Ted Allen: Let’s remind the judges what you had in your baskets:
- Organic strawberry preserves
- Organic peanut butter
- Wheat bread consisting of whole wheat
- Organic raspberries
Chef Mike, please tell us what you prepared for us today.
I’ve been here before. The stakes are high. I can’t get chopped, not today. Nervously, I address the judges.
Me: Thank you for allowing me to be here today. I have prepared what I like to call peanut butter and jelly with a side of raspberries. I hope you enjoy it.
Judge 1: I like what you did here. Simple, yet refined. The strawberry really brings out the roasted flavor of the peanuts. I think you could have used a side of ketchup for me to dip my hand in and eat without anything else. But all in all, this was pretty good and I’ll be sure to get 20% of it in my mouth while I smear the rest on my face and in my hair or feed it to the dogs. Thank you, Chef.
Judge 2: No, I don’t want it.
Those five words echo in my head over and over again as I made the chopping block. Or maybe I just hear those words EVERY SINGLE DAY.
And thus begins the never-ending quest to feed toddlers. It’s a journey that Frodo could only begin to imagine. The options are limited. These are your first kids, so you need to make sure everything is organic, whole-grain, cage-free, grass-fed, and has no GMOs, MSG, enriched flour, preservatives, artificial coloring, or remotely good taste.
Can Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals help you find enough shit in your pantry to make it happen quickly and easily? Don’t bet on it.
I guess we’ll have to go out to the supermarket. Next up is Guy’s Grocery Games. You’ll quickly realize that while Guy Fieri is the man (read this if you haven’t already), his game show is not going to get your kids to Organic Flavortown USA.
Your hopes are wearing thin. You scour the world looking for anything that might fit this mold. You’re grasping at straws hoping Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown or even Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern will lead you to the promised land of being able to feed your kid a healthy and delicious meal. But chances are cobra heart from Vietnam or horse-rib-and-rectum sausage from Kazakhstan are not at the top of your shopping list.
And what about when the stars align and your kid actually enjoys something? Because they will. Well, just know that it’s temporary. If your kid likes it right now, there’s no guarantee he’s going to like it in a week, or a day, or an hour. Enjoy it while it lasts. Because it won’t.
So I’m here to help you. I have some of the pickiest eaters in America. And the trick is you just have to listen and watch, because they will tell you what they like eat. Just imagine your life is a continuous safari and observe. That’s how I have developed this list of nutritious, organic, and even inexpensive foods my kids are willing to eat over the masterful meals we prepare.
- Rocks: Aged for millions and millions of years, these tasty treats are totally natural. The best part about these bite-size delicacies? Completely free! Our girls like to find them in brand new playgrounds and pop them in their mouths like Cheerios. So I guess they’re not really free. Thanks, taxpayers, for feeding our kids!
- Bathwater: Okay, so it’s not quite Evian, but bathwater has more nutrients than you might imagine. At the low cost of $1.50 per 1,000 gallons, my kids can continue to lie face down in the tub and slurp up bathwater without breaking the bank! It’s probably worth mentioning that plenty of grass will make its way in, so at least they’re getting some vegetables out of the deal.
- Stickers: Non-toxic scratch-and-sniff stickers allow your kids to get the wonderful smell (and probably taste) of some of their favorite fruits without having to buy such expensive organic foods from the farmers market. That sounds like a win to me.
- Construction Paper: We learned this from the recent candy corn incident. The real food is just not going to cut it. Plus that’s more expensive. When you can get sulphite acid-free non-toxic construction paper for $0.10/sheet, it’s a steal. So cut and paste that shit together into some two-dimensional pizza or filet mignon or whatever you want to make. Your kids will love it more than the real thing.
- Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets: Okay, screw it. I give up. Who are we kidding? These aren’t healthy. But it’s the one thing I know they’ll eat 3 times a day, 7 days a week. And who doesn’t love Wendy’s?? So I’m not going to complain. Let’s just hope they don’t end up like this girl. But that’s McDonald’s gross nuggets, so I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine.
Yeah, you could say finding healthy and nutritious foods your kids will eat is basically impossible. So don’t get discouraged. We’re all in this together. We were once disillusioned parents of infants who didn’t realize the challenge ahead. A wise friend once told me, “You can shove all the organic food down your kids’ throats you want, but one day, they’re going to eat a hot dog.”
Ugh, I wish they would eat a damn hot dog at this point. Even that’s a struggle! So what in the hell do people feed toddlers??