Category Archives: Nutrition

PPDhealthday

Preschool Playdate: Health Day

Playdate: April 7, 2016
Theme Inspired by World Health Day

poster-eat-healthyposter-be-active

 

 

 

 

 

Print your own posters HERE

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: used the posters from WHO to introduce the two aspects of diabetes prevention: eating well and staying active. Also used some food pictures to introduce the idea of “sometime” and “anytime” foods.
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity – part of storytime!! You have to download the book :)
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers – ^^^ :)

The story and the activities were all from THIS great health website, offered in conjunction with Sesame Street.

STORYTIME:
This is a downloadable book from the above link.  The sweet peas had fun playing along with Elmo as we talked about Sometime and Anytime foods, and activities that are good for a healthy lifestyle.

HealthDayBookCover

Print your own book HERE – look for the link on the right side for the “Get Healthy Now Show”

LITERACY:
I chose the literacy activity to reinforce the “eat healthy” concept.  We emphasized letter recognition in this sorting game. Sweet Peas would look at the food card, then name the item and tell the first letter of that word. Then they would sort the food into the correct cup. I prints the food group names in bold letters. Next time we do this I will be sure to underline the starting letter.

This was a good reinforcement of the position concept we worked on last week.
image2 (1)Find and print your own sorting activity HERE

MATH:
I chose the math activity to reinforce the “be active” concept. This was a fun way to do math and get the sweet peas moving. First they rolled the die that showed the physical activity. Then they rolled the number die to find out how many times to do that action.
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Find and print your own cubes HERE

DISCOVERY:
We used our Touch+Feel box for today’s activity. I chose bumpy and smooth produce so that we could also do some sorting. The activity was to reach into the box and see if they could figure out what they were holding without looking inside. These kind of sensory activities are so beneficial for little ones!! Plus, they all had fun sorting! We also talked about all the heart healthy “anytime” foods and the “sometimes” snack in the box.
image4Find the instructions for the “Mystery Food Box” HERE

ARTS+CRAFTS:
This activity emphasized the sometime/anytime concept introduced in the book.  I thought it made a great distinction that we will continue using with our sweet peas so that there is less of a struggle when we say “no” – it’s okay to say no because we all agree it is a “sometime” food. Sometime foods are fatty, sugary, or salty…so we only eat them sometimes. Isn’t that great?

For today’s craft, we made good use of all the circulars that come in the mail!! We had some pre-cut food pictures ready, plus some complete circulars and scissors for the older Sweet Peas that wanted to cut out their own pictures. Once they picked out some pictures, they sorted their foods into “sometime” (fatty, sugary, salty) and “anytime” groups and made a collage to take home.
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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards

This week the fun activity was making the anytime/sometime food chart. I even got a picture of a sweet pea enjoying her chart in her play kitchen after playdate…so glad that these ideas resonated!!

Toddler Tooth Health

Over the past six months I have filtered through, purchased, read and absorbed every last bit of information that I could find regarding tooth health and then specifically tooth health in children. It is a long, windy road of events and information but I thought I would try to briefly summarize in a post that may be helpful for other families feeling the urge to shy away from modern dentistry.

toddler tooth health

While making the move toward a more healthy and holistic lifestyle during our time living in Arizona, a friend and herbalist recommended an unbelievably great dentist, Dr. David Lewis. His practice is no frills and so inexpensive that we found my dental insurance at the time to not even be beneficial for my husband and I anymore and therefore did not have to renew it. He does not use harmful X-Rays and sticks to the very basics of tooth health. We loved and appreciated receiving cleanings from him (if you are in AZ and looking for a new dentist definitely check him out!) but unfortunately we moved away from the area when my son was ten months old and I never got the chance to ask him if he sees children.

Fast forward a little more than a year and I discovered my son has some brown spots in between his front four teeth. I had already discovered he had an undiagnosed lip tie (which I am sure was the culprit for our zillion breastfeeding troubles) and this seemed to be another by-product of that.

From Mommypotamus.com: “When a lip tie – also known as a maxillary frenum attachment – is present the mouth has trouble clearing milk away from the top four teeth. In Katie it caused the breast fed version of what is commonly called “bottle rot.””

After tons of reading, including the holy grail of holistic dentistry, Cure Tooth Decay, I decided we would make some changes and give his teeth some time to heal and restore and then take him to visit a holistic dentist in a few months to a year when he is older (the recommendation for first dental visit was 3 years old for quite some time and has more recently been pushed up to 2 years and 1 years) and has a better understanding of what will take place during the visit, etc. Below is everything we have implemented as of today.
Please remember: These are simply my own opinions based on my own thoughts, gathered knowledge, and experiences. I am not a Doctor or any kind of health professional so please consult a professional before making any changes to your diet and health. Please do what is right individual to you and your family. 

