Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nutrition Ed

So, what is "eating healthy," exactly?  We know we want to look good and we want our kids to be healthy.  But, knowing how to provide a family with healthy food is tough- actually doing so is even tougher.  Fad diets tell us eating bread will make us fat and popular media tells us food that is not organic and local will lead to the unspeakable.  Others categorize feeding your kid a meal consisting of chicken nuggets, fries, and apple juice from concentrate as child abuse.

Basic knowledge about topics such as daily caloric intake, portion sizes, and ingredients is essential to feeling good about ourselves and how we feed our families.  But, how do we educate ourselves? More importantly, how do we use that knowledge in a real way by incorporating it into our daily decisions without making ourselves crazy?

I'm sure many have a vague idea of what a balanced diet looks like.  A few might even have a clear idea.  We can take a step toward better health by investing a little time educating ourselves about foods and portion sizes and our bodies' needs.  I have put together a small list of a few resources I have found helpful.  Please, leave comments on any other good resources!  This list is by no means comprehensive.

Books to Buy or Check-Out from the Library:
Refined to Real Food - full of information on nutrition with practical, specific ways to integrate wholesome food into your family's diet

Eat This, Not That - thought-provoking info on restaurant food

Websites to Surf:
FDA's How to Understand and Use a Nutrition Label
The World's Healthiest Foods 
YMCA's Healthy Family Home

Portion sizes are an important part of a healthy diet.  Practice pouring a favorite cereal into a 3/4 cup measuring cup (or, whatever the suggested serving size) then, into the cereal bowl.  Pull 15 chips out of the bag and put them on the plate.  Doing this just one time for foods that you eat consistently makes learning to discern and serve the appropriate portion quick and easy. 

How to Not Go Crazy:
Know that not every meal and snack is going to be ideal.  Try to keep healthy food on hand to enable healthy snack options.  Plan out meals for the week and go grocery shopping in advance to avoid 5:00 tired and hungry "let's just go to the greasy Mexican place around the block for supper." 
Unless you are under strict instructions from a doctor, don't beat yourself up about food.  As long as you try to eat a reasonably well rounded diet, you should be okay.  Throw in some exercise and you are doing even better. 

Carden "unhealthy" eating secrets:  we take a walk to Baskin-Robbins every other Thursday,  Jacob eats about 5 Popsicle brand "Mighty Mini" popsicles a day (to compensate, I limit his juice to 4oz or less every day). 

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