You have baked your last compressed chicken product, boiled your last hot dog, and opened your last Lunchable. You are ready to scream "DIE, CHICKEN NUGGET...DIE!"
There comes a point in every parents life where they are simply ready to start serving adult food again.
You are not sure exactly when it happened, but you are realizing that 90% of the food you prepare is packaged with characters dancing on the box, or is only seasoned with salt.
You haven't sat down to a balanced, appetizing family meal in ages. Because, if you make one, no one eats it. Or worse, they complain.
You know it shouldn't be this way, that it is not healthy, but there really isn't time to figure it all out. Or rather:
I HAVE NO TIME TO PREPARE HEALHY MEALS SO DON'T JUDGE ME!!!
I am a die hard believer that the last thing parents need is more judgement heaped upon them. Before we go any further, allow me to take a second to remind you what a fantastic parent your are. Brilliant. Loving. Perfect as you are. My desire to help you quit the kiddie junk food is not an attack on your parenting. The opposite in fact. I want to help you discover any easier way. There is amazing freedom and joy to be found when kids and adults enjoy the same food. Unfortunately, many of us just can't get there with out a little help.
It happens gradually, but one day you give up pleasing your own palate. Remember, you actually like seasoning? Garlic, onion, and sauces...they are divine!
Bring back the seasoning! Bring back the sauces! Bring back all the "unidentifiable" bits you know your kids will pick out or around! I am here to tell you, they will eat it.
Alas, each journey start with the first step. If you are ready to start serving casseroles, roasts, soups, salads, and watch them get devoured, here is where you need to begin:
STEP #1 : THROW OUT, STOP BUYING, AND STOP SERVING YOUR TWO FAVORITE KIDDIE CRUTCH FOODS.
We all have them. Mine were the Dino Nuggets and hot dogs. Maybe yours are boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizza? Maybe you rely on several processed, packaged, kiddie foods each week? Either way, you absolutely need to cut the cord. At least for now. Why Top two? Because giving up your two favorite standby's will be impactful in your weekly meal planning. It will force you and your family to adjust to other choices.
Step by step, here is how this is going to go:
1. Make a pledge to stop buying/serving the two favorite crutch kiddie foods you rely on. (Stick to your guns, mama!)
2. Gently explain to your family what's up. "Mommy can no longer cook chicken poppers or grilled cheese for you. We will have to make another choice instead" Insert whatever explanation you think will work best for the age and temperament of you children. If under age 5, no explanation necessary. Older kids will probably start making requests for their favorite lunch/dinner items. I think a simple "chicken poppers are not healthy for our bodies and we want to grow up strong." is effective.
3. replace your old stand-by with a homemade version, or a different homemade selection that you know is hit. You may find you are repeating another stand by meal more often now. That is great as long as it is homemade and not processed. The secret is....as your kids slowly forget about the poppers, fingers, tots, and nuggets, or cereal, they will slowly warm up to other things.
4. Just to be extra clear: If you are giving up hot dogs and frozen pizza as your crutch foods, do not serve boxed mac and cheese three times a week instead. You can still serve boxed mac and cheese if you wish, just make sure you aren't serving it three times more than you were before this little experiment.
Honestly, we need your kids to forget these crunchy, fried, salty, packaged products ever exsisted. We need to return to a time before Tots!
We need to teach our kids how to re-discover and enjoy home cooked food. We have to tear down their tastebuds and their preferences so we can build them back up.
you can't expect kids to prefer home cooked adult food, if they are more accustomed to processed flavors. It will not happen.
In short: pre-packaged, processed snacks and meals are destroying your kids ability to recognize real food as delicious. If: TATER TOTS, GOLDFISH, AND COCOPUFFS=YUMMY & FAMILIAR . Then: ROSEMARY ROASTED POTATOES, PITA WITH HUMUS, AND OATMEAL=YUCK & WEIRD. And that is a totally understandable reaction.
If you are serious about phasing out the kiddie junk food, you have to GET RID OF THE KIDDIE JUNK FOOD. Wishing your kids taste buds will change isn't going to do the trick here.
If it seems not worth the trouble, keep in mind your motivation for making these changes. You will have kids who eat what you want to eat...without any struggles and you will be raising your kids nutrition up the notch that they need to grow into healthy adults.
Good food matters. You're in charge.
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