Having a wheat allergy, it is sometimes a struggle to balance my own dietary needs with the food preferences of my family. No one else needs to eat gluten free and I don't want my children to feel deprived of the foods that they love just because mom can't eat it.
Because I want my kids not to feel deprived of their favorite foods or feel guilty eating foods that I can not eat, I strive to shop for foods that they enjoy and go without or attempt to find an alternative that I can live with so that we can all eat the same basic meal. Trust me, it is no fun having to cook two meals for the same dinner!
Dinner and food allergies...
While it would be immensely easier for me to make just one big pot of gluten free pasta, I make a smaller portion for myself and then enough regular pasta for the rest of the family. It is a little more work, but I know in my heart that they enjoy their dinner much more since they like the taste of the pasta much better than my own. Trust me when I tell you that my hubby loves me for putting the extra effort into two separate pots of pasta. He really doesn't like the taste of gluten free pasta.
Lent can be a challenge.
During Lent especially, we have "Fried Food Friday" around here. What does that mean? Anything meatless that can be fried goes into the fryer. That could mean fresh cut french fries, Farm Rich mozzarella sticks, onion rings, or battered vegetables. Farm Rich even has French toast sticks, which make for a meatless meal if time is too short to fire up the fryer. Having a theme night brings excitement to the dinner menu since it is something that the kids look forward to during Lent or whenever we randomly announce a Fried Food Friday night.
I also take special requests. I was always happy to come home to a favorite dinner growing up and I want my kids to feel comfortable enough to ask me for special dishes. If I make something fantastic that they eat up greedily, I try to make a mental note to make it again in a few weeks. Nothing ruins a happy dinner faster than a less than yummy meal that you're forced to eat.
Generic vs. store brand: Sometimes name brand wins!
I'm a frugal mom and I strive to save money on groceries, particularly with rising costs and the sad, but true fact that ready-made gluten free products cost significantly more than regular food. I'm willing to try a store brand once and if it is comparable, I'll make the switch. However, food should be enjoyed and opting for name brands that do taste better is something that I do consider. My family has a handful of products that they ask for specifically by brand name and I do try to honor their requests. Canned veggies are cheaper, but frozen tastes better.
One thing that we have made it a habit to do is to sit down to dinner together. We love to reconnect after a long, hard day and the kids enjoy telling us all about their day at school. Remember the saying that, "The family that prays together stays together" from growing up? We pray at dinner and reconnect to God too by giving thanks for dinner (though arguably, I would say that the kids aren't always thankful for what I've made for dinner!) Sharing a meal, and thus our day, keeps us cohesive. We know what's going on with school and how our children did on their spelling test. Staying connected and involved with each other keeps our family unit a happy one.
About my sponsor, Farm Rich:
Farm Rich® products have been setting the standard for delicious, easy-to-prepare food the whole family loves. Farm Rich® foods taste like nothing else because they're made like nothing else – with 100% real ingredients like real cheese, high-quality meats, and fresh vegetables. Our snacks, appetizers, and breakfast foods are quick-frozen and carefully packaged so busy families can prepare great-tasting food within minutes. Farm Rich® is a Rich's Consumer Brand, which brings to market some of the food industry's leading retail brands including SeaPak® Shrimp Co., Casa Di Bertacchi®, and more. From early-morning breakfasts to midnight snacks, we're proud to say Farm Rich® products have become synonymous with high quality and great taste.
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I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.