Traditional Foods Diet
For us this is: no grains except soaked oats, no added sugars except honey, organic free-range chicken, organic grass-fed beef, organic grass-fed butter, bone broth, farmer’s market fruit & vegetables, organic nuts & seeds, local raw cow’s milk and raw milk cheeses. We eat occasional organic beans and legumes too. We roasted a whole chicken on Sunday to have on hand for the week for lunches and made bone broth with left over vegetable ends, the chicken carcass and some chicken feet for extra gelatin. Eliminating juice and crackers from my son’s diet was actually a lot easier than I thought, if we don’t have it in the house it is really not an issue. We still indulge in the occasional treat out and I don’t stress if he grabs some of his friend’s crackers during play dates, etc.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil
More info found here. I ordered the Green Pastures Arctic Mint Liquid. No it is not easy to get my 2.5 year old to take it but it is worth the battle, in my opinion.

Tooth Soap
I used this DIY recipe for tooth soap to use most days a long with our homemade tooth paste every once in a while.

Tooth Tissues
We brush my son’s teeth once in the morning after breakfast and once at night before bed. Before nap time I wipe his teeth down with one of these tissues, if he does have a sugary treat during the day I also wipe down right after.

No Food After Brushing
We encourage my son to snack before bed so he sleeps with a full tummy but he now finishes all of his snacks and then brushes teeth right before getting in bed to read books. He knows that once teeth are brushed that means no more food. If he does happen to stay up later and grab a banana or something then we just wipe down really well with the tooth tissues above.

Probiotic
I purchased probiotic capsules, break them open and add the powder or gel to T’s water. Dr. Ohhira’s is an awesome brand and doesn’t need to be refrigerated, albeit pricey.

This is everything we have implemented so far, I have on my to-do list to check out some homeopathic supplementation and to look more into added calcium and phosphorus though. I hope these are helpful, even for preventative ideas to implement with your babies, toddlers or children! There is so much more information out there regarding holistic tooth health and the detriments of modern dentistry on overall health but I really wanted to keep this brief and straightforward as I have continued to feel extremely overwhelmed every time I sit down to go over the available information on the subject!

What are you experiences regarding your family’s teeth? Any other helpful tips I can be using with my toddler??

Wordless Wednesday: 5 Favorites

WE have had so many neat submissions on different topics that are important to creating a healthy family…here are five that demonstrate a different value we have:

Breastfeeding

BLOG WBW13 ww chandler1 spf

Babywearing

Babywearing on a hike

Babywearing on a hike

Co-sleepingBLOG SPF ww cosleep2

 

Green LivingBLOG ww140312 spf.7

 

Whole Food (and french fries!)

Night Owl eating out - nothing on the menu appealed to him, so he ordered his own smorgasbord for lunch!

Night Owl eating out – nothing on the menu appealed to him, so he ordered his own smorgasbord for lunch!

 

 

Staying Healthy

It’s that time of year when I start to take extra precautions with our family.  We avoid high-traffic places (if we must go, we go off-peak times), we are even more vigilant about hand-washing, and we are on top of our daily dose of vitamins and minerals!!

Our chiropractor offers some very practical tips, especially important if you want to avoid the “ick” of the flu season.

Here is how our family is boosting immunity this winter:

BLOG winterize spf.1

Elderberry Syrup – some if the kiddos drink it straight (it’s very sweet!); the others add it to water and ice for a “North Pole” drink.  I know there is some debate about drinking cold things…my stance is if this works to get the elderberry in, we’ll do it.

Vitamin C Lozenges – chewable

Zinc Lozenges – disolve

Vitamin D – small capsules, easy to swallow

Fish Oils – chewables from Nordic Naturals

Juice Plus – to fill in the gaps in fresh fruits and vegetables

In addition to these, we continue to eat a whole food diet.  Our kiddos eat apples, carrots and oranges (fruit for some, juiced for others) almost every day, in addition to at least one serving of greens.  All of these foods are rich in Vitamin A, the “anti-infection” vitamin.

So far, so good.  We are into November with a couple of runny noses that are all cleared up now, and no fevers.  Praying we continue in good health!!

What does your family do to stay healthy during the winter month?

Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Cassandra Okamoto, Krystyna and Bruss Bowman, and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  

Munchkin Meals: Food On The Go

Another month has passed and Munchkin Meals from A Healthy Slice of Life are back! Nothing remarkable has really changed with T’s meals and/or eats so I thought I would switch it up with some things he has been enjoying on the go.

