The nutrition plate was unveiled in 2011 by Michelle Obama when it received “cautious praise”. When asked to explain the plate to a friend recently, I said  it was simply an easier model to follow. The hierarchical pyramid is hard for a kid to associate with what they need to put in their stomach. A plate is much more obvious. Although I grew up with the pyramid, my instinct for filling my plate and my stomach has always come from the dinners my mother prepared for our family. These daily sit down affairs involved a huge salad at the end of the meal or a pile of some brightly colored vegetable as part of the main course.

Which plate would you choose?Now that I am a mom, an alarm goes off in my head somewhere between 12pm and 4pm each day: MUST GET A BALANCED MEAL ON THE TABLE BY 6:30PM. It must not sound like a very efficient alarm if it goes off anywhere from 2-6 hours ahead of the scheduled event. These grand events, however,  have to be cobbled together from ingredients in the fridge bought on an informed whim at the farmers market or the grocery store. Inevitably with picky kids there is a rotation of 1 to 3 acceptable vegetables that must be prepared in a very specific way for a palatable texture and taste. With all these factors in play, it’s not hard to imagine the Rub Goldberg machine that is triggered by the alarm at 12 to get dinner done by 6:30. To top it all off, if you have a half hour or less to orchestrate the meal, you often have disappointed children and stomachs.

Here is an easy meal to prepare that will meet the requirements of the nutrition plate and picky kids. If you are really pressed for time, you can ask them to help you peel and crush the garlic, stir the ravioli, and ladle the sauce.

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