Wednesday, March 5, 2008

So, What's For Dinner?

I looked over at Savannah who was writing something in a notebook. "Whatcha writing? Is that homework?"
"Yeah. We're supposed to write down everything we eat for the week."
"Ohhh. Is that for health class?"
"You're making up stuff, right?"
"Huh?" Savannah looked up at me, confused.
"You're not writing down what we have really eaten for dinner this week, are you?"
"Yes," she answered innocently.

Crap! Why did I ever teach my kids that lying is bad?! I obviously never thought that one through. I glanced at her paper. Listed almost every day for breakfast was "a handful of Cheez-Its". Yeah, that's nutritious. Nothing gets your day started like highly processed, fake cheese flavored crackers. Vitamins? Nope. Minerals? Nah. Fiber? Not really. Protein? Notsomuch. Partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil with TBHQ, yellow #5, yellow #6, and monosodium glutamate? Check!

I continued past Savannah's nutrition packed breakfasts to dinner. I've had a less than stellar week in the cooking department. Her list read...
chicken pot pie
double cheeseburger from McDonalds
grilled cheese sandwich

Oh yeah, that looks great. I envisioned Savannah's health teacher being so shocked and appalled by Savannah's menu that she'd soon be sending me a packet filled with 5 pounds of nutrition information including menus, charts of vitamins and minerals needed to support development, and a BMI calculator. I was sure she'd soon be calling me to discuss the importance of the food pyramid (which, by the way, did not exist when I was a kid. We didn't have any pyramid. We had the bread group. Cookies and cakes were part of this group. We had the dairy group. This included milkshakes. We had the fruit and veggie group which included French fries and strawberry-banana smoothies. And finally we had the meat group which contained cheeseburgers.).

"So you don't want to write baked salmon, steamed asparagus with a lemon drizzle, herbed new potatoes and a cup of fresh pineapple for dessert? OK. OK. It's ok. How about we just add some details then? It's not really lying if you're just adding details, right? Here we go..."

Nachos: made with low fat corn tortillas, fat free beans, low fat cheddar, tons of lettuce and tomatoes and NO greasy beef, sour cream or high fat cheese

Pizza: made with a whole wheat crust, fresh plum tomatoes and basil, and a sprinkle of part skim parmigiana cheese and NOT sausage and greasy pepperoni

Lasagna: made with whole grain pasta, lean ground turkey, ricotta, and spinach and NOT Italian sausage and 6 pounds of cheese

Double cheeseburger from McDonald's: made with, umm, made with, hmmm, ok, I got nothin' here.

Every time one of my kids has brought this particular project home from school, it's been a fast food/quick-what-can-I-throw-in-the-oven kind of week. Every time! Why don't teachers give us a head's up and let us know that every bite our kids eat is going to be analyzed so we have time to stock up on healthy foods that we never ordinarily keep in the house be prepared?!

Oh and I thought I had a most wonderful idea for curbing my late night sweet tooth attacks! My plan was to make myself a cup of wonderful, sweet dessert tea in the evening when I got a craving to munch on something sweet. So, tonight I put my plan in action. Mmmm Sweet Coconut Chai Tea with a little milk and sugar. It's like a dessert, right? I sat down and inhaled the spicy, coconutty aroma and felt the steam on my face. I took a sip of the rich, creamy goodness. And then I decided that the tea would go much better with a cookie. So much for that plan.


Chelf said...

Reminds me of Bill Cosby.
Chocolate Cake. Milk, Eggs, Wheat. That's Nutrition!!! What are we missing? Fruit. Hmmm. Grapefruit Juice!

McDonald's cheeseburger is more healthy than... no. I got nothing, either. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dawn! I'm feeling much better about the two black Russians and handful of snack mix I had for dinner! Or maybe I'm feeling better just because I had two black Russians for dinner...

Sandy in Tucson

(P.S., Just so everyone knows, I don't have two black Russians for dinner every night. Once in a while a salad and some steamed asparagus do manage to creep into my diet...)

Susan in FL said...

