“I want something else.”
“I don’t really like that.”
“Would you like to eat something else?”
“Then you aren’t full.”
“We’re not going out to eat AT ALL???”
This is probably something everyone with children has heard (and more!) many times. Our girl is not particularly picky about food. She won’t eat anything hot or even remotely warm. And we’re working on taste testing foods that she isn’t comfortable with yet (peppers, lettuce, tomatoes). We’ve seen success. But we hear an awful lot of the above.
Our solutions up to this point has been to enforce our rules (we eat at meals, adults approve requests, taste test everything). Yeah, that’s about it. That’s not bad but it’s been feeling like a defensive approach. She still protests but knows we aren’t budging. We were reacting and nothing has been changing for a while. I want to take action.
Eating out is nice. Eating sweets is nice. Having variety is a blessing. We’ve lost that view and I’m not sure we’ve ever cultivated that in Kaelyn. What a shock we are all in for.
Because I had an idea.
I’m used to hearing simple food in terms like “3 ingredient recipes” or “made in 10 minutes or less”. Have you heard of the capsule kitchen? It’s like a capsule wardrobe but with food ingredients. You make a list of 33 foods (the accessory foods like spices can be in addition to that list) and live with it for 3 months.
That wasn’t exactly my idea.
It all started with Little Britches by Ralph Moody. The times he wrote about food was for special occasions like Thanksgiving or for large gatherings like when he was working on a cattle ranch with cowboys. He talked about how he loved fudge but that was for special times. Or getting custard pie with his father (this only happened twice in the book).
Then it continued with Anne of Green Gables by L.L. Montgomery. She looks forward to ice cream because that’s not a normal food. Or tea time with Diana when Marilla allows Anne to use special items.
I guess now that I think about it, I read Matched by Ally Condie even before then where the food is delivered to you and you have to eat your own food and not anybody else’s. Cakes, pies, and ice creams are reserved for your last meal, your matching banquet, or another rare occasion.
There are many other examples, to be sure, but this is mine right now. The way we eat now is a fairly recent thing. The way we store and prepare food is new. We use it as entertainment. We eat when bored. We can buy any vegetable or fruit at any time of the year. We have so much abundance and variety and don’t even think about it. (Not to say that this is true for everyone. I know there are many people who have really tight budgets or specialized diets. But let’s let this stand as a grossly generalized statement.) After one too many times of dealing with “ridiculous” meal time antics (my child is mild and I’m so thankful for that!), I’m ready to take action.
Simple food. What does that even mean? This is what it’s going to mean for us. The same foods day in and day out. Ralph and Anne didn’t have much variety. It was commonplace and nothing thrilling. And rarely, treats and eating out. We haven’t picked out what our daily menu will be yet. If you have suggestions, I’m open to them! Our practice won’t look anything like the past. Let’s face it, we live in an apartment, don’t have a lot of storage space, and will be using the fridge and freezer. I want to do some research on what people actually ate daily before we went all “more is more!” in life.
Here are some benefits that I can see out of this:
- Exciting foods can actually be exciting.
- We aren’t stimulating our taste buds constantly so we probably won’t eat “just a little more” because, well, we had it yesterday and will have it again tomorrow.
- Which leads to the health benefits of eating less, losing weight, getting fit, or fueling our bodies.
- I’ll have less decision fatigue.
- Shop in bulk. Shop less.
Actually, I’m really interested in seeing if those benefits will actually be seen. It seems a little hypothetical now as we haven’t actually started yet.
My dear husband pointed out that everything was still made fresh daily. This is, I think, a rather important point and one I am grateful he made. Leftovers can be the pits. Who wants to eat the same thing heated up over and over again for five days? But made fresh daily? Ah, there we can see perhaps a bit of variety (Mexican beef or Asian beef, for example) can be introduced. This also leads to knowing how to make something very very very well.
The largest struggle I can see us having is changing our minds. We’re so used to variety. We’re so used to last minute changes if it suits our mood. We’re so used to eating out or having desserts (not that we do either daily but it’s still a part of our lives). And this is going to challenge that mindset. We have to change what our brain wants. It is as we make those changes that we’ll be delighted over gelato and cinnamon rolls (hmmm, I’ve never had them together but now I want to). We’ll feel the anticipation of Chick Fil A or Café Rio (or a more expensive place). We’ll have more fun exploring new foods.
And hopefully it won’t take too long before Kaelyn stops saying “not this again…”