Perfect Picnic

This isn’t as much about greenness as just, well, living with and feeding kids.

This seems to be the season of way too many parties–this graduation party, that end-of-year lunch, this farewell reception, just event after event, usually packed with really not-so-healthy foods, the kinds you let yourself eat every once in a while but which are not really recommended for daily fare, you know?

Last night was the end-of-year “picnic” (it was 95 degrees or something outside, so it was an indoor picnic, which I appreciated) for our kids’ day care center. It was one of the absolutely best-planned adult-and-kid dinner buffet tables I have ever seen, anywhere.

Okay, the hot dogs, probably not nitrite-free organic sustainable meat. But that was the “main” course…then they had macaroni and cheese (the homemade kind), a platter with big chunks of lots of veggies but heavy on the carrots, cucumbers, and celery, and a fruit bowl loaded with goodies, especially watermelon.

It made me smile. And feel less like a sub-par mom, because this exact dinner, minus the mac and cheese, is what our family goes to with great frequency. We have our hot dogs on whole wheat buns, and we get the uncured kind, but on a lot of these summer evenings dinner is some simple entree plus a plate of cut up veggies and a bowl of cut up fruit. And no one leaves the table hungry. (Except my son. But he’s always hungry, even five seconds after he last swallowed.) Was there ever a more kid-friendly assortment of foods to choose from?

Some mommy-conditioning inside me has me feeling sometimes like I should be Cooking Balanced Meals and all, but my kids don’t like most cooked stuff, and this is probably healthier anyway, so why the guilt? It’s a good meal.

So I think I’m going to go rinse some grapes, cut up a mango, and find a few other things to put on the table this very very hot afternoon when I don’t want to cook…and call the husband to bring home a rotisserie chicken so maybe we can have tacos tonight and really not have to cook…


Posted on June 7, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Maria Bernhardt

    My girlfriends and I get our families together for a potluck almost every weekend. It’s a great way for us to try out new healthy recipes on each other. Most of us have picky eaters, so the kids primarily dine on a huge fruit assortment, a few veggie choices, and some carb and meat side.
    It’s so nice when your social group is like-minded.
    I guess I’ve just taken it for granted since we all sort of evolved to this level of health+green consciousness together.
    And, living in Florida there’s no shortage of fresh fruits and veggies.

  2. Here in Chicago, at non-lots-of-kids gatherings, everything seems to be drenched in creamy dressings and stuff, even fruit salads. It’s depressing.

    One of my other standbys is pasta all’oglio, which is basically pasta in very garlicky olive oil, sometimes with cut up chicken and parmesan on the side. Kids like this a lot, at least mine do…

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