Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 6: Stop making us eat pizza!


The meal:  Fruit and yogurt parfaits, peanut butter toast on whole-wheat bread. 

What they ate:
Big R ate a large parfait and a half piece of peanut butter toast

Little R ate a small parfait and half a piece of peanut butter toast

My notes: Okay, so I bought a big tub of plain lowfat yogurt yesterday.  Yay me!  I scooped some into a bowl and added a little vanilla extract to flavor it.  I layered yogurt with frozen organic wild blueberries, diced banana, and some plain granola (no nuts or other stuff in it that would be a choking hazard for Little A).  They loved it!


The meal:  PB&J on whole wheat, clementines, leftover pizza

What they ate:
Big R ate 2/3 of a PB&J and two clementines.

Little A ate a 1/3 of a PB&J minus the crusts, a small slice of cheese pizza minus the crust, and a whole clementine, diced up.

My notes: At first I suggested leftover pizza for lunch and Big R said “No more pizza!”  Wow, even kids get pizza fatigue.  Who knew?  So I made some PB&J.  When I served it, Little A said “I want pizza!”  So after he ate most of his sandwich, I gave him a small slice of cheese pizza.


The meal:  Black beans and rice, your way.  Topping choices included roasted sweet potatoes, diced avocado, toasted chopped almonds, chopped onion and cilantro, and crumbled feta cheese.  Also applesauce and milk.

What they ate:
Big R had a large serving of brown rice topped with toasted almonds, about ½ cup of roasted sweet potato cubes, about 3 black beans, applesauce, and milk.

Little A ate ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup brown rice, no sweet potatoes, applesauce, and milk.

My notes: This is one of my favorite dinners.  It includes delicious smoky black beans served over brown rice, and topped in any way that strikes your fancy.  I always make the roasted sweet potatoes mentioned in the recipe- they are SO GOOD.  I thought I’d try this one out on the boys since Little A really likes black beans.

Snacks:  No morning snack- we were so busy playing, we forgot all about it!  Afternoon snack was pretzel rods and a small number of mini m-n-ms.  Little A may have an m-n-m addiction. 

Daily thoughts:  A pretty good food day! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 5: Pizza again!


The meal:  Eggo Nutrigrain blueberry waffles with a drizzle of real maple syrup, bananas, dry cereal with a little milk

What they ate:
Big R ate one waffle, half a banana, and about ½ cup of dry cereal with milk (Life and Quaker Oatmeal Squares).

Little A ate ½ a waffle, about ¼ of a banana, and ¼ cup of dry cereal with a splash of milk.

My notes: Normally I’d offer yogurt too but we’re out…the snowstorm prevented me from getting out to the store!  Little A was asking for it and cried when I told him I didn’t have any.  Frozen waffles are not my first choice for breakfast, but I don’t mind putting them in the mix every once in a while.


The meal:  Chicken noodle soup, leftover pizza, sliced apples

What they ate:
Big R ate a bowl of soup, one small slice of BBQ chicken pizza, and half a green apple.

Little A ate a few bites of soup, no pizza, and about ¼ of a green apple


The meal:  Pizza (Again?! Yes…earlier in the week, I invited our neighbors over for pizza tonight, forgetting that we were also planning to go out for pizza last Friday night.  Oh well.)  Also green salad, milk, cookies.

What they ate:
Big R ate 2 pieces of homemade pepperoni pizza and a serving of salad, plus applesauce, 2 chocolate cookies for dessert and a cup of milk.

Little A ate ½ piece of cheese pizza, plus the cheese and sauce off another half-slice.  Also milk, a few bites of applesauce, and 1 ½ chocolate cookies.

Snacks:  Big R had a mini vanilla bean scone from Starbucks.  Little A ate a few bites of a scone.  Little A also had a Nutrigrain bar, and Big R had an Odwalla bar.

Daily thoughts:  Not a big food day for Little A.  I should note that in addition to the meals I list each day, he is also still drinking 16 oz. of milk per day- one cup first thing in the morning, and one cup right before bed.

