Have you considered what ingredients are in your favorite dish? If you like spicy hot food, it might be siracha or Cholula that brings a smile to your face. Salt, pepper, butter, eggs, flour, and many other items come together millions a time each day across the country to prepare a tasty meal. Some dishes look offensive and result in a face of disgust, some have great health benefits so we ignore the taste, and some are just heavenly. The reality is, it comes down to what’s familiar. Children miss the food they had while they were living at home. Even if it’s processed, unhealthy, or eaten from a can, it is a reminder of days when the family unit was one.
We often use the analogy “you are what you eat” to instill an awareness of the value of good nutrition. But we have another theory. The ingredients that we find in our kitchen to make a tasty meal are much like those we find in how we view the world. The taste of familiar food often reminds us of better days. Many of our girls would prefer fast food or a meal made of snacks as opposed to preparing fresh ingredients. Why? Because children that enter care often come from a home that lacks planning and preparation. Maintaining a job, grocery shopping, time spent together peeling potatoes and mixing a salad is not that common. Instead, children are often left to parent themselves or their siblings. Mealtime often results in finding food that is quick and easy instead of mixing ingredients.
Meal Planning is a part of our day here. We encourage the girls to not only create a menu item that is tasty but one that is somewhat healthy. We’ve seen hashbrown casseroles full of gravy, tater tots and cheese, smothered pork chops swimming in gravy after a deep-fry and numerous other family-owned recipes that remind girls of home. The calorie-counter book sits nearby begging to be opened to provide some feedback on the soon to be consumed feast.
Girls who state they have no known allergies suddenly realize they are highly allergic to anything green and insist that their pediatrician has given strict orders to dine on saturated fats as a way to restore health. Many girls become vegan only to learn they will no longer indulge in anything familiar and the mission is quickly aborted when Miss Cassaundra is on the calendar to work.
The ingredients that our children need to make a healthy recipe are not just found in the kitchen. They are found in what we feed to their souls. We serve kindness, forgiveness, positive praise, love, encouragement, laughter, second chances, accountability, responsibility, and many other ingredients that we believe result in a home-cooked soul.
If you have the opportunity to teach nutrition to another, take a moment to feed the soul. The ingredients are free and the outcome results in a healthy soul. What’s in your soul recipe? Self-reflection is the best way to tweak what you’re made of and create a tasty soul. Add a pinch of laughter, a sprinkle of empathy, a dash of kindness, and an ounce of forgiveness. This recipe will provide enough to feed an army.
Visit our website often to see what we’re serving! I can promise you, it’s homemade.