As the mom of two busy finicky children, one in her second year of college and one in his first day of sixth grade, it has been difficult to get everyone to be on the same playing field when it comes to food. Eating habits, emotional eating, finicky eaters, are all issues that many parents face and things are similar in my household. The key to eating right is to manage. I take the guess work out of healthy meals and want to give you a couple of tips to get your kiddos raving over meals and even helping out in the kitchen. It is essential that with everyone’s hectic lifestyles that we make eating together a priority.
Tip #1: Make meals matter. It honestly doesn’t matter what you serve on the plate that’s the priority here, it’s more making the time to sit down and listen to one another. With everyone’s hectic lifestyles, make eating together a priority.
Tip #2: Forget what the Jones’s are cooking and get competitive in your own kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen is a TV Show, let the warmth of the stove and the wonderful aroma from the kitchen be the only things hot. Don’t bother with tempers flaring or rising. Enjoy the process of collaboration and welcome ideas from the kiddos. Breakfast for dinner. Why not? It works and can be nutritiously sound.
Tip #3: Be the Picasso on your plate. No one needs to airbrush you, your life, your family or your cooking. None of us are Martha Stewart so focus on the Impressionist Picasso. Think color on your plate. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, are easy to prepare and have a ton of flavor with a little steaming and extra virgin olive oil and vinegar for instance. Protein such as chicken, fish, or even pork are good main dishes as well as tomato salad, beet salad, and a little pasta with fresh pesto sauce.
Tip #4: Plan. Involve the children in meal planning and grocery shopping. Meat Free Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, you get the picture. Have fun with meal planning.
Prioritizing family meal times, forgetting what the Jones’ are cooking, think Picasso on a plate and planning are all surefire ways to get your growling lions into taming pussy cats when it comes to eating. Enjoy.
Cold Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Artichokes
Level of Expertise: Bachelors
1 pound bow tie pasta
1 bunch of Broccoli, halved
8-10 Pepperoni, cut into 1-inch strips
1 jar, (6.5 ounces) Marinated artichoke hearts, diced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Directions: Cook pasta in lightly salted water for 10 minutes or until almost tender. Add broccoli to boiling water during the last 5 minutes of cooking and then drain. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to a bowl along with the other ingredients, and toss. Serve hot or cold. Parmesan cheese as a topping, is optional. (From Dorm Room Essentials Cookbook) Buy Dorm Room Essentials Cookbook on Amazon
Easy Guacamole Recipe
Level of Expertise
2 Ripe Avocados, mashed
1 Small Onion, diced (purple, white, or yellow onion)
1 ripe tomato, chopped (Campari, Roma, or garden variety tomatoes)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lime, squeezed and juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in diced onion, minced garlic, chopped tomato, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Season with remaining lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for half an hour in the refrigerator to blend flavors. (From Dorm Room Essentials Cookbook)
Orange Freeze Fruit Flip
1 6-ounce can of undiluted frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup of water
1 cup of nonfat milk (or goat milk, coconut or almond milk)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
10 ice cubes
Directions: Whirl all ingredients in a blender for thirty seconds. Makes four delicious Orange Freeze Fruit Flip Smoothies.
Kick It Cooler
1 frozen banana
2 to 3 Tablespoons of Natural Peanut Butter (chunky or smooth). If allergic to peanut butter, substitute with almond butter.
1 cup of orange juice
Directions: In a blender, mix frozen banana, peanut butter and orange juice for one minute or blend until creamy. Serves one.
2 cups of seedless watermelon chunks
4 scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt (or you may substitute regular yogurt with ½ cup of ice cubes)
Directions: Combine the watermelon chunks and frozen yogurt in a blender, blend until smooth. Serves one.
Made with fruit juice concentrate, this homemade soda is a healthier choice than sugary commercial sodas.
1 Tablespoon of frozen juice concentrate, any flavor
8 ounces of seltzer water
Directions: Spoon the frozen juice concentrate into a tall glass. Pour in the seltzer and gently stir to mix. Drop in a few ice cubes if desires. Serves one.
Food Safety Tips for kids
1) Wash your hands with soap and warm water.
2) Wear an apron.
3) If you have long hair, place in a clip or tie your hair back with a rubber band.
4) Read the recipe before you start cooking.
5) Arrange all of your ingredients, supplies, working surface and cooking utensils, bowls, measuring spoon, etc.
6) Make sure your working surface as well as cups, bowls are clean and ready to be used.
7) Always keep paper towels, and a sponge on hand in case you spill. If using the oven, make sure you have oven mitts.
8) If you are chopping, use a cutting board and ask an adult or knowledgeable person to help you if you need help.
9) When you are cooking on stove, make sure all handles are facing inward.
Have fun cooking!
About Author Gina Meyers
I love food, I love to cook, and I love sharing my unique themed cookbooks with the world. I have often been asked, “How do I make a recipe gluten-free?” “What can I substitute for buttermilk in a recipe?” “What type of wine goes with fish?” “Which one of your cookbooks will work for large crowds, Senior Citizens, Cooking for Two People, Singles, and College Student’s, etc.?”
Before I knew it, I was writing cookbooks.
I am the type of women who gardens in her heels, buys fancy aprons, but never ends up putting them on, except for photo shoots. Allows my children to experiment in the kitchen and quietly cleans up after them. I am best known for my Twilight Cookbook, Love at First Bite. It was mentioned on the hit NBC Show, The Office. Character Kevin Malone tells a pregnant Pam, “I cooked my way through the Julia Child’s Cookbook, now I am cooking Edward Cullen’s Cornflake Chicken from The Twilight Cookbook.” Twilight Star, Kellan Lutz, went nuts over Gina’s Twilight Tribute Punch, secret ingredient, gummy worms. I am also known for my popular culture television trivia and cooking expertise books related to Harry Potter and the iconic television show Bewitched and I am the proud winner of the prestigious Gourmand International Cookbook Award for Best Charity Cookbook in the world, Hope For Haiti.