As sure as the sun rises and sets with each passing day, our children will one day grow up, get their own lives, and move on. It’s the normal way of things and it’s okay. Yet it’s not always easy, is it?
When my oldest went away to college this momma was beaming with pride, thrilled about his accomplishments, and optimistic about his future. Yet there was still a part of me that was secretly devastated. All of a sudden, he was on to new adventures and a new purpose – as it should be. And I was left frankly, a little empty.
No more late night philosophical discussions in which we debated the problems of the world. No more watching him go off with friends, but knowing I’d see him safe and sound back home at the end of the night. Now that he was away at college, he was no longer living under my protective roof. How would I know he was taking care of himself? How would I know for sure he was okay?
Children all leave at some point. I promise they do, one way or another. There are good reasons to go and bad reasons to go. Leaving for college to learn who they are and how to make their way in the world is one of the best possible good reasons. But this right-of-passage, that all children take at one point or another, is still a complex one for parents to process.
How to Feed Your College Kid (and Don’t Make This Mistake!)
When he came home for that first visit, my son was just starting on his ethical vegan path and we, as a family, were also exploring plant-based eating. So that part was easy. I was pretty sure though that his vegan meals consisted of a big greasy bag of potato chips, chased by a handful of Oreo cookies, all washed down by a sugary soda. That assessment wasn’t too far off.
Determined to make up for all of his nutritional shortfalls in one quick weekend visit, I busied myself cooking healthy nutritious vegan meals; first to show my support for his new ethics, but also to make sure he was properly nourished. Because that’s what a mom does. Right?
A few days before his visit, I pulled out all my healthy vegan recipes. Determined to make up for months of bad eating, I filled the refrigerator with healthy casseroles, different kinds of pasta, tofu stir-fries, and salads.
As a family we reconnected: we talked, we laughed, and we ate. There was so much food – literally crammed into the fridge so tight that we had to adjust dishes, bowls, and pans every time we wanted to close the door.
All of it was healthy and nourishing and good-for-you-food, of course. No vegan junk food in this fridge! He appreciated it, I’m sure. He has always been an appreciative son. But on his last night, as he was packing his bags and doing that one final load of laundry, I saw him looking longingly at a lone brownie mix box, hiding high up on the top shelf in the corner of the pantry. Because in my zealous efforts to feed him well, I had forgotten one important detail: the treats.
What’s Wrong with Eating for Pleasure Once in a While? Nothing!
Of course! My college kid was longing for the taste of home, craving the good treats that mom used to make. I was so busy worrying about feeding him all the healthy food, nourishing his body, that I neglected this simple fact that we all need a little treat to nourish our soul.
So in the few hours I had left with him, I not only made my first version of my Vegan Brownie Hack with a Mix but also looked through my old recipe box and came up with a vegan version of his favorite banana cookies to send with him so that he could have a sweet treat to remind him of the good tastes of home.
Never forget that while it’s important to eat healthily – there are also times that we need to throw out our high health standards, and just have a little treat!
Some Other Awesome Dishes I like to Make and Serve When My College Kid Visits
The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese (Instant Pot)
Vegan Chili (with walnuts) It’s soooo good!
Looking for a healthier treat?
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread
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