I was pleased that Big R ate the soup.  Usually he’s not big on soup, but he picked this one out himself and promised he’d eat it.  It had carrots, peas, chicken, and alphabet noodles.  And too much sodium.  If he decides he likes soup enough to eat it more often, I’ll find a recipe and make my own.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 5: Out to dinner


The meal:  Eggo Nutrigrain blueberry waffles with a drizzle of real maple syrup, pineapple

What they ate:
Big R ate two waffles and about ¾ cup of pineapple.

Little A ate ¾ of a waffle and about ¼ cup of pineapple.

My notes: Normally I’d offer yogurt too but we’re out…the snowstorm prevented me from getting out to the store!  Little A was asking for it and cried when I told him I didn’t have any.  Frozen waffles are not my first choice for breakfast, but I don’t mind putting them in the mix every once in a while.


The meal:  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, clementines, water

What they ate:
Big R ate the 2/3 of a sandwich I served him minus a few smidges of crust, 2 clementines, and water

Little A ate bits and pieces of the sandwich I served him, a chopped up clementine, and water.

My notes:  Another typical lunch!


The meal:  Out to dinner at Cosi.  Flatbread pizza (BBQ chicken and Margherita), water to drink, tableside s’mores for dessert (oh, yum!)

What they ate:
Big R ate one slice of pizza and two s’mores, plus he drank a ton of water.

Little A may or may not have eaten a single glob of cheese from a piece of pizza, and a half s’more.  He was a bit out of sorts, having not taken an afternoon nap.

My notes:  Not the most successful dinner out.  They were not on their best behavior and they didn’t eat much!

Snacks:  Morning snack was one Nutrigrain bar each.  In the afternoon, Ryan asked for a clementine and half a soft pretzel.  Aiden had a few bites of soft pretzel and about 10 mini m-n-ms.

Daily thoughts:  Grocery shopping in the morning.  Going to give some thought to better snack options and am going to buy a big tub of plain yogurt instead of lots of single-serve containers.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 4: Snow day!


The meal:  Baked oatmeal, vanilla yogurt, banana (Little A), clementine (Big R).

What they ate:
Big R ate a square of baked oatmeal, about ¼ c. of the yogurt, and a clementine.

Little A ate a small square of the oatmeal, about ¼ c. of yogurt, and about ¼ of a banana.

My notes: So they both happily ate the last of the baked oatmeal…I’ll count that recipe as a success but maybe wait a few weeks before making it again.


The meal:  Grilled cheese sandwiches (cheddar on whole wheat bread), pickles, sliced pear.

What they ate:
Big R ate the 2/3 of a sandwich I served him, several wedges of dill pickle, 2/3 of a pear, and a few potato chips cribbed from his dad.

Little A ate the cheese off the 1/3 sandwich I served him plus a few bites of bread, no pickles, the other 1/3 of the pear, and a few potato chips.

My notes:  Kind of a typical lunch!


The meal:  Black bean enchilada casserole (tortillas, beans, cheese are the main ingredients), green salad, carrots, applesauce.

What they ate:
Big R ate a pile of baby carrots, a large serving of salad, all of his applesauce, and a grudging bite of the enchilada casserole.

Little A ate about 2 tablespoons of plain black beans that I’d saved out for him,  a small amount of applesauce, and about ¼ cup of the casserole.

My notes:  Little A was upset that his applesauce came from a jar instead of in a single-serve cup.  Yikes!  I was amazed that he ate the casserole.  He ate all of the plain beans first and asked for more.  I showed him that there were beans in the casserole and he started eating it!

Big R made the salad himself and was so proud to tell his father how he prepared it.

Snacks:  No morning snack; we forgot about it while out in the snow!  Both boys had hot cocoa when we came inside (I make one 8 oz. serving, divide it between 2 cups, and top off each with a little milk to cool it off).  Snack was soft pretzels (that we baked yesterday- Little A ate a small piece and Big R ate about half a pretzel).  They each ate about 10 mini m-n-ms as well.

