"Everything is a balance." This has long been my parenting motto. I may not be the craftiest mom but I'm intentional to spend time with my kids. And I may lose my temper sometimes but I try to make up for it with lots of hugs and affection. There are a hundred other ways in which I try to balance this mom role, understanding I can't do it all, but I can do my best.
This applies to the food we eat in our home too. In the last year or so, I really grew in my desire to feed my kids whole, unprocessed foods. I have mom friends who are rock stars at this and they inspired me to do better. I spent many months scouring Pinterest for whole food supper recipes and spent many hours cooking and baking from scratch. It felt very fulfilling... until I served up two plastic plates full of homemade goodness, laid them on the bar, and watched identical meltdowns ensue before my eyes. Whether it was homemade soup with garden vegetables, eggplant parmesan, or a fresh slice of salmon, my little darlings weren't touching it. And they sure didn't care that I had spent hours preparing it! I pleaded with them, I yelled, I cried. They did the same. The whole ordeal stressed me to the max and it repeated itself night after night.
When recently venting to my mom about how stressful mealtime had become, she gave me some sage advice. "You have to stop worrying about this so much," she said. "Feed them what they'll eat. And stop comparing yourself to others. They're kids, and they're going to be fine."
It was like she let me off the hook. From that day a few weeks ago, I have stopped stressing so much about feeding my kids whole foods. I do the best that I can... and I let them be kids. I will say -- I have been so much happier since then.
Here's what this means for us: I've been having more taco and spaghetti nights. And yes, I even use store-bought shells and sauce. I make poppyseed chicken and don't stress that the cream-of-chicken came in a can. (I'm thankful my kids will at least eat these things. I know some kids who won't!)
We also make a lot of beans because that is something healthy my kids love. (And they're cheap!)
But I do attempt to feed them as healthy of snacks as possible: raw carrots, berries, nuts, and now Lil' Beanies. If you've never heard of Lil' Beanies it's because they're brand new from Gerber. You may recognize them as coming in a can similar to Lil' Crunchies, but the Beanies are made with navy beans and rice flour. (I mentioned my kids love beans, right?) They contain 2g of protein and 1g of fiber per serving so they're not just an empty snack or filler. Plus they contain no GMOs, no preservatives, and no artificial colors or flavors. Yes, you may find them in the baby/toddler aisle at Walmart, but believe me, they're delicious for all ages. Selah and I may or may not have eaten 2 1/2 cans while making the video below!
I have found that feeding my kids healthy snacks is sometimes easier than meals.
So what about you? Do you stress over getting your kids to eat healthy? What battles do you pick or leave alone?