Salaams (Peace) All,
Saturday night in our house is pizza and a movie night. As we sat down to our usual fare, I looked at the meal I was serving my children. For dinner that night we had pizza and hot dogs washed down with “fruit punch.” I looked at our meal and felt deeply ashamed. What kind of mother feeds her kids this junk?!!
I told my children, “you have a terrible mother?”
“Why,” they asked. I explained how I had a wonderful mom. (May Allah be pleased with her.) For dinner we had at least two vegtables at every meal. Veggies that were cooked fresh, not canned or frozen. Some meals were all veggie, “you don’t need to eat meat everyday” she’d say. We lived in Chicago and didn’t have a garden. But in the summer she would drive to “u-pick” farms in Indiana and pick her vegetables fresh. She was committed to a healthy lifestyle for her children and didn’t mind the hard work. Or if she did she didn’t complain to us about it. Having grown up with such a paragon, you can understand, why I felt so guilty. I do understand that eating these fast food quickie meals are necessary sometimes. Busy moms can’t do it all. And if you have to do it saying you are a terrible mom is a bit harsh. However, I wanted to do better! Since I believe that it is never too late to make a change, I decided to make the commitment to eat healthier.
On Sunday, I took my children with me to the grocery store. A store with a very large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. I let them select the fruits and veggies they wanted to try. They were excited about all of the fruit. So we bought a very nice variety. Usually I keep the fruit out of sight in the kitchen. On this day we went home and made a beautiful fruit basket to sit in the middle of the table. I told them whenever they wanted some fruit they could just help themselves. I knew the attractive arrangement and easy access would encourage them to remember to actually eat the fruit. We also made fruit kabobs. Or as we called it fruit on a stick. We played with the cookie cutter to make flowers out of fresh pineapple with melons, grapes, and strawberries as garnish. I then arranged them in a pitcher to keep in the refrigerator. (By the way, I learned that if you plan to keep in the fridge, don’t add the strawberries. They don’t keep as long after washing!) The whole process of getting them involved, and keeping the fruit in attractive ways to remind and encourage eating really worked! I can honestly say they ate more fresh fruit and a wider variety than ever before.
I’m trying also to integrate veggies in a healthier way as well. I’ll keep you posted on how that is going. For right now it warms my heart when I hear them say, “can I have more fruit sticks!”