“Parents Need to Eat Too” and Giveaway

Giveaways • 13 May 2012

I wish I had been armed with Debbie Koenig’s new cookbook when my son was in utero. Parents Need to Eat Too should be required reading for every expectant family. Feeding oneself, and one’s child (or children), can be a delicate balancing act that requires finesse, patience and creativity. Koenig takes the fear out of re-entering the kitchen post-baby.

While Koenig’s book is really geared towards new parents, with chapters like nap-friendly cooking, recipes to support breastfeeding and so on, I find the simplicity and healthfulness of the recipes is going to help me in my quest for a cohesive and positive meal experience. This book is not just for new parents who need encouragement, support and ideas but for seasoned parents who need time-management tips to get healthy, family-friendly meals on the table.

Like most parents of toddlers, I exhaust resources trying to please the unpleasable. I waste food feeding a hunger-strike prone toddler whose mealtimes consist of flying morsels and a heaping spoonful of negativity. Money wanes buying raw ingredients for recipe testing. And of course there’s the time it takes to think up recipes that will adequately hide protein and vegetables, do the shopping and of course cook the meal.

Koenig’s book can help people like me. I need to better manage my prep time so we can all eat dinner together as a family, build a community around the table and create a better environment for emulation. Time-management is the name of the game and I certainly need Debbie Koenig in my corner.

Parents Need to Eat Too has over 150 recipes that were each tested by real-life parents and include a “Mama said” testimonial from Koenig’s recipe testers, as well as instructions to recreate the meals as baby food. Everything is healthy, well-written and simple to prepare.

Chapters range from one pot dishes to recipes for the non-cook to meals that can be eaten with one hand like meat pasties, curried kale and apple empanadas and baked eggplant and chickpea samosas. Nap-friendly cooking is the chapter for me and Koenig reminds me to take advantage of my slow cooker and my freezer by making crockpot butternut squash risotto and red wine-braised short ribs and large batches of chicken tagine with dried fruit and almonds and grilled eggplant parmesan.

In the words of Debbie Koenig herself, “While before you may have sought authenticity and even perfection in your cooking, now you’ll be seeking deliciousness and doability.” Words to live by.

In honor of all the hardworking moms out there, I’m giving away one copy of Parents Need to Eat Too for Mother’s Day. Leave a comment telling me what easy recipes have worked for you as a parent. Or else I’d love to know your time-saving tips and techniques.

-Leave comment on this post between Sunday, May 13 and Saturday, May 19, 11:59PM EST.
-One entry per person, no anonymous comments. -Open US residents only. Winner will be chosen randomly, notified via email and announced on this site. A copy of Parents Need to Eat Too will be shipped via USPS.

30 Responses

  1. Tiffany

    As you know my kids are picky. But they gobble up carrot snack sticks from weelicious.com.

  2. Rachel Sturma

    Sounds like a great book! I am an expectant mom, so I should pick this up for future use! Time saving tips for my husband and me right now include making lunches the night before, filling coffee maker at night and setting it on a timer for morning, and using rotisserie chicken for on top of salads, in sandwiches, in Mexican dishes, etc. I have also started making a large batch of quinoa salad (whatever ingredients I have on hand) and eating this as a side dish throughout the week. Thanks for the review, Kate!

  3. Cara

    Happy Mother’s Day, Kate! Since having a baby I’ve embraced the crockpot meals! My husband has taken over a lot of the cooking so that once the baby is fed and sleeping, we can eat together. However, we are starting her on solids soon and I am really looking forward to starting the tradition of the family dinner. I hope she is an adventurous eater!

  4. Finn is super picky. His favorite recipe is banana bread. Of course he insists on “helping.” Not the easiest but definitely the most fun.

  5. Liz

    Making smoothies for my son is a great way to sneak in veggies and yogurt into his diet… I drink the left overs as well 🙂

  6. meghan

    I own this book and it is fantastic! I would love to win a copy for a good friend who is due this fall.

    What works for me is chopping all the fruits and vegetables right after I get them from the store. Obviously it doesn’t work for every bit of produce, but it does help.