Snacks are always a little hard for me — nothing *too* messy since it will end up all over him/me/the stroller/the car, needs to be something I can grab fairly quickly while trying to get us out of the house, I don’t like to default to bunnies, O’s or the like and variety is important to me since he is more of a snacker/grazer than a three meal a day kind of kid.

So what have we been taking with us these days?

Fresh Fruit 

I know, this is easy and obvious, but… it is easy and obvious! (And nutritious). Berries are still in season here on the coast but will probably be slowing down right about now. Super fast to throw raspberries, blackberries or strawberries into a snack cup & go.

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Grapes are another awesome farmer’s market find these days and again, just throw into the cup & head out.

Apples, plums, and asian pears are abundant right now from one of our local favorites, Inzana Ranch. I chop the plums and pears but these little Fuji apples are such a perfect toddler snack with minimal preperation. I just peel the skin and he eats them whole.

20131105-183905.jpg It is a great car/stroller activity too and I have recently read across the internet that apples have enzymes or acids in them that are supposedly supposed to help with teething pain which is another major plus since T is currently cutting all four incisors at once (:

taking an apple out with him on Halloween!

taking an apple out with him on Halloween!

As I mentioned last month I have a love affair with bananas despite their long distance travels and nothing has changed this month. They are just so darn easy!

loves his bananas

loves his bananas

perfect for stroller rides

perfect for stroller rides

Dried Fruit

T is LOVING on raisins lately — lucky for us in addition to great fresh fruit Izana Ranch also stocks various types of yummy raisins!

this week we decided to try the "crimson"

this week we decided to try the “crimson”

These dried blueberries from Trader Joe’s are also great, nothing added — just freeze dried blueberries.

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Baked Sweet Potato Rounds

I make up a big batch of these at once and they are perfect for on the go. Cutting them in rounds makes them less squish-able then chunks and therefore less messy for us. T loves them.

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Gluten Free Grahams 

We are lucky enough to live very close to a Whole Foods & T has really been happy about these gluten free cinnamon graham crackers lately. Again, trying not to make a habit of it, but they are super easy to just throw into a snack cup and be done with it.

20131105-183936.jpg

 

Chickpeas

I forgot to snap a picture but recently I have discovered what a great snack whole garbanzo beans are! I buy the Eden Organics because their cans are BPA Free or else I make our own using dried beans. Beware, they will get stinky QUICKLY if left in a car, diaper bag, etc. but they are a nice switch up from fruit and crackers and a great source of fiber plus some protein. They are the perfect size for little toddler fingers, too.

What foods do you take for your toddlers or children when you leave the house? Do you have any go to or easy snack options? T & I both thank you in advance for any ideas (:

 

 

 

 

Munchkin Meals: Another Month of T’s Eats

I can’t believe another month has passed since the last time we featured Munchkin Meals! My son, T, is turning 19 months old on Monday (he is now closer to two than one, aaahhh!) so below is a sampling of what we offered him during his 19th month of life!

Breakfasts

sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil & cinnamon, banana slices & cheese with a side of 1 parts fresh apple juice & 3 parts water - simple, simple.

sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil & cinnamon, banana slices & cheese with a side of 1 parts fresh apple juice & 3 parts water – simple, simple.

He opened the pantry & asked for some “o’s” this particular morning, so I obliged..

+ the beloved O's!

+ the beloved O’s!

Trader Joe’s has these Toasted O’s that are gluten free with a short ingredient list that I buy occasionally as T loves them for stroller and car snacks & has fun putting them on his little fingers (:

figs, strawberries, avocado & more roasted sweet potatoes

fresh figs, strawberries, avocado & more roasted sweet potatoes

we always have breakfast while still in our PJ's (: banana, olives and pluot with a side of coconut water

we always have breakfast while still in our PJ’s (: banana, olives and pluot with a side of coconut water

nectarine, fresh fig, and a pancake topped with tahini & honey. The pancake is: whole wheat flour, egg, raw cream + ACV as buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, a little ground flax seed & baking powder.

nectarine, fresh fig, and a pancake topped with tahini & honey. The pancake is: whole wheat flour, egg, raw cream + ACV as buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, ground flax seed & baking powder.

