Saturday, October 4, 2008

Filling Hungry Teenage Boys & Wannabes with Food and Teaching Moments

The never-ending battle is always hard-fought. You struggle down the grocery aisle with carts filled beyond intended capacity. You scrimp, you budget. You cook, you bake. Yet, they still come in at all hours of the day (and into the night) with the same boring question that always begs a new and exciting answer. “I’m hungry…what’s there to eat.” And just who are these people? Yes, they are the bottomless pits with hollow legs—TEENAGE BOYS!!

Even though they can drive you crazy with their continual requests, there is much to be said about opportunities for teaching when it comes to food.

For instance, have you noticed how the very foods that keep you full for the longest periods of time tend to be the same foods that are nutritious? Teach them this concept!

One fun way to teach is through stories.

My mother used to (actually still does) like to tell a story about when she first came to America. {A little background is in order here. Mom has lived here in America for decades, but is originally from Sweden. Swedes eat good hearty breads. They enjoy loaves of rye and solid, dark loaves of round wheat breads. They like the stuff you can really sink your teeth into and savor.} Mother went to the American grocery store looking for a loaf of bread. She looked left and right at dozens of loaves. Finally she picked one up, surprised at the lightness of the package.

She stared at the uniformly sliced, very pale, white slices. Thinking there must be some mistake, she put one hand at the opening of the package of bread and one hand at the other end. Then she squeezed it like an accordian. To her amazement, the entire loaf became one paltry slice. In horror, she recoiled, and as she did, the bread seemed to spring back into shape of its own free will. She couldn’t believe such an object was meant for eating.

This was the beginning of how my Mom taught me to love good whole grains. Mom has a flair for telling wonderful tales that I am sure are only slightly exaggerated. ;)

Now I teach my own kids. Whole grains are best. They stick to your ribs much better than the white stuff.

That just reminded me of another Mom story. I bet you weren’t aware of this, so I’ll let you thank me later. It is a proven fact that doughnuts do not digest well. Mom told us of an article she had read in which scientists were cutting open a human cadaver. Inside the man’s stomach the remains of undigested, seven-year-old doughnuts were found! This gave no doubt to my mind what the man’s cause of death had been. I still don’t eat doughnuts to this day…

There you have it. Whole grains + no doughnuts = healthy life. Of course there’s a whole lot more to it, but goodness, think of all the fun you can have as you teach your children to love healthy eating.
Also with food, you can teach them to use good manners. Use your fork. Say please. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Keep your legs under the table.
Keep your elbows off the table.

What do you feed them to fill them up physically while you try to fill them up mentally? Here’s a couple of favorites:

Bill Jerone Burritos (Named after I mistakenly thought that is what my father-in-law said when he actually said, “Build Your Own”)

Place all or most of these ingredients buffet style on the table or counter.

Very large tortillas (and some small ones for the Wannabes)
Hot Cooked rice (I like brown—it is more filling!)
Hot Beans (kidney, chili, black, whatever) seasoned as you like.
Hot Ground beef, or shredded chicken
Chopped tomatoes
Onions (chopped)
Grated cheese
Chopped cilantro
Anything else you have in the fridge that looks good
Sour cream or plain homemade yogurt
Salsa (homemade is best, or use store bought with fresh tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice & onions thrown in.)

Each eater grabs a plate and fills their tortilla with desired ingredients.

Feather-light Wholegrain Wheat Waffles

Beat until stiff and set aside:
3 egg whites (save yolks)

Mix together:
1 ½ cups wheat flour (can use ½ wheat, ½ white if you want)
1 Tbs baking powder
½ tsp salt

Mix together and then add to the dry ingredients:
1 ½ cups milk
2 Tbs oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 egg yellows

Fold in the egg whites gently. Pour into waffle maker a scoop at a time. Yum! I usually at least triple the batch and then freeze the leftovers on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. When they are frozen, I put them in a zippy bag in the freezer to use for later breakfasts.

Here’s something I do for tiny Wannabes. First, I start with a raw fruit or vegetable like celery.

I wash them and cut them into small pieces. Then I put them in a small pot to boil, like these carrots.

When the fruit or veggie is nice and soft tender, I remove it from the pot and put it in a sealable container and put it in the fridge so that it is ready when baby is. Those are apples in the picture below. To keep things simple, I cooked these items one right after the other. When I was done I had several small meals ready for my little person to eat without a lot of trouble for me to fix when he is ready to eat.

Hopefully, like my Mom taught me, I am teaching by hungry boys (and girls) good, healthy ways to eat and I am doing it with fun and humor. What are some of your favorite, most filling and simple things to fix? Share, share! Also check out this unprocessed recipe blog for more good recipes.


Christensenmom said...

I always wondered who Bill Jerone was, lol!

CompleteLee Blogger said...

One of my email subscribers recommended the Cheapskate Newsletter. They provide recipes for ways to stretch food farther, such as with the recipe below.(

Shepherd's Pie

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion chopped, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup beef broth

Preheat oven to 375 F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with ¼ cup shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serves: 6.

Hint: Save time by cooking the potatoes and carrots at the same time.

Grammy said...

Do you know why donuts do not digest?
That is scary. I love them. You post was very good.

Barbara said...

Cute kids!
The burritos sound so good!