My Favorite Healthy Recipes

Having children can make it hard to eat healthy meals regularly. Children tend to be picky eaters and finding healthy recipes that they actually like can be a challenge. Thankfully, I do not have picky kids (they even like tofu!) and it’s easier to find things they’ll eat that aren’t Happy Meals from McDonald’s.

Here are some of my favorite kid-approved recipes for healthy family meals:

Easy Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

We love meatloaf in this house. I’ve made so many different kinds, including a barbecue chicken meatloaf (Recipe here: The Clean Eating Couple). Their favorite recipe, no matter how many I’ve tried, is this Easy Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf. They love it and so does the husband. It is juicy, full of flavor, and very filling. My kids like it so much that it has become a regular in our meal planning.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like stuffed peppers. They’re incredibly easy to make and they taste amazing! These peppers are even better. Prepped ahead of time, they can be frozen and pulled out when you’re looking for a meal that won’t result in you spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Simply pull them out of the freezer, put them in the slow cooker, and forget about them for a while! The result is a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner that your family will love!

Chicken Burrito Skillet

My children love Tex-Mex. I mean really love it. Tacos are a fairly frequent request for dinner in our house, but I like to mix it up and not always just make tacos. This Chicken Burrito Skillet is a great alternative. It’s super cheesy (which I love!) and absolutely delicious. I try make a lot of it because my kids always go back for more.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

This is another one that’s loaded with cheese. We love cheese in this house. If you keep prepared bacon on hand like I do, this casserole is even quicker to make. The best thing about it, though, is that it’s very versatile. As far as veggies go, you can use pretty much anything you have on hand. I’ve made it with broccoli, spinach, zucchini, summer squash, and so many other different things. Because it takes very little time to throw together, I make this one regularly. It pairs really well with fresh steamed green beans or riced cauliflower and fills you up quickly.

What are some of your favorite recipes for healthy family meals?

Things My Kids Do (That I Don’t Understand)

Think back to when you were a kid. All of the silly things you did that made sense to you even if they made no sense at all to anyone else..

What came to mind?

For me, it was eating chocolate syrup straight from the bottle. I enjoyed it.

Flash forward a couple of decades and you’ll find me sitting here, fingers massaging my temples, wondering why my children did whatever crazy thing they just did.

In this episode, we visit what happens at the dinner table when parents decide to have dinner on the couch for an evening.

So, the husband and I decided to sit on the couch to have supper while we watched something on TV and talked about our day. The children sat at the dinner table just a few feet away, talking amongst themselves. Suddenly, an argument began.

Jack was doing something questionable to Ava’s food.

My husband and I listened for a moment prior to involving ourselves. Ava was really mad and, in my opinion, with good reason. Messing with someone else’s food is something you just don’t do. Reach your hand towards my plate and you just might pull back with marks from the tines of my fork. Simply put, keep your hands off of other people’s food.

As I stepped in to stop the argument, I started thinking back to when I was their age. My own mother did not sit with us every single time we ate, but we didn’t mess with each other’s food. We ate our food, talked, giggled, and occasionally flung peas at the ceiling, but we didn’t mess with each other’s food. That’s just something you don’t do.

While I say that, I think of all the times one of them has decided they’re full and shoved all of their food off of their own plate onto someone else’s. They know not to just get up and throw it out, so they came up with an alternative.

Honestly, the things my children do amuse me, occasionally infuriate me, and, more often than not, make me reflect on things I did as a child. Sometimes, it is in an effort to compare and contrast between them and myself as a child. Other times, it’s just a matter of reflection and, in some ways, nostalgia.

We all did silly things as children. Now, we have the pleasure of sitting back and watching our children do those things. We get to laugh and wonder where they came up with the idea to do those things.

Being a parent is weird.

Homeschool and Other Adventures

In March, the children went on what would become the longest Spring Break in the history of Spring Break. Expecting them to return to school at the very end of March, when I should have also returned to work from maternity leave, school was, instead, transitioned to Zoom meetings and Google Classroom assignments. I, of course, left work behind to stay with them because daycare costs would have been astronomical.

When the whole thing began, I thought it would be simple. I expected to have my kids sitting at the table each day, quiet and focused on their work. We planned out a schedule that included lunch and time for science experiments and art. In my own naive mind, it would be simple, easy. Flash forward a few weeks and it became clear that it wasn’t anything like I had imagined.

I admire teachers. I applaud them. They should be paid far more than they are, even if just for having to teach my own children. What should have been focused, quiet moments was more like being in the audience at a wrestling match. My children, as wonderful as they are, became exceedingly bored with each other and suddenly every minor offense became a great injustice worthy of a shouting match and the occasional knock-down, drag-out fight.

We were two months in, approaching the close of the school year, and I was already excited for the following school year when they would return to traditional school.

That day still hasn’t come. Towards the middle of May, my son had a seizure. A full-blown, on-the-floor, tonic-clonic seizure. I was cutting his hair when it happened. Never in my life have I ever been so terrified. I thought it was my fault. But then, two days later, he had another one while he was sitting down in the living room. Obviously, this one had nothing to do with me.

