For about two months, I was (mostly) able to eliminate morning snacks, because I thought the kids were beyond needing it. However, about two weeks ago, after hearing cries of hunger for about an hour ever morning, we reverted to our former pattern. Sigh...I had just begun to feel that I wasn't quite a prisoner in my kitchen when, suddenly, we were back to doing morning (as well as the usual afternoon) snack.
I plan all meals and snacks on a monthly basis and we're pretty good at sticking to what I've planned. This has been a huge help to me because otherwise I'm stuck at least five times/day thinking about what to feed the kids!
One day last week, I wrote down what the kids ate throughout the day and how much time we spent sitting at the table...just to see if I'm right that we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
The consumption noted here is pretty typical:
* Whole wheat French Toast with cream cheese, jam and syrup. 1-2 large pieces per kid.
* Milk to drink.
* One apple per kid (Lizzie didn't quite finish hers).
Note: if eggs had been on the menu for this day, Lizzie would have consumed 3-4, in addition to whatever else she ate. She loves eggs, in any form! Sometimes she likes to pretend, in the morning, that she has a menu plan: She pulls out a paper, scribbles some gobbly-goop on it, magnetizes it to the fridge, and then pretends to read it; every single time, she tells me that the menu plan says we need to eat eggs for breakfast...and often sausage to go along with the eggs (sausage being her next favourite food)!
10:00-10:40am: Morning Snack
* Oranges (6 oranges for 3 kids). I sat at the table with knife and cutting board, and kept peeling and cutting oranges until I got tired of it and told them they'd had enough! Of note, we went through an entire large box of oranges in just over 3 days last week.
* Roasted, spiced chick peas: 1-2 handfuls for each kid.
* Dried Mango: 5-6 strips each (they'd have eaten more if I'd let them!).
* A small bowl of popcorn for each kid.
* Water to drink.
12:30 - 1:20pm: Lunch
* Whole wheat pasta with a cheesy milk-and-flour sauce; bits of sausage and grape tomatoes cut up into the pasta. Each kid ate a hearty bowl full, and Lizzie and Seth each ate another half bowl.
* Cucumbers and mini carrots: they each ate 2 carrots, and between the three of them, they consumed a whole, long English cucumber.
* Smoothies to drink: 3 frozen bananas; 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds; 1 cup pomegranate juice; 2 cups frozen blueberries; 1 - 1.5 cups vanilla yogurt; enough water to make it smooth. Each kid drank 2 glasses (1+ cup per glass) of this...with straws!
* Homemade, fresh cinnamon/sugar pretzels (each kid ate one large one - the size of an adult hand...including fingers)
* Bananas: 1 per child.
* A piece of chocolate from their Valentine's Day 'collection.'
* Milk to drink.
* Slow cooker Chicken Cassoulet (with chicken, tomatoes, onions, celery, tons of kidney and black beans, etc). Each kid ate about 1.5 bowls full.
* 1-2 pieces of bread per child.
* Caesar salad - both younger kids ate as much as I would give them (2-3 cups); Matthew ate about 1/2 cup.
* Milk to drink.
* Cut-up fruit for dessert (for the five of us, I included: lots of grapes, 3 oranges, 2 bananas, 2 apples, 2 kiwi). This was demolished.
* 1 container of yogurt per kid.
* 2 cookies.
Maybe this is normal, I really don't know. I'd love to hear whether you think this is normal. Maybe I'm just still adjusting to having two more kids around the table...kids who spent the first 5 and 3 years of their lives with virtually nothing to eat. But whatever it is, we spend a lot of time sitting around the kitchen table! (When I added up the number of hours we spent around the table that day, it totalled 4 hours!) Though, to be honest, part of the reason we spend a lot of time in the kitchen is because all three of my kids are slow eaters. Matthew has always been extremely slow in consuming his food, and I knew we received the perfect Ethiopian-born kids for our family when, at our very first meal together in Ethiopia, I couldn't help but notice that the two younger kids ate extremely slowly as well! I guess they're all three a match made in heaven!
So if you come to visit us, chances are that you'll find me in the kitchen, either preparing food, serving it, or cleaning it up. In fact, given how much time we spend there, your odds of arriving just in time to join us at the table for something to eat are pretty good! You would be welcome!