Daily summary: Well, I can already see from reviewing the past few days that snacks are one area I’m going to want to work on.  I’d like to offer fewer carbs, less sugar, fewer empty calories.  I’ll have to give some thought to how I want to accomplish that!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 3: Baked oatmeal loses its charm


The meal:  Dry cereal (mix of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Cinnamon Life, and granola), pineapple chunks, Greek yogurt (I split a single-serve container of peach-flavored yogurt between the two of them), and milk.

What they ate:
Big R ate most of the cereal, a cup of milk, and all of the pineapple and yogurt.

Little A ate a bit of cereal, all of the yogurt, and most of ½ cup of pineapple.  He asked for milk but then didn’t drink it, so it went back in the fridge for lunch.

My notes: Today Ryan asked NOT to have the rest of the Baked Oatmeal for breakfast.  Hmph.  I’m not if this signals that he doesn’t much like it, or that he just likes to have a say in what he’s eating.  Sometimes Little A chows on the cereal; today he didn’t.  Ah well.


The meal:  Leftover spaghetti and meatballs, broccoli, clementines, milk

What they ate:
Big R ate a generous pile of spaghetti with sauce, one meatball, a clementine, two broccoli florets, and drank a cup of water.

Little A ate about ½ cup sauced spaghetti, one meatball, half a clementine, and drank his milk.

My notes:  Pretty good, although I realized after lunch that I forgot to serve Aiden any broccoli.  Not that he would have eaten it…


The meal:  Chickpeas in tomato-feta sauce; brown rice pilaf; green salad; applesauce; milk.

What they ate:
Big R ate a few chickpeas, a serving of pilaf, a large helping of salad, ½ c. of applesauce, and drank his milk.

Little A ate a scoop of pilaf and applesauce.  He asked for cucumber and tomato from the salad but didn’t eat the pieces I gave him.

My notes:  Little A usually loves chickpeas, but did not try one last night.  He was in kind of a mood (“I’m DONE!  Take my food AWAY!”).   I love Near East rice pilaf mix from a box, but I do not love the sodium content, so I’ve started making my own.  Last night I tried making it with brown rice and stelline (little stars) pasta and it tasted really good, though it got a little crisp on the bottom of the pot.  When I get the recipe cooking time down, I’ll share the recipe.

Snacks:  So, on Wednesdays at Big R’s preschool, the “kid of the week” gets to bring in the snack.  Today that kid brought donuts.  “Not Munchkins!”  Big R happily told me.  “Whole donuts!”  Sigh.  At preschool, he had a donut, apple juice, and part of a clementine he brought to school for Share Day (today’s theme was the letter C and clementines are his favorite fruit…he shared a wedge w/ each of the other kids).  For Little A, a Nutrigrain bar.  And Big R and I also spent the afternoon baking soft pretzels.  Big R had about ¾ of a pretzel (they’re big- think Auntie Anne’s) and Little A had about 1/3 of one.

Daily summary
·        Too heavy on the carby snacks today.  I wouldn’t have planned to bake the pretzels had I known about the donuts at preschool.
·        Big R insisted on helping with dinner.  He received a cute Kuhn Rikon kids’ knife for Christmas and did a great job slicing veggies for the salad and stirring the chickpea dish as it cooked.  I like that he can help occasionally!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who's the "They" in What They Ate Today?

Glad you asked!  The focus of the blog is on the food my two sons eat each day, and my thoughts on how I can improve our family's eating habits.  So, here "They" are!

Big R- My firstborn, a feisty and curious 5-year-old who never met a piece of fruit he didn't like.  He recently declared that he has both a sweet tooth and a "meat tooth."  He'll even show you which one is which.  He loves to help in the kitchen, and sometimes does some menu planning with me.  Big R is a big fan of all things animal, big messy craft projects, and pretending.

