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What's For Dinner?

People who love to eat are always the best people.- Julia Child

Ever feel like a short order cook at the ready with your pad and pen, “what’ll ya have?” Pleasing all the picky eaters is no easy feat. Never has been, never will be. This battle has been going on for eons it seems. At least in some households.

My mom wasn’t the sort to cater to the whims of her kids when it came to dinner. As one of seven kids she came from the school of “this is what’s for dinner- like it or not.” And whether you liked it or not, you ate it. Which wasn’t so much a problem for me. I never had to sit at the table til 11 pm staring at mushy peas. Nope. I ate pretty much anything (including the peas that my dad picked out of the tuna noodle casserole.)

My mom did all the cooking in our house. Since she grew up in the Midwest we ate the typical American diet of meat and potatoes, usually with a couple of varieties of canned vegetables, along with a tall glass of milk to wash it all down. By the time I was around ten my mom went to work full time, but I already knew how to cook, so dinner was ready when she got home. As my brothers and I got older and went to work after school my mom fell into the trap of the convenience foods of the 80’s, which were plentiful! Our house was filled with Stouffer’s, Hungry-Man dinners, Chef Boyardee, Pepsi and Lay’s potato chips on a regular basis. And believe me- we loved it!!

Looking back I can remember many times through the years my mom would say, “I’m in a food rut. What should we have for dinner?” I understood what she meant, but never more than when I became a mom and was in charge of putting meals on the table.

Motherhood caused me to take pause and learn more about nutrition because I wanted to instill healthy eating habits in my kids. I found that I enjoyed learning about the science of food and the connection between food and wellness made sense to me immediately.

Growing up things were a little different for my kids. There was no soda stockpiled in my house like the days of my youth (we had a whole spare refrigerator just for Pepsi!) The sugary cereals of my childhood were also not served up on the regular. Instead, as I was a stay-at-home mom or part-time working mom, I regularly made home-cooked meals consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, or meat-free meals. This is not to say that we didn’t have the occasional Chick-fil-A or pizza, but that I had a lot more time to cook, and there weren’t as many activities to run to when the kids were younger.

It was also during this time that I learned what a food co-op was and that they weren’t just for hippies! I joined a co-op and spent some truly wonderful days sorting, weighing and bagging fruits and vegetables. My share of the weekly co-op bag included fruits and vegetables that I had never heard of before, much less knew what to do with them! Celery root, golden beets and blood oranges were newly discovered treasures that I was only too happy to dig into.

Studying nutrition I learned that we can prevent many of today’s chronic diseases by eating well. I became a Dr. Sears Lean Certified Coach so that I could share the connection between food and wellness with others.