When the boys were little, money was tight. One of the easiest ways to reduce expenses is to really pay attention to your food budget. Beans and eggs are good sources of cheap protein.
Chris and I both like eggs and both of us will eat beans (although they aren’t a favorite). Feeding two young children healthy food can be challenging. But beans and eggs are both good for you. Hard boiled eggs are very easy to make and a quick (and portable) snack. Beans can be soaked overnight and cooked and added to pasta or rice and can make a complete protein. But none of this works if the kids won’t eat them.
David and Michael would not eat beans. It was not happening. I insisted that they try them over and over again. The result was the same – they wouldn’t eat them. I tried all sorts of beans: black beans, great northern beans, split peas, lentils, garbanzo, kidney, refried beans. They would not eat them. I tried pureeing them and mixing them in things. That worked for a bit, but the kids were usually underfoot and I couldn’t prepare the beans and disguise them without the boys finding out. So I gave up.
This October, I had a craving for Chili. I’ve infrequently made Chili over the last 13 years because only Chris and I would eat it. This meant that I had to make something else for the boys and it just wasn’t worth it. But, since the boys are older and can make themselves a sandwich if they don’t like what I’ve cooked, I decided I was going to make Chili. The boys like things spicy, so I bought spicy beans. They like meat. I used 2 lbs. of ground beef, 2 cans of beans and 3-4 large cans of tomato sauce. I added onions (something the boys like) and chilies. I made cornbread muffins to go with the Chili. I also had cooked macaroni and cheddar cheese for the Chili.
Both boys made faces when I told them that we were having Chili for dinner. I told them that they had to try it. Chris told them that it was good. And sure enough, both of them liked it. I didn’t make it spicy enough, both boys and Chris added hot sauce, but everyone had 2 servings.
The next time I made it, I worked on making it spicier and adjusting the beans and meat. I went down to 1-1/2 lbs. of ground beef and 3 cans of beans. I mixed in the frozen leftovers from the previous batch. I cooked it in the crockpot. I also made cornbread in the crockpot, which turned out great! And sure enough, I have another meal that everyone in my family will eat. It is also an easy one to cook.
Eggs have been very similar in our house. The boys would eat scrambled eggs with cheese and eggs in things (think baked goods). Hard Boiled – no. Over-easy – no. Egg salad – nope. Only scrambled with cheese. Breakfast burritos were also out.
Last week, we went to IHOP for dinner. Breakfast for dinner in our house is a happy event. Everyone eats pancakes and waffles and I make a mean overnight French Toast Casserole. Bacon and sausage are inhaled. And like I said, everyone will eat scrambled eggs with cheese. Hash browns are a newer addition, but welcome as the boys are eating more and more and hash browns fill you up. Anyway, Chris ordered his eggs over-easy with his dinner. The boys looked at them.
Chris “borrowed” a piece of toast from Michael (how can you have eggs over-easy and no toast). Then Chris sopped up the yolk. Eggs became a topic of conversation. I told the boys that my favorite way to have eggs was “sunny side up.” They laughed at me and told me that no one calls it that.
The day after Christmas I decided I was going to make myself some eggs. It was almost noon and I hadn’t eaten anything yet. I’d also been having a taste for eggs over-easy with toast. I took a chance and asked the boys if they would like to try some. David said he would have half of one. I told him that it was impossible to have half. Michael said he’d try it. Michael was a riot eating his single egg over-easy with toast. First, he couldn’t figure out how to break the yolk. Then he couldn’t figure out how to “cut” the egg white. He also made the funniest faces. But he ate it and I think that he will try them another time. David wasn’t enthused about it. He said he would like a second piece of toast. He did eat all of it, though. And hopefully he’ll give them another try.
It may take kids 12 times or more to try a new food and like it. It took a very long time for the boys to even agree to try baked potatoes. They loved mashed potatoes and I knew that they would love baked potatoes as well. But I couldn’t get them to taste them. Finally, they’ve decided that baked potatoes are good and will often eat 2 when I make them (did you know you can make these in the crockpot?). Shrimp was another food that they wouldn’t try, but now love. Michael tried sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving and really liked them (anything that has a ton of marshmallows on it is good). David, still didn’t care for them.
I have no idea what it is with my kids – neither one of them was picky as a toddler, they ate everything. But, I guess if I don’t give up, even now when they are entering their teens, they will find new foods that they will like. I just wish that they’d try them without a fight and trust me that they will like them. But of course, there are very few foods that I dislike.