This weekend the kids were invited to two birthday parties in one day which meant lots of games, lots of fun, and lots of birthday food (cake, candy, pizza, etc.). This always lead to lots of anxiety for me as I try to balance being the “junk free mommy” (who wants her kids to eat healthy) and the “mean mommy” (who doesn’t let her kids eat the birthday food). So, this past weekend I sat back and let them eat what they wanted, but as they rode a sugar high from one party to the next I started planning out a special “detox” dinner for that night.
My solution was a meal packed with healthy ingredients like kale and cabbage, but balanced out with other (also healthy) ingredients that they love like mandarin oranges and almonds. And – very important – because they refuse to eat “salad”, I named this “Asian Shred”.
Knowing that this would be quite a jarring site to them coming on the heels of a river of pizza and cake, I closed the windows, stuffed some cotton balls in my ears and told them dinner was ready. Here’s how it went:
Brody (age 6) – “Salad! I don’t eat salad! No way (pushing it away) I’d rather starve.”
Me – “Ah, ha! Not so fast, Brody. It’s NOT salad, its “Asian Shred”.
Brody pulled his plate back, reluctantly, and started eating.
Finn (age 7), poking a finger at his bok choy – “You know I hate this! What is it? I’ve never seen this before! I hate it!”
Me – “This is a super powerful Asian food called Baby Bok Choy. You’ve never tasted anything like it before, just try it.”
Finn tried it and said, “you’re right! It tastes kind of like….something I’ve never tried before.”
Evan (upon hearing me say “baby bok choy”) – “What?! I’m not a baby! I’m not eating that, that’s for babies!” but then, after seeing Finn eat it he decided to give it a try.
And Liam (age 4), surprisingly, was happy with his dinner saying – “Oranges! I get oranges for dinner!”
Everyone ate at least half of their plate, but were all pretty relieved when they didn’t have to eat more. Not a total success, but definitely a good starting point. And I was pretty happy knowing they had just eaten a “power dinner”.
- baby bok choy – 2 to 3 heads
- kale – 1/2 bunch
- napa cabbage – 1/2 head
- carrots – 3 medium
- sliced almonds – 1/4 cup
- sesame seeds – about 3 Tablespoons
- mandarin oranges – about 4-5 per plate
- Ginger Dressing –
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup soy
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon honey
- dash salt
- dash pepper
- 1lb. chicken – optional
- Edamame – optional
- Green onions – optional
- In a small skillet over medium heat, gently toast the almonds and sesame seeds. Toss and stir these frequently to avoid burning.
- Slice the baby bok choy down the middle lengthwise, then cut horizontally into bite sized chunks.
- Thinly slice the cabbage.
- Shred the kale and the carrots (I used my food processor).
- Combine all ingredients and top with grilled chicken if you like. Other delicious additions would be some edamame and green onions.
- Serve with ginger dressing on the side (just combine all dressing ingredients and shake).