Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Kids' Top Ten Favorite Foods

After my blogpost about My Top Ten Favorite Foods, I thought it would be fun to blog about my kids' Top Ten Foods. I wanted their list to really come from them, so I pulled out my flipchart from Staples that we sometimes use to draw big pictures, put it in the living room, and had a brainstorming session with my 6-year-old and 4-year-old. They thought that this was pretty cool. I took a picture to prove to my readers that this really is THEIR list. Notice the wrinkled paper and the kindergarten and pre-school penmanship. We were too tired to bring the easel up from the basement and we propped the flipchart up on the couch, so you can see that the the handwriting is quite slanted.

So, I asked my kids questions like, "If you could eat a food every day, what would it be?" I was surprised to see that their list was so healthy! I truly expected Cheetos, Kit Kats and cotton candy ice cream to make the list since they beg for these items at our Pool Club's snack bar. Maybe they chose real foods because we were in our own house? Like most grown-ups, they tend to eat well at home and not so well when we are at a restaurant, vending machine, convenience store, etc. We took turns (of course!) with this list, so my six-year-old son chose the odd numbered items and my four-year-old daughter, the even.

1. Carrots
How excited was I that this healthy veggie which scores a 99 on the NuVal scale was the first thing out of my son's mouth! I buy the smallest baby carrots I can find for the kids because they are not choking hazards. Sometimes, during the school year, I splurge on the small baby carrots that are pre-packaged.

2. Spaghetti
This was when I knew that my daughter was taking this exercise very seriously. Spaghetti is definitely her favorite food and she loves to eat it just like the dogs do in Lady and the Tramp. Now that I know the NuVal scores, we eat Barilla Plus Pasta Spaghetti Multi-Grain at home because it scores a 91. I had tried whole grain pastas years ago and did not like them, but this one tastes just like regular spaghetti. It's a great alternative when you realize that Prince Spaghetti gets a 49.

3. Apple Slices
These get a 96 and they make a great accompaniment to a sandwich. When you can get your kids to eat something that gets a 96, why would you ever give them chips?

4. Pancakes
Now my daughter must have been thinking that by putting something on this list, we could get is back in our household because we stopped buying Aunt Jemima Frozen Mini Pancakes when I found out that they score a 6! This same child loves Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal which scores a 57, so I make it in large quantities and reheat leftovers for a quick hot breakfast.

5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
My son begged for this cereal last week because Ice Age 3 Return of the Dinosaurs was on the box. We were shopping in Roche Brothers at the time and they do not have NuVal yet (although I wish they would get it), so I wasn't exactly sure of the score, but I was in no mood for a melt-down in the cereal aisle, so I relented. I got home and looked it up and found out that it gets a 27, which is not bad when you consider that the median score for cereal is a 25. The key would be to get my son to switch to Cinnamon Toast Crunch with 75% reduced sugar because it scores a 40. That is even better than Cheerios (one of the best scoring Children's cereals at a 34). The question is: Does the 75% reduced sugar have Ice Age 3 on the box? I hope so.

6. Ice Cream Sandwiches
My daughter, who does not like chocolate (crazy!), loves Hood Ice Cream Sandwiches. They score a 2. She also loves plain vanilla ice cream. As I discussed in my I Scream post, Breyer's Extra Creamy Vanilla ice cream scores a 45. I will work on migrating her over to that choice. "Sorry, honey. The store was all sold out of ice cream sandwiches." That will only work when I get to go grocery shopping alone - which is like a vacation!

7. Pineapple
Another award-winning pick from my son. Fresh pineapple gets a 99. The canned versions only score a 25. So, while it is more expensive and a huge pain to cut up, I buy the fresh. I admit there are weeks that it sits on the counter and the leaves get all dried out and it starts to grow a little mold on the bottom and then I feel guilty that I blew $4 on a fresh pineapple. But actually that is usually when it tastes the best, so it works in our busy house.

8. Orange Juice
This surprisingly healthy shout-out came from my daughter, Miss Spaghetti-Pancakes-and-Ice Cream. As I mentioned in Keeping Kids Hydrated - Guiltfree, Tropicana 50 Pulp-Free with Calcium scores a fabulous 81. That is amazing when you compare it to Minute Maid Orange Juice Pulp-Free which scores a 30. Before I knew about Trop 50, we were buying our juice from our milk man because I'm on this glass bottle kick right now. Sorry Milk Man! As I mentioned in My Top Ten Favorite Foods, be sure to buy the one with added calcium and Vitamin D, because the other one scores much lower.

9. Plums
My son must have thought there was a prize at the end of this because his last choice scored a 99 also. My colleague and friend is a dad of 2 and he has a "fruit before anything else at breakfast" rule in his house. I liked that, so I started giving the kids cut up plums or peaches with little tiny seafood forks that came with my everyday flatware (what else are you going to do with those?) at breakfast time. It's a great way to squeeze in another fruit. I put the plums in paper bags until they get nice and ripe.

10. Soup
And on the hottest day of the year, my daughter chooses soup! She has always been a big fan of this hot and salty favorite. We love to sing the old Tom Jones favorite, "She's a Lady" when she drinks the remaining broth right out of the bowl. She's such a class act, my four-year-old. Unfortunately, I don't have any scores on soup as of yet because NuVal is scoring that this fall. It will be interesting to see how they do. It was also interesting to read this morning that Campbell's will be removing 25% of sodium from soups. Maybe they heard about NuVal?

Try this with your kids and see what they choose. I'd love to see your lists in the comments!

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