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Okay, so here’s the deal. When we have our kids, we eat completely differently than when it is just the two of us. I don’t know if this happens with other families or if it is just us, but it is strange to us that this is the case. So here is the low down.
When Children ARE Around
When the children are around, we stick to more of a schedule. A lot of this has to do with school and making sure that they get fed before we take them to school. Breakfast is a very important part of the day, for everybody. But it is very necessary for children and their growing brains. We, as parents, sometimes get so busy with them that we forget to eat (Ahem, Bryan!). Or we don’t have the time to make a full breakfast (Ahem, Me!), so we throw whatever we can find in less than 2 minutes on a plate while the coffee is brewing.
When it comes to lunch, the kids are at school, so it is not really their fault that we don’t eat a whole lot then. Since Bryan is a Pastry Chef and at a restaurant, you can only guess how much eating happens in the back of the kitchen during a lunch rush.
As for me, my schedule is all over the place. But once I get back in front of the computer after dropping the last kid off at school, I am basically glued there for the next 5 hours. I do forget to eat a lot of times until my stomach forces me to get up and throw something in it. That usually consists of some chips and hummus (because I can eat it while working) or an apple. Something quick and easy but not necessarily enough to fill me up until dinner.
Once we get all of the children from school, it is time for homework and figuring out dinner. They expect a full meal for dinner. We have tried the grazing thing a few times before and there is always complaining. I don’t know if this is because they are used to having a full meal, or if they just don’t feel as full if we are grazing as opposed to sitting down for a meal. Therefore, we have to come up with something that the majority of them won’t complain about.
I don’t know about you, but coming up with something that 5 children can agree upon is basically impossible. And we are creative and cook regularly! So we do the best we can do, and tell the complainers for the evening that they can leave the table but they will get nothing else. The whole thing is more dramatic than either of us prefer and just wish that they would be happy with all of the great food and options that we give them. Yeah, I know, wishful thinking and probably every parents dream.
When Children Are NOT Around
Now, when it is just the two of us, we eat a completely different way. Take the featured picture for example. This was my breakfast this past weekend while writing on Saturday. This is the type of breakfast that we eat on the weekends when the kids aren’t around. We don’t mind making an omelette out of leftover beans and rice. In fact, it was rather delicious!
Making a breakfast like this didn’t actually take me very long. It took as long as it took to heat up the water for my french press and then steep the coffee. By the time the coffee was ready, so was the breakfast. BUT, nobody was around to harass me or bug me about somebody hitting somebody else, or looking at them wrong.
You see, Bryan and I act like adults (most of the time, at least) and can make meals out of whatever we have lying around and are thrilled with the results. When children are not around cooking isn’t such a dramatic event. It’s amazing how that happens!
I can tell you that lunches are pretty much the same though, unless we skip them all together. We just get too busy with house stuff or working (since we both work on Saturday’s also). But dinner is a completely different event than when children are around.
For dinner, when children are not around, we either go out to eat or graze at home. We don’t go out to eat too often, because of the cost. But when we do there is usually a coupon or discount involved. Not only that but we try to make sure that we bring home leftovers so that we can have one or two more meals out of it.
If we are eating at home, we graze. Sometimes that means popcorn and red wine (or beer) or edamame with olive oil and sea salt and sweet potato fries with chipolte aioli. The latter is one of my absolute favorite meals, that isn’t really a meal! I must confess that Bryan gets a bit more creative with his version of grazing, such as this charcuterie board.
And I don’t discriminate because he is a fantastic Chef. I am so lucky!
The Bigger Question
We have asked ourselves this many times now: why do we eat so differently when children are not around? If we had our way, we would eat the same way. But it has been so difficult to figure out how to do that because of the crazy schedules during the week with school and work.
As for dinner, it was mentioned previously that they continually reject our grazing lifestyle. We really wish they would take to it because neither of us wants to make a grand meal for dinner (or have to clean it up, for that matter). But for now, it just seems to be what it is.
On the up side for us, we have joint custody of all 5 kids. This means that we have all 5 kids for one full week and then NO kids for one full week, which really helps our food budget. It is actually a pretty sweet deal. Therefore, we get to eat the way we really like to eat for half of the month. I guess there are worse things to complain about.
How has having children changed how you and your family eat?