As always, hysterical. Thanks again for the much-needed laugh!

Mary said...

Yum, a cup of tea and a row of cookies.....

Anonymous said...

You forgot chocolate, isn't that a major food group? It is in my pyramid of daily food intake.

In an effort to lose some unwanted holiday pounds I have cut down to 4 mini size candy bars a day. Hmm, not seeing that weight loss yet, but gee everything I read says I should lose the weight slowly. I am taking that literally.


Jill said...

I just read this post while eating a great big bowl of Rocky Road ice cream. (This was NOT the diet variety. It had all the sugar and fat that ice cream is supposed to have)
Have you ever thought of adding a handful of m&ms and a diet coke to the breakfast Cheeze-its?
Think about it.

Anonymous said...

lmao You never cease to crack me up.

Rick said...

After looking at that menu it's no wonder that you've been using up so much toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah I know how you feel. Except it is not my kid doing a project because she is 5 but my college friends. Since I am the only one with a kid and I have the issue with the word "NO." I always get suckered into this one. And my friends always want the information the day before the project is due. Why do my friends want to be teachers, why can't they just be something easy like a psychologist?

At least this time, I had a feeling it was coming up and documented a good day... when my room mate cooked. It was quite nice to get a "Wow Savannah eats great!" Instead of a "3 cups of applesauce and some dry cereal does not equate breakfast!!"

BTW No grease on nachos... thats no fun.....


roseys madhouse said...

rafl thats hilarious. I feel the same way at times believe me, mind you since I have been dieting myself I find myself actually feeding the children much better meals. I have a great recipe for you which I make here and my kids all eat it and it is quick and simple which I love.
(I too feed 8 so this is not the normal quantities)
Cheesy Tuna Bake

600 grams ( I usually put in a kilo) of frozen broccoli & cauliflower
2 cups of cream
2 teaspoons of curry powder( I dont have that in my house so I put in a mixture of herbs)
400grams of grated cheese
800grams of tuna, drained
grated cheese to top it.
Now you steam the vegies for 5 or so minutes and then you heat up the cream and put the cheese in to melt then pour over the vegies and sprinkle the handful of cheese on top and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until browned. It doesnt set hard it is quite runny but thats ok and I find that I dont need real huge meals for my bigger boys as it is really filling.
I got this recipe from
The best part is being vegetables if the kids eat all of it they get icecream after wards lol. I know the icecream isnt too good but hey they had a vegie meal first (doesnt that count????)

nic said...

At least you didn't have 2 cookies, or did you?!

Christine said...

Sometimes I think the biggest thing the schools teach is, "your life is our business".

Deb in OPKS said...

If it makes you feel any better, I ate Golden Oreo Cookies for breakfast yesterday (I gave up chocolate for lent) I hate that evil little pyramid. The food groups were much easier.

You can have that tea! Yuck. But then, I don't like coconut.

Deb in OPKS said...


Here's a question for your Sunday Sound Out - What ad program do you use? Do you get to choose the ads that go on your site or do the powers that be choose it for you?

Mrs. Schmitty said...

I swear those teachers are TRYING to make us look bad!

The Miles Family said...

Wow... Savannah's menu sounded like it came right from the Miles household!
*Sigh* Thank you for bringing this lack of real nutrition to my attention.

Life with Spirit said...

I love tea and cookies! Or coffee and cookies. Or milk and cookies. Or water and cookies...Oh dear. My 2 year old is never going to pass that health homework in a few years!

Anonymous said...

The food fairy was on my side the night my son had to document his dinner (for science--he had to describe the taste of everything)...we had filet mignon, roasted asparagus, and parsleyed new potatoes. It was the one time all month that my dinner sounded that good! I keep waiting for him to sping it on me the night we do the drive-through.

For the late-night sweet cravings: have you tried the Special K Chocolate Delight cereal? It has pieces of real chocolate in it, and with milk, it ALMOST tastes like you're having cookies and milk. I put more in the bowl than the miniscule recommended serving size,of course, but the Girl Scout cookies are still unopened in my cabinet, so at least that's something!