  7. Wendy

    Meal time here is a hot mess 5 people & nothing everyone will eat. I work evenings and come home and have to rush to try to feed everyone. Husband wont do healthy, autistic 19 year old trying to make his own meals, picky vegan 8 year old and 6 month old only interested in smashing food. I end up making quick boxed or frozen crap for myself. I’m interested to see what is working for everyone else.

  8. Jess

    My 13 month old is keen on looking me in the eye and throwing food to the floor–unless it’s something extremely delicious. This book looks great for some fresh ideas. Thanks!

  9. Meredith

    My kids (4 & 3) will both eat just about any combo of dairy and carbs. So we do a lot of quesadillas, and I tell myself that the whole wheat tortilla is something, at least. And we always keep raisins in the house, which they looooove.

  10. Elaine

    It definitely takes creative thinking to get one’s toddler to eat semi-healthily. Weeknights, though, it’s hard to juggle all the wants and needs. What’s worked best for me is to “deconstruct” Gus’s meals–if we’re having homemade nachoes, I’ll separate all the ingredients out on his plate. It also works for stir frys and other one pot meals–I will pull out veggies and protein before I add spices or “icky” sauce he wouldn’t eat. Alex at 11 months is a much more adventurous eater. His favorite is black beans! I’d love to know what I could eat one handed while I have Gus wrapped around my leg and Alex on one hip.

  11. hilary

    Everything must be deconstructible. For most dishes, my kid will eat the components but not the assembled dish. So he eats noodles, peas, an egg, and shredded cheese while we have pasta carbonara.

  12. Dory

    I think there is a certain kind of parent confessional for how many times each week you give your toddler mac n cheese out of desperation and exhaustion. This morning I realized we’ve hit a new family low – 3 times in the last week. Sigh. (and, of course, I wind up finishing up the leftovers!)

  13. Leah

    I could use some suggestions for toddler food that freezes well since my son refuses to eat a dish if he sees it two days in a row. For example, he enjoys this dense quiche –http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-and-carrot-quiche/
    but he won’t eat leftovers the next day or even two days later.

  14. Megan

    Willem loves quesadillas. I make them some finely chopped veggies (peppers, broccoli) and lots of cheese. The kid can’t get enough cheese.

  15. Elaine

    although I’ve done a lot of what’s mentioned here, as well as worked as an environmental educator on a hydroponic farm and taken a food sustainability & security course, it is still always challenging to be consistent, creative, ethical, AND healthy for each and every meal. how ever, I’ve made quinoa & bean quesadillas for my toddler son with moderate success (with melted cheese, of course). I also like to sneak in any vegetables I can when I make a meatloaf (organic, grass fed beef only — and because we don’t eat meat very frequently, the cost doesn’t really matter so much) — in the meatloaf I’ll also put roasted red pepper soup, steamed, minced cauliflower, spinach, steamed carrots and either leftover quinoa or rice as well as lots of herbs & spices like garlic powder, basil, tumeric or anything else handy in the spice rack, and it is surely gobbled up! I laugh at the mentions of macaroni and cheese – it’s true, and there can definitely be healthy versions of it – it’s also a good way to sneak in things like peas and pieces of salmon – I like the small pouches of smoked salmon & pinch off pieces to make it a healthier meal.

  16. Cecilli Simpson

    Moms are the BEST. I wish my mother had this cookbook when I was growing up, these recipes are great!!

  17. Caren D.

    PB&J somehow always works 🙂

  18. Sarah Seniw

    My 3 year old daughter is a big fan of anything meatball…I like to make this chicken meatball dish I stole from Giada DeLaurentis. It was in a show she did on kid-friendly dishes. It has orrechiette pasta, a simple sauce of chicken stock, roasted grape tomatoes, and fresh basil and then it all gets tossed with bocconchini mozzerella and the tiny chicken meatballs. I always double the batch of meatballs and freeze half so it will be faster to make the next time. My daughter also LOVES breakfast for dinner which is fast and pretty nutritious.

  19. lindsey

    We have just started feeding Jackson table food. He’s already a little picky but he loves sweet potatoes and bananas. Easy peasy!

  20. Something we’ve been really into for breakfast around here is baked oatmeal: we soak oats overnight in water and a little yogurt or whey, then add eggs, grated apple, cinnamon, butter and vanilla, and bake in a pie pan. (Holler if you want the exact recipe). The final product is firm enough to eat one-handed!

