Thursday, 24 June 2010 | by Jane

Dishing Up

I've been trying to concentrate much more on Mike's needs, when it comes to meal times, over the last few months. We are lucky enough as a family, to be able to all sit down together for both breakfast and tea. When the children were younger, sitting together did not mean eating the same food, Mike and I enjoy spicy food, and our kids (like most kids) like to separate out ingredients and have both gone through a variety of picky phases, which drives me mad. Friends round to tea, adds another interesting dimension to what I can or can't present at meal times, forward planning is impossible when you may get a vegetarian home on a spaghetti bolognaise day. Even so, I've always enjoyed cooking for the family because it feels like such a worthwhile thing to do well, much more essential than cleaning (which I only do when we're about to have visitors); and it's a good job I enjoy it because when the kids were small I would end up cooking all afternoon to be able to cater for everyone's needs.

The hardest thing is dividing carbohydrate in a measured way. We all eat a similar quantity of food now, but when the kids ate less, dividing the pasta to ensure that Mike had approximately 60grams of carbs for his meal was tricky. In the baby/toddler phase, I just cooked two completely separate meals, one for us and one for the kids. When they were a little older, I cooked simple food, enough for three portions, and divided one of those portions between the kids, then I'd cook an extra veg dish which I could spice up to make the meal more interesting for me and Mike. The next stage got harder, and the measuring less accurate, and with appetites varying, we would often find ourselves finishing the things off which are hard to resist, (like fish fingers) but it can play havoc with your levels. It is a relief now to know that the kids have good appetites and I can just divide everything equally between the four of us.

It does mean that we all have a calorie controlled diet, as a neccessity. I'm sure the kids aren't really aware of that yet. It can make for a rather odd looking meal. The portion of pasta we allow ourselves looks pitiful, but I add a lot of veg to everything to boost the quantity of stuff on the plate. New potatoes present a whole other problem, delicious though they are, to ensure Mike has enough carbs he has to pretty much fill his plate with them, though Mike will allow for that and use less insulin, he doesn't have to have exactly 60grams of carbohydrate at every meal of course, but it's the way we've always done it and it seems to work. You get used to all the measurements, 3oograms of rice is enough for the four of us, 400grams of pasta etc. it makes life easy. I've managed to get back to buying only wholewheat pasta, and there have been no complaints, and I have gone back to trying to vary the type of carbs much more, which was something I read in a Balance magazine years ago. It makes sense to me, if only because too much of anything can be bad for you.

I am aware that I have spent quite alot of the past thirteen years preparing and cooking food, and that not everyone has the time available to do that, (or would want to). To me it has been a luxury I'm grateful to have been afforded, though it is extremely nice when someone else offers to cook for a change. Maybe one of these days I'll be all cooked out and hopefully I'll be able to hand the baton to someone else and then and only then will I offer to do the washing up.

Jane

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