Tina said...

Okay, here's a yummy desert that is perfectly safe to eat.

1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 package sugar substitute
1 tsp slivered almonds
alittle fat free whipped cream really makes it good

you can also make it like this
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 package sugar substitute
dash of espresso powder
5 mini chocolate chips (or a few more if you please)

Sharon said...

I'd be willing to bet that your kids are eating almost exactly what the other kids are eating. I fix wonderful, healthy meals and all my kids want are scrambled eggs and breakfast cereal. And I, being a good mother, let them fix what they want since I already spent most of the afternoon fixing the wonderful, healthy meal! A wise woman once told me "You can't make 'em eat, you can't make 'em sleep, and you can't make 'em poop." Words to live by when you have small kids!

Ashley said...

I ate Cheez-Its Wed. morning for breakfast too! And before bed last night I had a cup of tea...with a nice hunk of banana nut bread! Now that I think back on our week's menu it's looking pretty close to yours. Tonight I'm planning spaghetti made with organic beef and whole grain pasta-does that make up for the rest? Of course I have to make the regular white noodles for my husband b/c the whole grain ones "taste funny".

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, This is a question for Sunday SO. How many box's of cheese crackers..I mean..cereal do you go through in a week? Also how many gallons of milk? I can only imagine! Kristine in Michigan.

Brenda said...

Good grief. At least throw in some strawberry pop or some green popcycles. They say your diet should have a lot of color to get all the correct nutrients ; )


Queen Elaine said...

SSO question perhaps? How do you fix something for dinner that all 6 kids will eat? I have trouble enough with 4 kids. One doesn't like peas, the other doesn't like corn....blah, blah, blah. Drives me batty it does!

Mabunny said...

LOL Oh Dawn you just crack me up!!
I remember doing that kind of project in school. Thankfully my daughter hasn't had to do it yet though. We are trying to eat alot healthier, I've gotten her to try some new foods, but not alot. She is a sugar junkie, so we are trying to cut that down a bit. She's not overweight, but it could become a problem in the future since her dad and grandma are both diabetic.
You have stopped mentioning weight watchers... are you still trying to follow the plan?


Starrgazer said...

Hahahaha! That seems to ALWAYS happen to me! I too have to change a few things on their list. Thats too funny.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That project sends me running for the produce aisle. One time we had it when I was having a great cooking week--I actually think your Salmon dinner was on the meal. Boy, did I feel great!

SMC said...

I read you're blog everyday but have never commented. I got a kick out of the cheeze-its for breakfast. I'm 24 and striving to live a more healthy live since my husband and I are trying to get pregnant but my all time favorite breakfast meal is cheez-its and Dr. Pepper!
Thanks for the daily laughs!

Michelle said...

Girl some of those dinners sound like mine and there are only two kids in this house. It's amazing that you have enough hours in the day to take care of all you do and feed them too!!! You have my WOW!!!! You blog is fabulous and makes me feel normal.. thanks for the laughs.. It always makes me smile and realize that I'm not the only one who goes berzerk when I find the empty roll. And PS the teachers do it on purpose... ha ha..

Carly said...

Oh no! LOL! Your dinner for the week sounds like dinner at my house every evening. Who the heck has time anymore to make healthy meals every night. Loved the way you save it though, with the whole grain noodles, low fat cheese, etc... Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I only wish that this assignment had come up when your kids had Kool-aid fish for dinner. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the menus we had growing up and I think I turned out ok. I eat Cheex-its for breakfast as well.

Margee said...

Dawn--you crack me up! Occasionally I'll read some of those parenting magazines in the doctors' waiting rooms sometimes if for nothing else--just for the guilt factor (yes I'm a glutton for punishment). They talk about sneaking vegetables into your childrens' everday foods and they'll never know it. Yeah, right! I like your ideas though. Imagination should account for something.

FosterMom said...

