Can I be honest with you? This is a real mommy confession moment. I, Tracy, suck at giving my kids fresh fruits and veggies.
I try. I swear. I try really, really hard to ensure my kids have fresh fruits and vegetables. They are on every single grocery list and 99.9% of the time, you can find them in my crisper drawer or on my counter.
And let’s be clear. My kids are not the problem. I hear moms complain that their children won’t touch vegetables, won’t eat fruit. Not mine. My 10 year old loves brussel sprouts. My 12 year old’s favorite is asparagus. Not only do they love the veggies that most kids find cringe-worthy, they also like them simple. Just boil them for 2-3 minutes to warm them up but keep them crunchy. No butter, no salt, nada. No fuss, no muss.
My kids see fruit as a desert. I followed all the mommy articles I read in the magazines while sitting with my toddlers in the pediatrician’s office. I didn’t give cookies or deserts or any sugary foods for the first 2 years. In fact, neither one of my boys would touch their cakes on their first birthday parties – there were no traditional cake smashing pictures. They poked at their cakes with suspicion and cried. The only “treats” they got as babies and toddlers were fruit. So now as preteens, they will often turn down cakes and candy when offered. They just prefer fruit.
So why am I so bad at this? Why am I constantly throwing away spoiled produce?
Honestly…sit down. Here’s the big revelation.
I am busy.
I get tired.
Somewhere between soccer practice and games, karate, orchestra, choir, piano lessons, science competitions, laundry, housecleaning, homework and oh, my job…my best intentions turn into what’s most convenient. I plan a full month of meals in advance (with veggies! and fruit!). Yet more days than I care to admit, the task of making a full homemade meal after work while still fitting in after school activities, homework, housework, and family time…it just doesn’t happen.
So here’s the deal. My kids have a mom and step-dad that cheer for them at every sporting event, piano recital, school concert, and science competition. Nearly every night they have a homemade main course for dinner. We diligently sit with them and help them with their homework after dinner every single day. We play board games together. We go camping, hiking, fishing, we watch movies together.
And somewhere along the way…the bananas get overlooked on the counter.
So when that happens…forgive yourself and make banana bread. It may not be as healthy as fresh fruit, but hey, it does contain fruit! And even my “anti-sweets” kids will eat it! Here is my Aunt Eleanor’s recipe in case you don’t have one. It’s a personal favorite at our house.
Banana Spice Bread
-By Eleanor Langseth
(reprinted in the “Langseth Homestyle Cooking” compiled by my cousin Alicia Baer)
- 1c (2-3) bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add to sifted ingredients:
- 1/2 cup butter (the recipe calls for shortening…the butter is a “Tracyism”)
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- Banana mixture from above
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
Beat together. Pour into greased loaf pans. Bake @ 375 degrees for 60 minutes. I recommend covering the edges with tinfoil to prevent them from burning during baking.