    I love this stuff–it’s healthy, filling, and cuts down on morning mayhem. I can cut some into cubes and put it on Ezra’s high chair tray and slice off a wedge for myself to eat when I get to the office. He loves being able to feed himself oatmeal, and I love not having to clean up the giant mess that ensues when he spoon-feeds instant oatmeal. I make a new pan every few days and mix it up with different fruits, shredded coconut, very finely chopped nuts, flax seeds or whatever.

  21. Kirstin

    I like dicing meat and veggies and mixing it into things like Mac and cheese or rice. The toddler I care for as a nanny will eat anything so long as it’s in soup, so that’s the easiest way to get the healthy stuff into him. The food processor and slow cooker are great time savers for soups too!

  22. Betty

    Hi Kate! This cookbook sounds great and I think I should buy it, even if I don’t win it 🙂 It is so hard to figure out foods that J. will eat and that B. and I will like as well… and nearly impossible to ever find the time to cook! So healthy, fast recipes sounds awesome. Hope all is well with you and J. in PS!

  23. Liz

    One of my lunch prep time-saving tricks, which also gets my kids to eat better, is to prepack all yogurt, fruit, and carrot sticks on Sunday night and put them in a drawer in the fridge. It makes it easy to throw them in my daughter’s lunch box or put them on my son’s plate at meal time. Plus, it saves me a ton of money in prepackaged stuff.

  24. For the first several weeks after my daughter was born, we coasted on frozen stews prepared pre-baby and meals that friends and family brought over. Once that supply dwindled, we started making simple meals that yielded leftovers, like big batches of oatmeal with dried cranberries, nuts, and a sprinkle of granola. I am also a big fan of scrambled or over easy eggs with some spinach mixed in. Super quick to make and full of protein.

  25. Mira

    This book would have been wonderful when raising my daughters, and when working.

    I have studied feeding disorders in infants and children, and had made it a major part of my pediatric speech therapy practice. One of the most important things about food /eating is to ultimately develop a family mealtime routine when parents and children can talk and listen to each other.

    The Guru , Suzanne Evans Morris, in the field of feeding children with feeding issues has some very sage advice that can be applied to the typical child. Check out this article on her website: http://new-vis.com/fym/papers/p-feed22.htm

    In reality , I managed to raise 2 daughters who somehow developed a love for food beyond what their childhood prefences would ever predict. One daughter was raised on Kraft macaroni and cheese , frozen pizza, and frozen hotdogs, and the the other daughter ate nothing but cheerios till the age of 2 ( she’s the one who writes this blog).

  26. Natalia

    I’d love to have a copy of this book. Really, as parents, we need help.

    Actually, Lucia is a great eater, who’ll join us for most meals and enjoy what we’re having. But, just like us, she seems to need variety. So I’m always at this weird place where I want to make her healthy, heart healthy meals, but man… I just don’t always get my act together on time. This books seems to address those issues, right? Finding shortcuts and simplified recipes so we can all eat well?

    Since you recommend it, I might just go check it out myself 🙂

  27. One handed meals? The author must not have had twins 🙂 I did a lot of nap time prep, because my 3 are always hanging on me come dinner time. Now they don’t nap 🙁

  28. Tracy Jackson

    Awww, I missed the giveaway, but I’m going to look for the cookbook anyway. It sounds great! And I love reading the comments…sounds like a lot of us have our hands full! I don’t usually enjoy cooking, and recently I realized that I don’t do it often enough–my husband and I were discussing what to have for dinner and our toddler responded by bringing us the folder full of delivery menus. Uh-oh.

  29. Peitra

    Hi Kate! I missed the contest, but am very excited about this review- the book sounds like a real keeper!

    Easy recipes?? Anything steamed on the stovetop. For a long time, quinoa with beans and cheese was a favorite around the house, but nowadays yogurt seems to be the latest obsession. I also like to make baked meatballs, although with the terrible twos in full force, my menus seem more hit-or-miss. I will definitely check out this book!

    ps- Cheerios till age two??? I never would have guessed- ha!

  30. This looks absolutely amazing! Cannot wait to make this next week! Definitely want to try it out at our next Bimbo dinner party.

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