It's a darn good thing my kiddos don't write yet! I swear my middle child exists on fishy crackers, ritz bitz crackers and pretzels. with the occasional "nuffin" (muffin) thrown in. Well, and he is a carnivor to the nth degree - whatever is for dinner, he always wants more meat!

Erin said...

Hey, at least you feed 'em.

My fourth-grader came home and posted the USDA food pyramid on my fridge. He would keep track of servings at each meal and lecture me because we were not fulfilling all the categories. Somehow, the paper "fell" off the fridge and was lost forevermore.

Sherry said...

Problem with sweet tea for dessert is that you can't really "munch" on it unless you plan on eating the mug you are drinking it in.
I need your recipes for this week... those things are right down my daughter's alley and we are trying to do Feingold which has been really hard since I cannot find much from the list at our grocery stores. :)

peach said...

it never fails... thats for sure. and of course you can take one good look at the kids and see that they are so malnourished and totally abused because you have been so sick you cant just hop in the car and run to the market for fresh fruit and vegies... sheesh.
that teacher would have a hay day at my house cause many times its grab what you can find...
Hope you are feeling better.
ps we gave up on the toilet paper rollers years ago and took them off the wall... paper now just sits on the counter by the commode. shrug;-0

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad my kids aren't there yet. I can just see it now: frozen waffles with Mrs Butterworth syrup. Tacquitos (my 2 year old LOVES them -- thanks, Costco). Chicken dinosaurs. Plain spaghetti. 1 garlic breadstick and 1/2 piece pizza. Valentine's candy. At least we get our fruit and yogurt in. And there was a vegetable... the 1/8 of a slice of carrot that my daughter was forced to try.

Does it count if I expose them to foods and make them try a bite of each food before I break out the standbys when they decide it isn't good? That reminds me I should make some salmon for tomorrow. After 20 tries of having salmon for dinner, my kids finally decided they LOVE salmon.

At what age do I need to start making sure my kids are no longer picky?


Stacey said...

I have cheesy crackers for breakfast at least three times a week. I'm not a big breakfast person unless someone else makes it. :D

I'm sure I will get calls as well when my kids are older,their food tastes are very limited and we go out way too much.

Kyddryn said...

When they have six kids, a blog, a book to write, and assorted family things to juggle, they can judge. Meanwhile, there are worse things than Cheez-Its for breakfast (I've only got the one little guy, and he's had that for breakfast once or twenty times himself).

I just got cases (not kidding) of Girl Scout cookies in - how am I supposed to lose weight and get healthy with all those Tagalongs sitting about, begging to be eaten after midnight??

Shade and Sweetwater,

Nat said...

Sometimes I wonder if you are me about 5 years in the future (my kids are a little younger than yours). Thanks for always making me smile.

Angela P. said...

Just a heads up for later, the coconut chai tea goes REALLY well with Samoas! lol

Anonymous said...

I find eating healthy is not so easy. So I felt a little better when I saw this bumper sticker (now one of my favorites) "Health nuts are going to feel stupid dying of nothing".

Lucille said...

Isn't there a computer program you can use to scan her handwriting and make a font out of it? Then you could type what she should have eaten and turned it in for her! LOL!

Thanks for the "heads up" - my child hasn't gotten to that age yet but now I will be PREPARED!

Oh and if you were at my house this week it would have been" CEREAL, FRENCH TOAST, SOAP and our favorite night - FREE FOR ALL!

Lucille said...

OMG _ did I type SOAP?

Well that is one way to drive attention to my blog - isn't it?



THopgood said...


That's a far better plan than my own plan for curbing my "late night sweet tooth attacks"...I decided to keep hard boiled eggs on hand in the frig. But when those said eggs are sitting next to a bag of chilled snickers bites...well...I think your plan was better thought out!

omystarling said...

Ahh Dawn, weren't you the one that told us about the 'Supper Swap'???
You mentioned it in your blog one day and I mentioned it to three of my friends. We have been swapping since October. We could not picture our lives without it. I have a couple of other friends that are waiting/wishing for one of our four to drop out so they can join in.
Thanks for passing it along to us :)

Anonymous said...

