Nutrition Essentials

When it comes to feeding your family, there are some essentials to keep on hand and in mind so that everybody stays healthy:)

  • Wash and chop vegetables beforehand so they are readily available. Most grocers offer already prepped veggies too. Place them in baggies or reusable containers at eye level in the fridge. That way, when a snack attack hits, you’re ready.
  • Wash fruits and place them beside the sink. I have a fruit bowl beside my sink and keep it stocked with oranges, bananas and apples. Berries get washed and placed in the fridge. Watermelon and other melons are portioned out into containers and placed in a prominent place. That way when we get hot from playing we can easily get some healthy fuel.
  • Add some flavor. Both of my kids take veggies and a fruit to school every day. The veg is in a baggie and I always put a lemon and lime slice with them. The kids LOVE this as they can squeeze the slices over the veg to give it a better, more refreshing flavor.
  • Make your lean proteins in advance. I grill/broil chicken breasts, slice them, then place them in containers. This way I have them on hand for quick grab-n-go lunches and also ready to go dinners.
  • Keep plenty of frozen veggies on hand as well. This way you’re 5 minutes away from adding vegetables to your dinner. Nix the butter laden ones and go for fresh. Place them in a small pot with some chicken stock and play around with fresh herbs to season them. We really love fresh rosemary and parsley with our mixed veg.
  • Keep high fiber, whole grain crackers and breads on hand in the pantry. These help to fill you up and give you energy too.

Should you choose to keep treats in the house, go for some that have at least SOME nutritional value: dark chocolate, dark chocolate covered almonds, dried fruits, granola bars, protein bars, etc. keep these in a container in the pantry. i use a large white bin and keep it above eye level. That way these treats are there when we really want them, but we are less likely to eat them first.

Keep in mind that staying healthy is not as difficult as most think it is. With a small amount of planning and some dedication it is the easiest part of your day!

Stay healthy!

Michelle

 

How to feed your youth

One of the biggest debates that resides in the minds of parents and caregivers usually has to do with the nutrition of those in their care. I mean, it stands to reason right? We spend a lot of our time feeding ourselves and our loved ones. With childhood obesity on the rise, nutrition is honestly the forefront of winning this ever-growing battle. As parents and caregivers we have the ability to set our children up for a lifetime of good health OR a lifetime of poor health. The choice is all ours.

So, let’s start with the basics. The first fact is that we buy the food in the house. I mean, I don’t send my 10-year-old to the store alone to pick up that weeks groceries. So, the first thing is to make sure that you are involved in planning the food for the week. Think ahead, just like you would if you’re planning a big road trip. Make sure that you have PLENTY of healthy snacks on hand at all times. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very appealing to young taste buds IF they are already washed and ready to go. I wash my fruits and veg after the store trip, then chop them up and put them into small containers. These containers are then placed in a prominent place in the fridge: EYE LEVEL. Yes, I know there are several drawers for this purpose, but when was the last time you dug into the drawer as opposed to hitting the chips in the pantry? Yeah, EYE LEVEL. The bright colors and freshness of the produce has been shown to create an immediately favorable response. That means if it’s available and ready to eat, kids will reach for it!

Another tip is to limit the amount of processed junk that is allowed to hang out in the house. It doesn’t mean that chips will never again cross the threshold of your kitchen, BUT it does mean that in the fight to better health, these foods are limited and no longer deserve permanent residence in your bread box. You and child deserve better food and better health, simple as that. So the chips, cookies and candies are bought only on special occasions. This will begin to treat the emotional dependency on food for comfort.

Potions are usually out of control for most of us. I know I can put away MASSIVE amounts of food if left to my own devices! When in doubt, use your hands as your guide. Protein will fit in the center palm, veggies take up 2 handfuls, grains are a closed fist, and fats are the tip of both thumbs. This holds true for your kids as well. Far too often we as parents give our children the same amount we eat and sometimes even more. We over feed to show love (totally different post!) and this causes a world of health issues. Stay within your childs portions and when they aren’t hungry, don’t force them to eat it all. In our home, we simply put leftover food away and if my daughter pops up “starving” an hour later, we reheat. Most times kids just may not be hungry at the time. If your child is chronically not hungry, look at the amount of snacks being eaten as well as the amount of movement between meals. Ever notice how little Timmy is famished when he gets home from school, but after a snack and some TV he’s not interested in a healthy dinner?

Last, don’t put your child on a “diet” of any kind. Children need to focus on the nutrients they get (adults too, but again: different post) and by placing children on any type of diet, we cut out essential nutrients that they need to grow. This will affect growth of healthy tissue as well as brain function. So, let the focus be on gaining more access to better nutrition and they will be set for life :)

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a fun family game that incorporates fitness into game night!

In good health,
Michelle