I need to menu plan regularly, get myself to the grocery store more often

This is a column about food. Again. Kind of a “Same song, second verse,” sort of deal, but with how many times I’ve written to you all about food it’s probably more like the 15th verse. And yet, here we are, because this is what’s rolling around in my brain.

My husband prefers meat and potatoes for dinner, my G will eat almost anything, my Little Missy gets a panicked face when I prepare anything other than chicken strips (which I only prepare about once a month, so that face pops up A LOT), my Baby Chickadee used to eat almost anything and is now copying the cues of her older sister and becoming über-picky, I don’t like to be in the kitchen for more than 30 or 45 minutes.

Quite the predicament I’ve worked myself into, eh?

As I thought about this column I thought about how it’s easy to fix someone else’s problems because you stand objectively out of the fray and the answer to their troubles is obvious. So, standing outside of myself and viewing this whole thing objectively, I need to menu plan regularly, get myself to the grocery store more often and be willing to prepare a meal that takes longer than 30 minutes. But none of that is any fun.

To add to all of this, I’ve been on a tear to clean out our house. I am being ruthless, you guys. Toys are being thrown away and donated, perfectly good but not often worn clothes are getting pulled from closets, stuff is getting moved to a storage unit as we decide whether we really want to keep it (“You know, we should just torch this stuff,” -Hubby). And so, at the end of the day, after the everyday stuff of being with the kids, the normal housework, being outside in this amazing weather, watering a newly-planted lawn, cleaning out closets and storage, I am loathe to look at my kitchen and think about dirtying it only to see sad faces over what I’ve cooked.

So I haven’t been. I--the one who stands in the grocery store and reads labels to make sure enriched wheat flour, soybean oil and/or sugar is not one of the first five ingredients in whatever I’m purchasing--have been pulling money from other areas of our budget to eat out more than usual, to purchase ready-made food filled with all the bad ingredients so that we can sit around the table and enjoy our food because we are all eating exactly what we want.

But it’s gone too far. And I knew it had gone too far when Thursday afternoon I opened the freezer to grab some grilled chicken for my lunch when I spied the green beans and they looked good.

Because you see, I don’t like vegetables. I eat them at dinner because I want good digestion and because I want my kids to eat them, I throw spinach in my smoothies because I can’t taste it, but I am not the person to happily eat a vegetable on a whim. But that day, yes. I made myself two servings, covered them in butter, and ate those babies.

And if my body craved green beans, of all things, what must my sweet growing babies be craving?

So, this weekend, in between and maybe in lieu of all the fun stuff, I will drag my sorry self to the grocery store, buy all the good food, and then come home and dirty my kitchen so that my family can start eating healthy again. And I will try to be happy about it.


Erin Fox is a busy wife and mother of three. She is a weekly columnist for the Times- Gazette.