Two months and two appointments later, he was diagnosed with Epilepsy and given a host of other appointments and new medications. In addition, his pediatrician and neurologist recommended he participate in distance learning instead of returning to traditional school. Because of the circumstances, I have continued to stay home and decided to do virtual learning with my daughters as well.

Our days are much the same as they were back in April. We have a schedule, but they spend much of the day arguing over simple things. One of them sat where someone else wanted to sit. One of them unplugged the other’s Chromebook overnight, so it isn’t fully charged. The list goes on.

Homeschool isn’t at all what I imagined when I heard others talk about it in the past. It is being a teacher, a principal, a hall monitor, a mediator. It is being all of those things in addition to everything that we already are as parents. And, some days more than others, it’s rough. I commend teachers everywhere for the work they put in shaping our children into productive members of society.

Other Adventures

In adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve looked for things to fill my free time while kids are studying and the baby is asleep.

With the rising cost of food, I decided to take up gardening. It is much too late in the season to grow anything substantial, but I do have some things successfully growing.

In the kitchen, I have celery, which I started from the ends of some celery that I used for dinner. Outside, I have an herb garden. I started it around mid-August, but it is doing really well. It is filled with things like Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Basil, Dill, Chives, and Chamomile.

When I started, I didn’t expect to have so much fun. The result was me falling in love with plants. Since then, I have started a delightful collection of everything from herbs to houseplants. I purchased several plants this week, some of which will arrive tomorrow. Philodendrons of assorted varieties, umbrella trees, Monsteras, Wandering Jews, mums, and spider plants; there are so many coming within the next week.

Homeschool isn’t all bad. I have more time with my children and I have found a deep love for gardening.

Backslide

Over the weekend, Cadence turned eight years old. Family came over to celebrate and we had so much fun. I cannot believe she’s eight years old!

I spent most of the weekend so stressed out. Birthday shopping, juggling four children who each have completely different needs, laundry, keeping the house cleaned, getting things in order for a birthday party, and baking a cake. All of it combined with sleep deprivation just completely overwhelmed me.

Stress is a bitch. It can, however, be a manageable bitch. I just wish I had thought about it that way before I let myself get so completely out of control this weekend.

I am so disappointed in myself, y’all.

I haven’t gotten a workout in since Thursday morning. On top of that, I’ve eaten like crap and I haven’t logged a darn thing in my food journal. Not one single thing. It started on Thursday afternoon. The backslide. I promised Cadence I’d put together her Valentine box for her Valentine’s Day party. Her box took a lot of work, but she was so surprised. It was a unicorn! I was, however, exhausted by the end of the night and decided I would workout on Friday morning instead. That workout never happened.

On Friday morning, while she was at school, her dad texted to let me know he’d be picking her up after school to spend her birthday weekend with her. I knew I had to make sure a weekender was ready for her before she got off the bus, so I went to her room to gather clothes. As I started looking, I noticed that a majority of her clothes were completely missing. The laundry room was devoid of anything waiting to be washed. She hadn’t left anything in the bathroom floor. And Ava, her older sister with whom she shares a bedroom, keeps the room clean, so there was also nothing in the bedroom floor. Where on Earth were all of their clothes?

I started snooping and oh, how I wish I hadn’t. How I wish I hadn’t looked in the closet or under the bed! Y’all, there was so much under the bed and in the closet that it completely took up the middle of their room. And here I thought Ava was keeping things clean. After all, she had been telling me for weeks that they were good on laundry and didn’t need anything washed.

Just looking at that pile of laundry made me want to pack my things and go to a hotel for a few days.

That pile of laundry is where my clean eating and routine workouts went to die. I swear it! So, here we are, going into an already busy weekend and now there’s suddenly a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest staring me right in the face. Sure, Cadence would be leaving most of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean her needs went with her. After all, most of her clothes were in a pile on the bedroom floor and there was a birthday party to prepare for.

On Friday evening, the husband took me out for Valentine’s Day. We had sushi and I ordered a soda because bottled water wasn’t an option and our city water is disgusting. By the end of our meal, I was proud of myself. I didn’t drink even a third of that soda. I took small sips to wash down my meal, but otherwise didn’t drink it. Then we got home and, again, I was tired and decided to put my workout off until the next morning.

That workout never happened either. Washing, drying, folding, tidying up the house. It was a cycle that repeated itself the entire weekend. I ate whatever was easiest to get my hands on. Doritos, Little Debbie snacks, Valentine’s Day candy. And I didn’t workout even once. The only thing I was successful at was drinking water instead of soda. My husband loves Coca-Cola and keeps it in the house at all times. I craved it a few times, but I managed to talk myself out of that craving. I’ve finally gotten past the caffeine headaches and I do NOT want to go back to that, so I inhaled water every time I craved one.

Here I sit, however, and, as of the writing of this post, I still haven’t worked out and I spent the day eating like crap. I also still haven’t written down a single thing that I’ve eaten. Looking back on all of it, I probably don’t want to write it down. I treated my body like a waste bin this weekend. And I am not proud of it. This post is here as the turn-it-around notification to myself. I can do so much better. My body deserves so much better. And I will not reach my goals by allowing stress to trigger a backslide. There are much better methods of navigating stress. A thirty-minute workout, going for a walk, getting in some Yoga.

Backsliding is like falling down. It’s only a failure if you refuse to get try again.