I hope mine never come home w/that project. My kids list would be much worse than your I assure you!@!!

Is chocolate a food group? If not, then my DD is in trouble!

Cook Family said...

I'm not a breakfast eater which means my kids have not grown up eating breakfast. Well, cereal if they want on occasion. So my kids have had whatever they want within reason: ramen, chicken nuggets, pizza pockets, and rice come to mind. You crack me up, keep up the good work.

Tari said...

I've been taking a nutrition class and all it's done for me is created a new bad habit...Lying!
I have to write everything down I eat and now all I do it write down everything I'm supposed to eat and leave out everything I'm not supposed to eat. I want to quit because of my guilt over lying so much but I can't bring myself to be a quitter so I'll be a liar instead.

Anonymous said...

You should change to the Scott Tissue brand. There are 1000 sheets on the roll...seems to last much much longer. It might cost a little more up front, but it is soooooooooo worth it! :)

Amber said...

I'm sure the teacher has weeks like that too, at least if the teacher is human.

Cookies go with anything.

Barb Chansky said...

Dear Dawn!

First, I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog! It is a constant source of joy for me, and a pleasure to vicariously meet such a fantastic person and such wonderful family. I wanted to comment on a lot of your entries: I really appreciate people who are down to earth and in possession of a good cense of humor. Anyway, here goes. First of all, with all due respect to your kids’ teachers, that assignment sounds like a load of bull feathers: kids do not usually decide what they have to eat at home; their parents do. So, what is this: a veiled criticism of parents or just something that was not thought through properly? You are a great, wonderful, caring parent (of course, you really needed me to tell you that :)) To heck with food pyramid! Enjoy your sweet tea and cookie! Plus, believe me, you really enjoy fruits and veggies when you think of them as just food or snack, and not healthy or diet food. It is all a gift from G-d; enjoy your dinner tonight, whatever it will be. Best wishes!

Karen said...

LOL it's called sod's law, when people want/need a food diary we eat crap that week/month.
The tea sounds good I will have to see if I can find some in the UK

SarahDragon said...

Oh, man do I know what you mean! Every time I have to fill out a meal chart to renew my WIC, it's one of those no-time-to-fix-anything-healthy weeks... I usually end up listing what we had the previous week, because it inevitably makes me look better!

breakfast: plain eggo waffles or half-wheat buttermilk pancakes made from scratch with smart balance butter, no syrup?

lunch: great value mac-n-cheese or greek-style turkey pitas with fresh veggies and fruit for dessert?

supper: cheapest frozen pepperoni pizza on sale and ice cream for dessert or Italian-style wild caught mussels with fresh multi-grain baguette bread and caesar salad?

The way I see it, nobody can be a gourmet cook and a mom all at once, all the time!

kimikki said...

First, where do you find "Sweet Coconut Chai Tea"? It sounds wonderful!
Then...a friend of mine told me one day of a question her son was asked at school. Normally, this friend would get up in the mornings with her son, make him a decent breakfast, check to be sure his homework was done (and done right), see that he had clean clothes for school (he was in the third or fourth grade at this time). This specific morning, however, she wasn't feeling well or something, and slept in, allowing her son to get himself ready for school. When he got to school the teacher greeted him and asked how he was; the teacher would often ask students this, she was just that sort of teacher. Jason responded with "Okay". The teacher then asked what he had for breakfast. Jason's response was "chocolate cake and pop". What??? Jason's mom got a phone call from the teacher.
Another friend has a son, Josh. Josh has cystic fibrosis. Part of his therapy is to lay across his mom's lap, on his stomach, and for her to cup her hands and lightly hit his back to work the gunk loose in his lungs, so he is able to expel it. His teacher asked something one day, and Josh's response was "My mom hits me sometimes". The mom had CPS at her door within the day. Thankfully, she was able to explain what was happening.
Is there such a thing as "too honest"?

Chris P -MN said...

