Last year, I made a resolution that we would shoot for “optimum” in our diet…. meaning 7-9 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. And I was successful. Note the *I*. For a couple of weeks there I was able to get my servings of veggies and fruits. About half-way successful with the hubby. Not so with the kids. When I gave them the option, they always chose the meat and carbs, mostly ignoring the array of veggies and fruits on the table. (We still stick to the one-bite-of-each rule, so they did get *something*, just not a full serving.)

This week, I embarked on a self-designed program that I put into the calendar a few months ago, but never really followed, afraid it wouldn’t work. Day 2 was yesterday and it just might work this time. Mostly it requires a mental switch that I had to flip — the “I need to give the kids some meat!” switch.

Here’s how it works:

Our daily menu goes

beef-vegetarian-chicken-vegetarian-fish-vegetarian-pork-vegetarian… and so on. Which means we have beef, chicken, pork or fish only ONCE a week. Which cuts down on red meat intake drastically and not just for us but for the kids. Part of the difficulty before was that I knew hubby and I had to be more careful about our red meat intake, so I tried to limit *our* servings, but the kids always got their fill, *and* hubby’s notorious about eating little ones’ leftovers if any.

Now, on vegetarian days, I’ll serve NO MEAT OR FISH, not even leftovers. This is where I failed before. I would serve leftovers so that the kids would have *some* meat, but they would usually opt for mostly meat and hardly any veggies/fruits, even if it meant minuscule amounts for each of them and leaving the table hungry. Yesterday, they were forced to partake of whatever was on the table, and get their fill from that. So what was on the table?

  • 6-grain rice (from the Japanese grocery — contains several kinds of rice, 2 kinds of barley and 1 rye)
  • fresh blueberries
  • corn
  • green beans
  • edamame
  • glazed carrots, beautifully done by chef-to-be college student
  • broccoli sauteed in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes
  • eggs for those who wanted them
  • bread
  • grapes
  • strawberry-banana-pineapple-orange-green tea smoothie
  • eggplant in garlic sauce
  • Korean-style zucchini
  • apples, peaches, nectarines, bananas
  • a freshly made batch of my “Ultimate Kimchi” featuring napa cabbage, carrots, cucumber, apples, green onions, ginger, and garlic

All of these, except for the rice, were organic and/or local. And I resolved to not worry about whether they had their fill or not, I just made sure the food was there and that they ate *something*. No one complained about being hungry at bedtime, so it must have worked. Two kids asked, “Where’s the meat, Mom?” but I stood firm 🙂 . I’m already excited about tomorrow. It’s chicken/turkey day today (Papa’s adobo, turkey-black bean-chili plus roast chicken for the lunchboxes). Tomorrow I’ve got potatoes, mangoes, watermelon, avocado, and a whole bunch of other things at the ready. And wahoo! By tomorrow the oven will be fixed. That should give us more options.