This may come as a shock to you, but I spend a lot of time at the gym. And, as a result, so do my kids. It is my job and I am thankful that I have a flexible schedule to be there, much of the time, when they need me and that I can take them with me to work (they stay in the child care “clubs” while I’m out on the floor.) What this does present is a problem in terms of meals and evening time. Usually, they walk in the door at 3:45 and we are out the door and to the gym by 4:10. Prime time at the clubs is also dinner time and if I wait to feed them until we get home, it can mean dinner not getting on the table until 7 or 8 pm. My kids are still young, they need to eat and have down time (or I confess, Mommy needs to eat and have down time) long before that.
A friend of mine had the greatest-ever solution that works with her kids, who are older, but active in after-school sports: feed them dinner right when they get home. Really, it works. Chances are, they are starving for an after school snack – so why not make it a healthy dinner instead of a junky, unsatisfying snack? Sometimes, they get mac n’ cheese (organic makes the powdered mix kind okay, right?) or sometimes, I actually make a full meal.
Tonight it is chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and Herbes d’ Provence. Sounds fancy, but all I did was place boneless skinless chicken breasts in a zip-top bag with about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar (I like 365 Brand from Whole Foods), a pinch of kosher salt and about 1 tbsp. of Herbes d’ Provence – a dried herb mix you can find at most stores these days featuring basil, fennel, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme. Marinate the chicken for 2 to 6 hours and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through. It is delicious with healthy mashed potatoes –made with low-fat milk and a touch of olive oil — or brown rice, but my kids rebel against such carbs and prefer carrot sticks and apple slices. If you think your picky eaters won’t try it, think again. My kids are pizza-eating, chicken-nugget gobbling anti-foodies and they like it. It is also great cold, sliced over green salad or on a sandwich.