Friday, April 10, 2009

Cooking For Kids

I think LittleGirl does pretty well in the nutrition and eating parts of life. She loves peas, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, onions, garlic, etc. She's not so big on fresh fruit, but will eat dried fruit and unsweetened apple sauce and a lot of cooked fruits (like a mixed berry/cherry crisp). But even so, I get a little bored with the short list of meals that she will eat and we (the grown-ups) can also enjoy.

At our last trip to the library, the book real food for healthy kids by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel was propped up in the new book section. I thought I'd see if I could get some new inspiration. I've tried one recipe so far (a toasted cheese snack with parmesan) that went well with a green veggie soup I'd made for dinner. It was tasty and easy and just different enough that we all enjoyed it.

The introduction to the book talks the good talk about whole grains and lower fat and lots of fruits and veggies. The authors urge the reader to ban white bread and white rice from his or her kitchen, and they provide nutritional information for all the recipes.

The problem is that their recipes don't live up to the hype. Although they suggest 20% of calories should come from fat, many -- if not most -- of their recipes are way above that. In just the first section of breakfast recipes, one recipe gets 69% of calories from fat! Of the first seven recipes in the book, fat represents more than half the calories in four dishes. The remaining three dishes get just over a third of calories from fat.

Now, the authors may assume that you'll be adding lots of fresh fruit or other low-fat, low-cal components to the breakfast table, but they'd have a hard time making up for the main dish.

I don't usually stress about how many calories of this, that, and the other are in the foods I make (probably explaining my current dress size), but when a cookbook is so explicitly selling itself as a source for healthy kids' food, I expect a little better. I may try a couple more recipes, but it's not the go-to book I'd like to find for easy, kid-and-adult-friendly foods.

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