Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy meal

The moment I saw the recipe for BBQ Cheddar Chickpea Burgers on How Sweet It Is I knew I had to make them.

I'm not sure why - the only veggie burgers I've eaten have come from a box with the name Boca or Morningstar on it. I'll blame the combination of barbecue and cheddar, which are two things that never fail me. And Jessica's recipes. Her Cookie Dough Dip changed my life (and my ass).

I scheduled the burgers into my menu as quickly as I could, offering Mark a beef alternative. I was glad I did, too - I loved the burgers. Well, burger. I could only eat one and so I froze the rest for a future dinner or crumbled up and tossed in a wrap with broccoli slaw for lunch.

Just one problem: I forgot about them. I never crumbled them up for lunch and Mark hasn't had a meaty burger since. They might have been relegated to the depths of the deep freeze had I not made pizza for dinner on Tuesday.

"What the hell does pizza have to do with burgers?" you ask.  Nothing, really, except pizza is hard for babies to eat. Veggie burgers ... not so difficult.

I thawed out the burger - which was made with chickpeas, broccoli and cheese - warmed it up in a skillet and crumbled it for Miles, who ate it like a boss. Like a BOSS. With the addition of some cut up fresh mozzarella that I saved from the pizza, it was like he had his own little Happy Meal. Without the fries - and preservatives.

Now that Miles is eating 90 percent of what we do at a meal (and tries to eat the other 10 percent), I am really beginning to think more and more about what we, as a family, put in our bodies. I've always tried to provide a healthful, balanced meal but I'll admit that we ate (portioned) frozen french fries and processed light bread. I bought sauces that were on sale but don't always have the greatest ingredient list, and my "diet" foods are full of artificial chemicals.

You don't see those things on the menu chart from the doctor. And, to be honest, the chart is a very commercial guideline (featuring overly processed baby foods, including jarred meats - ick!) that offers little to no advice on what to feed your baby if you are doing baby led weaning, choosing a vegetarian lifestyle or are just finding a way to eat with two hands (only one of those we're doing). I've asked our doctor about what to feed him but the gist of the conversation was "common sense" and "you're doing a good job." There was no ideal menu or choice.

Of course, in my ideal world, Mark and I would introduce Miles to meals made with "whole" foods that are labeled organic and purchased at the fancy schmancy Fresh Market in town. While I'm dreaming, I'd also like it if we made more money, had no student debt and won the lottery.

I guess I'll have to settle on on making sure we always have a lean meat, colorful vegetable and healthy carb. I can also make more of my own food, such as breads, sauces and snacks, so that I know exactly what I'm giving him. And us.

 What are your tips for bringing up baby healthy?


  1. I have no baby advice -but God knows you're doing a fantastic job with the lil' man!

  2. I think you are on a great path to teaching your baby healthy lifestyle habits.

    My daughter is now going on 13 but when she was little I knew very little about nutrition. I did my best to feed her what I thought was good but I am ashamed to say that living on a single income and going through a troubled marriage lead me to feed her a lot of fast food and processed food. That not only lead me to become overweight (245lbs) but created a not so healthy diet for her.

    We have since became vegan and try to eat whole foods that support our new healthier lifestyle but it can be challenging at times. Not only to stay within our still single mom budget but satisfy her "preteen" picky palette.

    I am grateful now though that she has fully embraced our new way of eating and that I have given her one of the best gifts in life....good health.

  3. IT sounds to me like you are doing awesome! A lot of my eating habits have changed since I had Hanna, and one thing I've noticed is that she wants EVERYTHING I'm eating. That has really made me re-evaluate what I put in my mouth, and has been pretty good for the hub's and I. I found that when Larabars are on sale I buy a ton because Hanna loves them, plus we don't really eat meat and they have some good protein and healthy fats. I also share smoothies with her (yes they are green, and I know you don't drink those). Other things are Van's frozen waffles with real maple syrup, and of course fruit. She eats a shi* ton of fruit (which is probably why she shi*s tons hehe). I find that it really isn't that expensive to eat healthy foods, it just takes more planning so you're not wasting your money.
    Also, I have made it a point to let her try lots of foods, even if they are not my favorite. like tomato's. I'm not a huge fan, but she loves them, to each their own!

  4. Simple rule we try to follow, for us and our kids (3 and 5): Veggies on half the plate. Something with protein on at least 1/4 of the plate. Since we're low carb and gluten free these days (husband and older child, respectively), this basically translates to outrageous amounts of cauliflower, broccoli, greens, peas, salad, whatever... and then eggs, lentils, fish, or meat, usually cooked very simply. Sometimes soup or stew, but our kids won't eat it, and they get a variation on the above.

    The kids don't always eat the same veggies as us but always have some raw cauliflower or a red pepper or frozen peas. And they snack almost exclusively on veggies, fresh fruit and dried fruit.

    One thing that has made their snacking habits (and ours) much better: Don't keep anything in the house you're not willing to let them (and you) eat every day. Just don't even bring it into the house. It sounds simple, but it gets rid a TON of bad stuff -- cookies, sweets, crackers that don't have any nutritional value, etc.

  5. Of course, you don't need a Whole Foods (or Fresh Market) to eat whole foods. Every grocery store and farmer's market sells them, right there in the produce section, the bulk section, the dairy case and the meat counter.

    1. Yes! I've been shopping Aldi lately, and I'm surprised at some of the things I found - Fage, local-ish produce, etc. And we live in a more ethnically diverse area, so the bulk bins at Kroger are full of fun things!

  6. We haven't had to tackle "real food" with Leo yet - since he still has no teeth and so far is perfectly content to let us feed him! But soon, I know! Sounds like you have the right idea by giving him pieces or modified parts of what you're eating! The other great thing is kids don't seem to mind eating the same stuff on repeat, so you could give him another burger tonight and he'd probably be thrilled!

  7. I don't have a baby, so I can't answer your question, but yours is sure cute! I'm a vegetarian, and those chickpea burgers sound delicious!

  8. I'm going to have to try those burgers! With Ella, we try to not give her anything we cannot pronounce. If it can't be found in the fresh sections of the store, it's not for her. Those processed meat sticks totally freak me out. So gross!