One day my daughter was writing a story about an animal (it might have been a dog) looking for a healthy meal. As she’s never been bothered when there isn’t enough space on a line to complete the word she’s writing, she just continues on to the next line, even if there’s only one letter left in the word. (This is a little bit like her personality and also the state of her bedroom.) Anyway, she wrote, “the dog (was it a cat? I think it was a cat, actually, because the meal ended up being a fish) went out looking for a heal
thy meal.” I knew she’d been trying to write “healthy” because I’d helped her by spelling it aloud, but I still read it as “heal thy meal” and thought: there it is! The slogan for all my thoughts about food and feeding people! But what does it mean? It’s different for everyone, of course, and ultimately the answer is always “everything in balance”, and the onus of keeping our people healthy goes way beyond the food they eat, but providing meals is still such a THING. From the planning to the shopping to the unloading to the storing to the preparing to the discussing to the cleaning up. Of course, this process begins for a mother before the baby is even born, and then afterwards, it’s all about how to best keep our babies fed in a way that works for everyone. Now that my kids are long weaned, I don’t have to remember things like “no cow’s milk until 12 months” and “it’s okay to shake formula but not breastmilk” and “when to introduce peanuts” and “is there arsenic in rice cereal?”. But after kids are onto solids, a whole host of other questions come barreling down the pike. “Are they getting enough vegetables?” and “Do I have to cook every night?” and “Will people judge me if I feed them fast food?” and “How do I get enough protein in their lunch boxes when we can’t send nuts and they suddenly don’t like string cheese anymore even though I just bought the kind that was their favorite in bulk at Costco yesterday because it was on sale (limit 5) and I thought I’d scored?”
I’ll share recipes and thoughts on feeding kids (and other people, too, sometimes) in posts categorized under “Heal Thy Meal” so they’ll be searchable if you’re looking for something new to try, a reminder of something you haven’t done in a while, recommendations for products, etc. You’ll also find there a voice of validation saying it’s okay to hit the drive-through, as well as just general rants on topics such as why my daughter, who eats Madras lentils for breakfast, routinely puts away more sushi, miso soup, and edamame than most adults can manage in a sitting, raves about the Philly cheesesteak sandwich they make at school, is known to tackle five hotdogs at a time, munches on raw green beans in the garden, orders smoked whitefish and tomato on plain at Bodo’s Bagels, loves taquitos and egg rolls and salmon and dill pickles, chooses broccoli as a side over a rice krispie treat at Noodles & Co.–why, oh why won’t that child eat a peanut butter sandwich or a cheese quesadilla?