Little A- Just 2 years old, he's in possession of a massive sweet tooth and a bucketful of attitude.  If he could eat cookies for every meal he would, but he also loves chicken and fruit.  I worry that he's not as adventurous an eater as his brother was at this age- but every once in a while he'll surprise me and scarf down something that's ├╝ber-healthy.  Little A loves car, trucks, and all things that go...especially trains. 

And, while my focus is on the kids, here's a bit about the grown-up half of the family:

Stephanie- I'm a 30-something mom who loves cooking, baking, reading, and learning.  I'm also what you might call a recovering vegetarian.  After 15 years of eating no meat, chicken, or fish, I'm veeeery slowly venturing back in to eating some occasional meat.

Mr. H- My wonderful husband who endures and usually genuinely appreciates my cooking.  He's a fantastic parent and partner and I will do my best not to tell any embarrassing stories about him on this blog.  Ahem...not that there are any to tell.  He is condiment-averse and hates eggs.  He is also a kitchen-cleaner-upper extraordinare, which is only one of the gazillion reasons I love him.

Day 2: A babysitter, hooray!


The meal:
Baked Oatmeal again; fresh pineapple chunks; greek yogurt (raspberry flavor)

What they ate:
Little A ate everything.
Big R ate all of his pineapple and yogurt, and about 3/4 of his oatmeal.

My notes: 
Another good start to the day! Little A's oatmeal serving was about 2"x3" and Big R's was about 3"x4".   Big R got about 3/4 cup of pineapple chunks and Little A had 1/2 cup.  I love that they love their fresh fruit!


The meal:  Different meals for each kid, as Big R stayed at school for lunch today, and Little A and I went to a moms' meetup at the mall for storytime and lunch at the food court.

In Big R's lunch, I sent a half sandwich of turkey with raspberry jam (a favorite of his), a clementine, celery sticks with a tablespoon of ranch for dipping, two Hershey's kisses, and a Fruitables juice box.

Little A got a Chik-fil-A kids' meal of 4 chicken nuggets (Chik-fil-A nuggets are bitty little things, about 1" square each), fresh fruit cup, and milk.

What they ate:   
Big R ate all of the sandwich, the clementine, the candy and drank the juice box.  He didn't touch the celery and claims he ran out of time to eat it.

Little A ate all 4 nuggets, all of the fresh fruit, about half of a single waffle fry, and water from his sippy cup.  We brought the milk home for later.

My notes: Chik-fil-A does a decent job on their kids' meals.  The portions are reasonable and I love that you can sub fresh fruit for fries at no additional cost.  The fresh fruit looks and tastes fresh- his cup today had grapes, strawberries, apples, and mandarin oranges (oh, wait- guess the oranges must come from a can). As far as fast food goes, it's not a bad pick in my opinion.


The meal: Spaghetti and meatballs, steamed broccoli, applesauce, milk.

What they ate:   
Big R ate all of the celery sticks from lunchtime, two meatballs, several forkfuls with spaghetti with sauce, all of the applesauce, his milk, and a few bites of broccoli.

Little A ate one meatball, about 1/2 cup of chopped-up spaghetti with sauce, no broccoli, a few bites of applesauce, and he drank a little milk.

My notes: We actually had a babysitter tonight, so Mr. H and I got to go out to dinner!  Woohoo!  Big R requested the spaghetti and meatballs for dinner for himself and his brother.  Spaghetti is usually a sure-fire hit for dinner, but the sitter arrived while the boys were eating and I think they got excited and distracted.  Neither of them ate much after she got here.

Snacks:  At school, Big R had pretzels and juice.  At home, both boys had pretzel sticks and a small handful of mini M'n'Ms (about 10) each.

Thoughts on the day:   Not bad.  Plenty of fruit as usual.  Waiting for the day when Little A deigns to eat broccoli.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 1: The blog experiment begins

...with a so-so day.


