The Big Cheese

Zoe's last illness (I won't go into too many details but let's just say it was a really rotten, protracted digestive affair) brought me face to face with a brutal reality: we live on nothing but cheese. I woke up to this fact when told that Zoe would have to stay away from all dairy for the two weeks (seriously) it has taken for this bug to run its course. This would not be a problem if she had no appetite like normal sick children or ate a reasonable variety of foods like the non-picky children who belong to other parents. I was very aware she loved cheese but I wasn't totally clear on how addicted we all had become.

For a long time, I thought I was taking the advice of "Child of Mine. Feeding Your Child With Love and Good Sense": don't serve separate, special meals to your children, feed them what you eat, serve a variety of healthy foods and don't bargain with them about what they have to eat before they can eat something else (ie. "no more bread until you eat a carrot"). This all made sense to me and I really, truly believed we were following it.


With this ever present nausea (Oh but it's waning! I'm almost too scared to say so but it's waning!), I was "cooking" the easiest, most happily received foods I could think of: mac and cheese, grilled cheese, pasta with cheese, scrambled eggs with melted cheese, cheese and bean quesadillas, frozen lasagna, frozen empanadas, frozen gnocci with cheese, etc. etc. MELTED CHEESE ETC. They appealed to me too and I just didn't have the energy to watch her pout and whine for "diff'rent food, Mommmm-my".

Instead of her eating what we eat (what used to be some steamed spinach and brown rice and salmon or at least some grilled chicken and potatoes), we had come to eat only what she would eat.

I was shocked when she got sick and realized that she (or anyone else in this house except the dog) hadn't had a meal other than breakfast without cheese as a main component in many many months. There was literally NOTHING else in my fridge. Cheese tortellini, tortillas (What can you put on tortillas besides cheese?), yogurt, milk, cheese in every form you can imagine. The first day she was well enough to really eat yet still very sick and unable to eat dairy, I put a rice cake, some hummus, a couple of carrot sticks and a few pretzels on her lunch plate. She looked at me like I had just lost my mind. What was this and where was the CHEESE?

We are making a slow climb back to her normal diet but it was a big wake up call for me. Once I get back to actually cooking, I need to find some new toddler friendly foods that we can all enjoy without relying so heavily on the Big Cheese.

Any ideas??


Anonymous said...

Have you tried the frozen dumplings in the grocery store? Kind of like ravioli, but they have meat/veggie stuffings.

Erin said...

Sorry about the stomach bug! Sounds awful.

We also eat meat raviolis, also veggie burgers, TONS OF FRUIT (I think that makes up 90% of my 3yo's diet), nutra grain bars, campbells big noodle soups, and plain whole wheat noodles (we usually put parmesean on it, but the boys will eat them with just olive oil & a little salt). Good luck!

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Oooh! Thanks for the suggestions!

I've tried frozen potstickers with veggies inside and they were of no interest. But I should check out other dumplings.

I need to try veggie burgers and meat raviolis. Meat and veggies are our hardest sells over here and the only way they often go down is in the form of CHEESE of course!

desperate housewife said...

Oh gosh, we are totally addicted to cheese too. Addy refuses meat in any form, even the dreaded chicken mcnuggets are these days being rejected, so cheese is about the only protein she gets. Both my kids eat cheese cubes at least once a day. And how do I get her to eat veggies? By putting jars of baby carrots into her mac and cheese sauce, of course!
So... No help here, unfortunately.

Misguided Mommy said...

this might be better then my 11 month old who ONLY eats saltine crackers and breast milk. sigh.

also..i'd like some cheese now

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

Have you tried baked tofu? Mira LOVES it. You can get it at Trader Joe's. It has a bit more sodium than I would like but it also has tons of flavor. It is nice to have around when I don't have any other protein source for her.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I need to try the tofu again. She used to eat it, stopped and I gave up on offering it to her, breaking one of the cardinal rules of "Child of Mine": continue offering a variety of healthy food even if they refuse certain things over and over again. You never know when they might be game to try something.

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