Tofu Pad Thai is my ultimate comfort food. Noodles and crispy tofu and lots and lots of cilantro. Cilantro is also my comfort food. There is never enough. I know there’s lots of haters out there, but you may have a legit excuse. Genes. If cilantro tastes like soap to you, you may carry a gene that makes it taste that way. It’s not your fault, but still…tough lot in life there. Sorry about that.
But I digress…back to my other love song, Pad Thai. Pad Thai, how I love you. How I swoon with each tasty bite. I don’t eat tofu a lot because the jury is still out about whether it is actually good for you. But I love it, so like all great things, I eat it in moderation. Shiitake mushrooms are a great substitute for the tofu if you’re not into the whole soy thing. Shiitake mushrooms are equally as good.
But there is one problem with Tofu Pad Thai night at our house. My kids. Not surprisingly, they hate it (because they claim to hate vegetables and pretty much everything else I cook). Dinner time has been a struggle for our family. It has brought me close to tears many nights for fear that my children will become malnutritioned and whither away before my eyes.
After many iterations of ways to make dinner bearable, I finally came up with something that sort of works. Here is the way I get my kids to eat their vegetables: Dinner Deconstructed. Dinner always goes over a little better when I do it this way, and I do it often. Plus, deconstructed food is pretty trendy right now, so look at me! My girls will actually try vegetables, noodles and sauces if they can try them all separately, and not all mixed together like a heathen would do. I, being the heathen.
So, what does Dinner Deconstructed look like? It looks like a little bit of everything on a plate, not touching. The “not touching” part is extremely important. It looks like this:
I’m getting this deconstructed dinner thing down, and can usually get them to try at least half the food on their plate. The rest of their dinner is supplemented by PB & J most nights, but it’s progress. So, now we’ve got dinner with a lot less whining, and kids eating vegetables without withering away. Huge vegetarian mama smile over here.
So, there is the saga of my comfort food, Pad Thai. Whether it’s made with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, or completely deconstructed, it’s darn delicious.
If you have any other tips to get your kids to eat vegetables or try new things, let me know in the comments below. We need all the help we can get over here!
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