The meal:
Baked Oatmeal (slightly adapted by me; see notes below)
Fresh clementines
Chobani Greek Yogurt- Strawberry flavor

What they ate:
Little A ate two small servings of the oatmeal, half a clementine (I cut these into bite-sized pieces for him), and about 1/4 cup of the yogurt.

Big R ate two servings of the oatmeal topped with some chopped walnuts, dried cranberries and a drizzle of real maple syrup, 1 1/2 clementines, and about 1/2 cup yogurt.

My notes:  The baked oatmeal was a big hit, and I'm pleased with it as a hot breakfast option.  The recipe calls for nuts and raisins baked in, but because of the choking hazard for Little A, I opted to leave them out and just sprinkle them on top for Big R.  I also reduced the sugar and added some cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.  Delicious and so easy to throw together!  We all ate some and there is enough for a few more generous servings tomorrow.


The meal:  Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread (one sandwich: 2/3 for Big R, 1/3 for Little A); turkey deli meat roll-ups; fresh pear (I sliced up one pear.  About two-thirds went on Big R's plate, and then I peeled and diced the remaining third for Little A); milk.

What they ate:   
Little A ate all of the pear and drank his milk.  He took the banana slices out of the sandwich and ate those, plus ate about one bite out of each small piece of bread.  He also ate a tortilla chip, begged from me as I stood in the kitchen dipping a few in some salsa.  I should know better.  He recognizes the rustling of the chip bag!

Big R ate everything except the sandwich crusts (he's pretty adept at eating all the way to the very edge), drank the milk, and also had a tortilla chip.

My notes:  Sandwiches are sometimes devoured by Little A, and sometimes the exact same sandwich will be left virtually untouched.  He loves cooked chicken breast, but deli meat seems to hold no appeal for him.  Not a big lunch for him.


The meal: Butternut squash risotto; spinach salad with sliced apples and cashews; green peas; applesauce; milk.

What they ate:   
Little A's risotto was untouched.  He ate all of the peas, a few bites of applesauce, and several pieces of shaved parmesan cheese.  He drank a bit of the milk.

Big R ate a large serving of the salad, all of his applesauce, one bite of risotto, and no peas.  Drank all of his milk.

My notes: A disappointing performance by the risotto, but not unexpected.  It's a perfect example of how I try to make dinner more "grownup-oriented."  Sometimes I score with this strategy, sometimes not.  I figure at least they're being exposed to different dishes even if they don't eat them!  It always cracks me up that, unlike most kids, Ryan rejects most of the starchy veggies- no peas, no carrots unless raw, and no potatoes unless they're fried form.  He loves most other veggies, though!

Snacks:  At home, Little A ate a Nutrigrain bar.  At school, Big R had pretzels and apple juice.  They each had one Ginger Shortbread Cookie.

Thoughts on the day:   
  • I so wish they wouldn't offer juice at the preschool.  But we don't serve juice at home and Big R drinks reasonable amounts of milk and plenty of water, so I don't stress about it too much.  
  • I need to come up with better snack options for home- too much sugar and other stuff in those Nutrigrain bars. 
  • I have a goal of switching to plain unsweetened yogurt that I jazz up with fresh fruit, to cut down on added sugars.  I need to work on that.   There are 19g of sugar in a single-serve container of the Chobani flavored yogurt, which is about 5 teaspoons.  So that's about 3 tsp. for Ryan and 2 tsp. for Aiden right there- too much!

Here's the plan.

Hey there!  Here it is.  Here's the big plan.  My goal is to blog (most of) the food my kids eat for the next 6 months.  Not just what I serve them, but what they actually eat.  I'd like to think that I usually serve pretty decent, nutritionally balanced meals, but I also think there's plenty of room for improvement!  I'm hoping that by blogging about my kids' food, I'll be able to get a better big-picture sense of whether they're eating well, come up with and implement some ideas for improving our family's eating habits, and share some useful insights with my readers. 

My plan for now is to put up a daily post listing what I served for each meal, what they ate, and any thoughts I have about those meals.  I also plan to make additional posts on related topics every once in a while.  I welcome comments and feedback!