throw left over food away AGAIN. I try to make most of what they eat but we do order pizza on Friday nights and eat pancakes at the diner on the weekends.
The goals I set for my family at the table are not unlike the goals I set for the food that we make at MySuperFoods. Fun, nutritious, realistic, delicious, and all natural. We make Chocolate Chip (soft) Granola Bites. I know people who would never dream of giving their kids chocolate chips. But that’s not me or my family. We like chocolate chips. But you have to eat some dinner first.