broccoli, red pepper, purple brussels sprouts
Frying broccoli, red pepper and purple brussels sprouts in garlic and ginger.

Dinner last night was a disaster. I considered not writing about it but I don’t want to paint a false picture of my children sitting down to every meal with smiles on their faces. Sometimes they don’t.

I don’t cook every meal to my kids’ tastes. There are four people in my family and we all should be able to eat our favourite foods sometimes. I love eggplant and my husband loves homestyle veganized meatloaf with potatoes and gravy.

Neither of those go over well with my kids and when we make them, I know dinner is going to involve whining, crying or what we call the ostrich pose. I compromise by making something on the side that will be enjoyed (like roasting carrots with the loaf). But my rule is that they have to taste it and see if they like it. My daughter found last time she tried eggplant that it was good. Tastes evolve.

Sometimes I know that my kids won’t like what I’m cooking but sometimes they surprise me and turn their noses up at something I thought was in the safe zone. That’s what happened last night.

At the grocery store, I came across some kale and quinoa, and sweet potato and chia seed “bites” or balls. Just heat them and serve – perfect for a busy weeknight. I wasn’t sure if the kale and quinoa ones would go over well so I bought the sweet potato and chia ones too to be safe. I thought maybe we’d have a dipping dinner with all kinds of things to dip into different dips. But then I remembered my kids only dip in ketchup so that wouldn’t be a very interesting dinner. That’s when I should have moved on.

vegan meal
Brown rice topped with veggies, balls and spicy peanut sauce.

Dinner last night was rushed – we had to be out the door by 5:30 for hockey practice. I wasn’t sure quite what to do with the balls since there were no serving suggestions on the packages. I decided to make bowls with brown rice and vegetables, toss the balls on top and make a spicy peanut sauce for the grown ups.

For the kids, I dished out the vegetables and the balls and gave them a piece of Norwegian bread I had made since I had to get them started on their dinners before the rice was done if I was going to get them out the door in time for practice. The bread saved the day. The balls did not go over well at all. None of us liked them.

vegan dinner for kids
For the kids: veggies, a couple of each of the balls and a slice of bread.

My son took one bite and declared he didn’t like them. We tried ketchup but nope, that didn’t solve the problem. The spicy peanut sauce didn’t help either. I’m not sure what could have saved dinner – a garlic sauce with plenty of garlic might have made them more palatable but I’m not going to bother trying it.

My son ate all his veggies and his piece of bread but when I insisted he eat at least one of the balls, he went straight into his ostrich pose. He tucks himself into a ball on his chair and hides his head under the table. He won’t talk, eat or move until we cajole him with some sort of compromise.

Evenings have been lost trying to wait him out in the ostrich pose. He’s a stubborn child. We didn’t have all evening to wait for him to choose to come out so I cut one ball in two, dredged the pieces in ketchup, fed them to him and sent him on his way. Good enough.

whole wheat bread with seeds
Norwegian bread studded with chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin seeds and topped with sesame seeds.

Luckily, the bread was studded with seeds and whole grains so I knew he’d have enough energy to make it through his practice on a partial dinner. And it did. He had a lot of fun at practice.

How do you handle rejected dinners?


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