My son had the same assignment - I think the most nutricious thing he had to eat that week was Cap'n Crunch with chocolate milk (WHAT?? We were out of white worked better than Kool-Aid!) & maybe a grilled cheese sandwich!

And heck, for my money, if you could stop at one cookie you're doin' great!

Thanks for the daily laugh!

Anonymous said...

Diet sabotage - Girl Scout Cookies!

Kelli Galban, Houston, TX said...

I have just recently started reading your blog. A girl at my firm where I work told me about it. You remind me of my friend Carri. We are both mothers of 3, living in Houston, TX. We can SOOOO relate to your blog. Carri has a great blog too. If you ever want to get a good laugh, check it out

Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

I had to do that in 7th grade - at the exact same time Mom had me on an elimination diet for my allergies. 5 days of rice cakes and fake cheese...

suchsimplepleasures said... i feel much better about the fact that i gave my 4 year old some cookies, a pop tart and some honeycombs for breakfast...cookies for a snack...bagel cream cheese and cookies (i made a batch of cookies...trying to have my kids eat them so i don't!)for lunch...and now, i'm for dinner. i'm so glad i'm not alone in clogging childrens arteries!!

Kathi S. said...

There are veggies, dairy, protein and grains in that Double Cheeseburger. Tomatoes and onions. Beef is protein. Milk helped make the bun with the flour. Cheese is dairy too. So ou have 4 out of 5 food groups.

What is the fifth group?

CLLady said...

I run an Elementary School Computer Lab. There are about 55 staff members in my building. I PROMISE you that if you go peek into the desk or closet of ANY teachers you're going to find a fabulous stash of chocolates and salty goodies. We only fantasize about a bottle of vodka to get us through exceptionally long afternoons. When the little darlings make us buggy, we're all about comfort via empty calories! Don't let those nutrition lessons fool you! We don't practice what we preach! *lol*

Jen said...

Hmmm...I had to do an assignment like this for a child nutrition class in college. I had the unfortunate luck of living with 4 single guys at the time. Yeah, I definately didn't ace THAT assignment.

Anonymous said...

I almost fell on the floor when I read that she ate "a handfull of cheese-its"....that's what my son had this morning, when I realized we were out of cereal, eggs, eggos, AND bread, and I had no time to whip something else up with what ingredients I did have.

Also, last spring (unfortunately the Monday right after Easter) my son's teacher picked THAT day to discuss healthy meals with the class. My son proudly spoke up and said that he ate Reece's Cups for breakfast (hey, they've got protein somewhere in there in that peanut butter mixture!). That was the only time (well, the only time that year) that he had such a breakfast. What can I say...its an Easter tradition. Gotta do something with all that candy!

nutralady2001 said...

My now nearly 22 year old daughter would refuse to eat breakfast when she was little. So I dreaded the day the teacher would have a healthy food/breakfast is the most important meal of the day lesson. Can just imagine her getting to DD....."And what did you have for breakfast"........."Nothing!"

Occasionally she would eat something but not something "healthy" oh no, it would be a donut/a couple of bicuits/ a piece of cake. I was so pathetically grateful that she wanted to eat SOMETHING that I would let her have it

Then I didn't know what was worse for an answer to what you had for breakfast...."Nothing" or "A piece of cake"

Bless her she is off on a great adventure this year o/s for 6 months including 3 months in North Carolina (from Australia) working in a Summer Camp for nearly 3 months.....and she now eats breakfast!

mommeeof9 said...

Breakfast is whatever they can grab as I chase them to the van to drive them to school. My 8 and 10 yr old always miss the bus. Usually we have frozen waffles or cereal. The 18 mo old will eat the waffles still in their frozen state, the older ones want them warmish, with syrup.

Eating healthy will not make you live longer, it will just seem longer. My family doesn't have the healthiest diet. Both maternal grandparents lived to their early 90's, as did my paternal grandmother.

Wholefamdamly said...

Try hot cocoa! (I drink the sugar free kind).....I just found out that I have insulin resistance. The sugar Free stuff has taken a little bit to get use to....But it has sure helped me curb that late nite ice cream attack!

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