It’s 2:55 and in a couple of minutes my kids will begin barreling in through the door. Help! Am I prepared to greet them with my warm, home-made chocolate chip cookies and milk in hand? My kids, being picky eaters (and that’s an understatement), most often practically starve themselves while in school. Let’s just say, between you and me, school lunches leave much to be desired! I’ll never let on to my kids that I would not touch those lunches with a 10 foot pole. I think (scratch that, I know) that I would rather go hungry than eat the rubbery hot dogs or the soggy French toast. But, to my kids’ dismay, I don’t give them that much sympathy and try to cajole them into eating their school lunch.
In walks my high-wired, 8 year-old daughter, Leah, and the conversation begins. Before I can even get the usual, “Hi Leah. How was your day?” out of my mouth, “Mom, I’m staaaaarving!” in an extremely high pitched voice, is what I’m confronted with. This not so-uncommon “conversation” usually goes downward from there. I usually try to probe further and find out why she is soooo starving.
The answer most often starts with: “Lunch was nauseous!!!!”, with me countering, “Couldn't you at least eat the bread or the plain pasta?”
Leah's exasperated response always is, “Ma, I told you already a thousand times, they only serve us horrible whole wheat bread and whole wheat macaroni ‘cuz of Mrs. Obama (seriously, that is exactly what she told me)!”
I happen to love practically everything whole wheat, but now just does not seem to be the right time to mention that. It doesn't either seem to me like it’s the right moment to implore her with the benefits of eating healthy and wholesome foods. My motherly instinct tells me that whipping out a plate of freshly baked cookies with the still “melty” chocolate chips (shhh! The cookies are made with white whole wheat flour) and a cold glass of milk with a bright pink straw, is just what she needs now. And, thank god, I have them ready in hand.
When the kids walk through the door after a long day of school tired and hungry, all they really want is a little bit of love and something to fill their tummies. While it may seem to be the opportune time to catch up on some phone calls or a great time to get a whole lot of “important” stuff done, I would venture to say “save that for later”. I've learned to take these couple of minutes and set them aside for my kids and listen to what’s on their minds. And, equally as important, I try to have something that they like to eat ready and waiting for them.
In order to have a little treat ready for kiddies, it takes a little bit of advanced planning and organization, but can be relatively simple. Here are some of the ideas and shortcuts I've learned that you may like.
- Make a double recipe of chocolate chip cookie dough and/or practically any other cookie dough, like peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies etc. and freeze the raw dough in logs wrapped in baking paper. Then simply unwrap the dough and defrost it for about 10 minutes or so. With a sharp knife cut slices, pop it on a cookie sheet and in the oven and you’ll have freshly baked cookies in minutes, minus the mess.
- Fruit Shakes, Milk Shakes or Razzles are easy to whip up and always appreciated. All you need is a combination of frozen fruits and juice, ice cubes and or ice cream and milk and a couple of yummy toppings and a blender and your good to go. There are always new combinations to try which makes this fun, exciting, refreshing and filling!
Cake in a mug is another great option. There are lots of these great recipes out there which you can you can easily do. With just a few ingredients tossed into a mug, you can “bake” a cake in the microwave and have it ready in a flash! Yummy!
- One other idea that’s healthy and fun is “fruit kabobs”. I take the fruits that I have available, preferably melons and cut them into uniform size cubes and stack them on a skewer in a pattern. If I’m really in a creative mood, I’ll take one of my ready-made decorating dessert sauces and make a cute smile or a personalized message on the plate alongside the fruit. Healthy, fresh and fun!
So, try these out. You will see that it’s a win-win! And, do me a favor, please, if you have any simple and yummy treats, please share them with me. I’m always looking for fresh, new ideas. I’d love to hear from you and so would my little guys.