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“Mom, There’s Nothing To Eat!”


“Mom, There’s Nothing To Eat In The House!”

How many times have we heard our kids say this? Still huffing and puffing from carrying in 8 or 9 plastic bags full of groceries, some of which have magically transformed into tourniquets around the ends of my fingers, I look at my kids incredulously: “Nothing in the house to eat?”

Sound familiar? Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan.

“The fridge is so full, I can barely fit in anything else and the pantry is chock full of your favorites…what do you mean ‘there is nothing to eat?!'”

I wish I had someone translate this phrase for me when I was a younger mom. It has only taken me 18 years to understand this statement which I am now convinced comes from an American dialect that I have coined Kid-Speak: a language that sounds remarkably like English, but has meanings that are completely opposed to what the semantic meanings would suggest.

So the phrase “Mom, there is nothing in the house to eat” really translates into this: “Mom, I’m tired of eating the same thing and even though you have my favorites in the fridge and pantry, I’m really hungry for something new and I don’t know what to eat. I’m not asking for anything different because you know I won’t like anything new that you buy. You always try that trick and it doesn’t work. I’m just complaining because I’m a kid/teenager and I have been pre-programmed to say these things.”

I wish I had someone translate this phrase for me when I was a younger mom.

See!??  Doesn’t that make it easier for all of us parents to understand? Had our children been born with a user’s manual, we would have understood this a lot earlier.

So, now what do you do?

Well, first, you DON’T do what I did: buy even newer foods that they will hate. Or worse yet, not even try.

Kids love to say "Mom, there is nothing to eat!" Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Kids love to say “Mom, there is nothing to eat!” Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan (photo courtesy of Parent Society)

The solution I found is to “re-package” their favorite foods into dishes that use the same ingredients, but in a different way. So cheesy scrambled eggs and toast suddenly becomes a breakfast egg wrap in a soft tortilla with the addition of lettuce and maybe a dash of hot sauce. French toast masquerades as cinnamon egg toast sticks, stuffed with a cream cheese/sugar filling and a maple syrup dipping “sauce” on the side. And the usual pasta gets a re-do by combining my daughter’s favorite noodles with her favorite steak sauce or salad dressing.

And here’s what I hear: “Wow, Mom! This is delicious! Will you make this for me again this week?”

The truth is, all we parents really want is for our kids to have good, healthy nutritious food, the same good nutritious food that we offer our patients here at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine. Many of our I.V. patients enjoy protein smoothies while they get their infusions. Some lucky patients get Julia’s famous grilled cheese sandwich (she’s our I.V. technician.) And others nosh on healthy apples, oranges, and fresh grapes. Because at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, we know that healthy eating and healthy healing go hand in hand.

So the next time your kids tell you “there’s nothing to eat,” tell them they’re right, whip up something in a jiffy, and smile knowingly.

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