Aly's Angle: I am not a foodie.

I am not a foodie. I am too lazy to be a foodie. Most of the time I eat because I have to keep enough calories in my body to function. Before Cooper was born, I rarely sat down to actually eat meals. I don’t know how I landed into such a bad habit as an adult. As a child, we always had family dinners. Maybe sitting down to eat felt like a waste of time, so I’d simply eat-on-the run while driving and working. And who likes to sit down alone at a table and just eat?

Since Cooper started eating solids, I have been reminded that eating is an activity that requires you to sit down. I actually enjoy sitting with her, TV off, and eating together.  Her pediatrician, Dr. Kovzak, recommended I do baby-led weaning with Cooper. Prior to that 6-month visit, I had never heard of such a thing. I bought a book and listened to my doctor’s  guidance.  Starting at 6 months, we sat down to eat as a family and essentially fed Cooper what we were eating (with common sense modifications). No fruit purees, only healthy whole foods.

Shortly after, we started feeding her whole strawberries, avocados, whole grain bread, cheese, chicken, etc. She loved it. We laughed seeing food all over her face as she double-fisted handfuls of healthy food into her body. She loved it until around eleven months when a double-ear infection and a 3-week-long cold hit her hard. She lost all interest in food. In desperation, I gave her anything she wanted. As it turns out, she LOVES Pirate’s Booty. It began as a cheddar-cheese-puffed-snack meal starter, but it turned into the only thing she would eat. Putting healthy foods on her tray was a futile effort because she’d quickly fling them onto the floor or into Tucker’s waiting mouth.

So a couple weeks ago, I stopped buying Pirate’s Booty completely. The doctor at her 1-year appointment gave me this advice:  Give her dinner, but if she starts throwing it to the ground, simply say, “Cooper, this is what we are having for dinner. If you do not want it, I will put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready.” Then when she appears to be hungry again, bring it out.

Things are much better. She is eating broccoli dipped in hummus, soybeans, cottage cheese, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, and warm oatmeal with bananas.

The most challenging part of this “feeding my family journey” is figuring out a time to cook. In addition to being a working mom running Be Better Movement, I also coach high school girls’ lacrosse. By the time I return home from practice, cooking dinner is out the window. That is why this week’s #bebetter52 challenge to cook protein pancakes is totally doable, mostly because I can fix them in the morning.

And guess what? Cooper LOVES them.

The first protein pancake I tried on Monday was ½ cup of raw oats with 1 egg white and 1 whole egg. My raw oat concoction included raw oats, hemp seed and flax seed mix, both from Trader Joe’s. (Any left-over oats must be refrigerated afterwards because of the hemp seed.) I cooked them like pancakes and topped them with peanut butter and raw maple syrup. So yummy.

My second protein pancake was a little more, let’s say, creative. I smashed one banana and put in 2 Tablespoons of my oat concoction,  2 tablespoons of cottage cheese, 1 whole egg, 1 egg white and a capful of vanilla.  I then topped it off with some cinnamon. I would love for you to guess how it turned out?

It looked horrible. It wouldn’t cook into a formed pancake. I learned banana burns really fast. However, it was absolutely delicious. Cooper gobbled up 2 ½ mushy protein pancakes and wanted more.

I am grateful for this week’s challenge because it motivated me to be a good example to Cooper about how to slow down, eat healthy and actually taste and appreciate your food. I hope to start most mornings with different variations of protein pancakes because they are easy, delicious and packed with nutrition.