Dad Food: Leftover Chicken Nuggets

As Chris Rock pointed out, the least you can give a Dad to eat is the big piece of chicken. While mostly true, the actual least you can give Dad to eat is a half-eaten chicken nugget. Oddly enough, this is mostly what Dad eats. Like any other kid, I ate my fair share of chicken nuggets growing up. I don’t know how many nuggets I ate in my life before I became a parent, but I am pretty sure I’ve eating ten times as many sense. Sometimes there are bites missing. Sometimes they are completely untouched. Sometimes they’ve been sitting in a puddle of honey for an hour. Every time they are not originally prepared for my consumption.

Dads Hate Food Waste

In fairness, I couldn’t let good food go uneaten before I had kids. Or even average food for that mater. If a doughnut from Friday was left in the office over the weekend and come Monday morning it had the consistency of a hockey puck, you better believe I’m dunking that rock hard sumbitch in my coffee and calling it biscotti.

However, my attitude has shifted from one of “somebody should probably eat that last bagel” to “I paid good money for that bagel.” Its amazing how your perspective on food going uneaten changes when the groceries are going on your credit card. A cold chicken nugget that previously had parts of it in and around a toddler’s mouth becomes much more palatable when you bought them yourself and they weren’t even on sale. Slobbered on or not, somebody has to eat that nugget, and Dad is that somebody. Nuggets with bites out of them, abandoned pizza crusts, nibbled on hot dogs, previously melty but now re-solidified grilled cheese – these are the staples of a Dad’s diet.

A bit of Dad advice: invest in dipping sauces, they are the key to revitalizing your kid’s abandoned scraps. An hours old nugget is a perfectly acceptable vehicle for some quality barbecue sauce.

Uneaten Kids’ Meals Cause Dad Bod

There are many contributing factors to dad bod:

  • Time previously available for going to the gym is now spend keeping small people alive.
  • Playing actual sports have been replaced by athletically themed drinking activities – softball and golf.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio is totally pulling it off.
  • You’re a dad, who are you trying to impress?
  • An entire kid’s meal (minus five bites or less) is eaten as a dessert to your actual meal.

We try to take our kids out to restaurants as a means to introduce them to the world they live in. To teach them how to act in public. To get free crayons. We gave up on the idea of taking our kids out to eat for them to actually eat when our daughter didn’t eat the moderately over-priced mac and cheese we got her because she said it was (I shit you not) “too cheesy.” Fret not, the mac and cheese did not go uneaten.

I am pretty sure the only kids’ meals that I’ve not ended up finishing are pancakes with happy face whipped cream. I wonder what would happen if I put a whipped cream face on a burger? Actually I don’t, I know exactly what would happen. My kid would lick off the whipped cream and peel the cheese off, and I’d end up eating a wet bun and a cheese-less meat patty. Its no big piece of chicken, but I paid good money for that meat patty.

Don’t Make a Kid Clean Their Plate

One reason I end up with uneaten kid food is my own doing. In our house, we don’t make the kids eat all their food. They have to take at least a bite of everything, and they do need to eat as much as we say to get dessert, but we don’t make them sit there and force down their food. If my kid tells me they’re full, that’s fine. If they tell me they don’t like their chicken nugget because its “too spicy” even though it is the exact same brand of chicken nugget they always have but this one just happens to be in the shape of a dinosaur and apparently dinosaur nuggets are spicy, that’s cool. I may not be able to tolerate food going uneaten, but I’m not going to be a dick about it. Just pass me the buffalo sauce.

Though it is amazing how motivated my kids are to eat if they know what dessert lays ahead. On the rare occasions my daughter actually does eat all her dinner, it takes her roughly three hours. However, once we told her she could pick the big brownie, she threw down her dinner in the blink of an eye. I may be entitled to the big piece of chicken, but if it means my daughter will eat her peas then giving up the big brownie is a small price to pay. Plus, odds are she won’t finish it anyway and I’ll get to finish it. Might even got to have a few bits of it as floaties in orange juice. Yum.

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