OPINION: Skip the meal stress, Squamish parents | Squamish Chief

OPINION: Skip the meal stress, Squamish parents

It isn’t a popular thing to say, especially for moms (even in 2020), but  I hate cooking and always have.

And yet, I raised four young men who despite — or maybe because of —  my disdain for that place with the fridge, are very healthy and can cook.

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In Squamish, during this pandemic that has caused extreme economic and health stress for most of us, many parents seem to feel pressure to be amped up gourmet chefs with backyard or deck gardens to harvest.

If a home garden and complicated meals make you happy, then good on you. And of course, food can be an important way to share culture. 

And for some, in a world where so much seems out of our control, following a recipe to perfection can create a sense of control and accomplishment.

And for some years, I tried to be that mom. Sadly, I have memories I wish I could erase of spending hours frustrated and not my best self all so I could slam down a homemade lasagna or butter tarts. I am sure my boys do too.

So, if the thought of what to make for dinner tonight makes you grind your teeth — let it go.

Seriously.

I caught up with Vancouver Coastal Health dietician, Helen Young who said it is important that parents don’t get caught up in ‘shoulds.’

Rather than saying there is a right way or a wrong way of doing things, Young asks:

“What are your goals during this time? What are your priorities?”

If your goal is to connect around food, you can do that with simple dishes.

No one is saying feed the kids sugar cubes chased down with soda   After a stressful day, however, raw veggies with dip and a store-bought roast chicken are not going to do kids any harm. And if it means parents are calmer and can sit with them a few minutes, it may actually be better for children than a seven-layer salad with homemade bread that made parents cranky. 

Young noted pizzas, wraps and tacos are easy items the kids can build themselves.

“Whenever kids are involved, they tend to eat better.”

Omelets and baked potatoes do the trick too.

Yes, cooking is a life skill, and we “are what we eat,” blah, blah, blah.

“[But ] the how we eat is just as important as what we eat,” according to Young.

 “As long as you have a good variety and enjoy what you are eating and are not eating as a chore, or because it is good for you.”

Young also tells of someone who told her that salad is good for her body and chocolate cake is good for her soul. That goes for kids too.

A little secret most veteran moms know is that those kids who are greatly restricted as to what they are allowed to eat, rebel when they are old enough to eat what they want.

We have enough to worry about these days, don’t let what your kids are eating, stress you out.

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