I have since decided to finally bite the bullet and go 100% gluten free after various practitioners have been recommending it to me for years – literally about 7 years. If I am entirely gluten free then T will also be gluten free (until he can prepare food himself) so no more wheat pancakes, but we have been making really tasty oat and coconut flour ones! I love that they are filled with protein and good fats along with spices and no sugar. They are perfect to cut up and take as a snack too, T loves eating them with or without toppings.

pancake to go

pancake to go

Lunches

tortilla with almond butter, sweet potatoes, corn chips with homemade guacamole & healing movement orange blend cultured vegetables

tortilla with almond butter, sweet potatoes, corn chips with homemade guacamole & healing movement orange blend cultured vegetables

strawberries, fennel barley risotto, carrots, green beans & cheese

strawberries, fennel barley risotto, carrots, green beans & cheese

baked zucchini "fries", banana topped with tahini and heirloom tomatoes

baked zucchini “fries”, banana topped with tahini and heirloom tomatoes

roasted squash with coconut oil, banana with peanut butter & strawberries

roasted squash with coconut oil, banana with peanut butter & strawberries

corn and black beans, avocado, yellow nectarine and pluot

corn and black beans, avocado, yellow nectarine and pluot

baked sweet potato wedges, roasted broccoli, chicken and plum

baked sweet potato wedges, roasted broccoli, chicken and plum

shared lunch with mama: turkey, avocado & tomato on romaine topped with deli mustard

shared lunch with mama: turkey, avocado & tomato on romaine topped with deli mustard

Dinners

Again, I am so bad at taking pictures of dinner but I remembered a few more times this month!

roasted golden beets, adobo slow cooker chicken with mushrooms & onions, and banana slices. Not pictured: rice - makes such a huge mess, I try to help him with it as much as he will let me.

roasted golden beets, adobo slow cooker chicken with mushrooms & onions, and banana slices. Not pictured: rice – makes such a huge mess, I try to help him with it as much as he will let me.

HEAB/CD's dinner hash: yukon potatoes, grass fed ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and sauerkraut

HEAB/CD’s dinner hash: yukon potatoes, grass fed ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and sauerkraut

deconstructed tuna casserole: brown rice noodles, peas, and tuna fish all coated in the cashew/nutritional yeast "cheese" sauce

deconstructed tuna noodle casserole: brown rice noodles, peas, and tuna fish all coated in the cashew/nutritional yeast “cheese” sauce

local albacore tuna from our CSA topped with avocado mousse, white rice (was feeling brave this night letting him go to town on the rice alone) & radish/cucumber topped with flax oil

local albacore tuna from our CSA topped with avocado mousse, white rice (was feeling brave this night letting him go to town on the rice alone) & radish/cucumber dressed with flax oil

chili, corn bread and a little cheese.

chili, corn bread and a little cheese.

The only produce that we purchased outside of the farmer’s market this month (aside from one bag of frozen peas for the tuna casserole) was bananas. As we know, bananas grow *nowhere* near us, in a climate nothing like the one we experience. I have not researched banana plantations in depth and although I always purchase organic, they are still from Dole and as a large multinational company I will never entirely trust their practices. BUT, I just can not stop buying them for T, ah! They are so convenient to take with us out of the house, a great source of fiber, easy to top with healthy fats (peanut butter, almond butter, tahini) and have a long counter life. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Are there any good alternatives? What do you all think?

What have your kiddos been eating this month, I can always use new ideas and recipes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BLOG AP feeding

Attachment Parenting: Feeding With Love and Respect

I am so glad to be back in the area to take advantage of all the wonderful support groups the Phoenix area has to offer.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Attachment Parenting International meeting in Chandler.  The topic was “Feeding with Love and Respect”, based on that principle of attachment parenting.

Here are some of the ideas presented by Amanda, the API leader:

  • Feeding is about more than giving them food – it is an exchange of love between parent and child when you consider the time it takes to prepare and serve
  • Breastfeeding is the method that promotes the most bonding: closeness in proximity, it provides warm nourishment on cue, meets baby’s needs while meeting mom’s needs
  • Bottle-feeding can be AP, too: Keep your baby close, feed in your lap, make eye-contact: preserve what you can from the breastfeeding experience even when breastfeeding isn’t an option
  • As your child grows, there is definitely a decision to be made about making food at home versus purchasing processed food in the stores.

She made an interesting point that I had not thought about:  when we start solids, we literally start moving our child away from us.  Up to this point, all their food has come from mother and/or in proximity to a care giver.  Once they start being fed solids, children are usually set in a chair away from us.  It is not unusual for children to crave closeness and want to eat in your lap, which is exactly what Otter wants to do more often than not, especially when we are eating out.

Now I get it – she is in a strange place around people she knows are not in our family, eating a meal.  Mealtimes for her are usually at home, around our table, with people we know – no wonder a restaurant makes her want to be close to mama!! I will totally embrace her instead of hesitating to give her my lap space when we are supposed to be “eating out”.  It is totally appropriate for her to find comfort in my lap, because that has been and still is her “safe space”. She knows she is loved and safe when she is in my embrace.

Amanda also talked about weaning…she did say that AP teaches to offer breastmilk first (up to a year-old), and then to offer solid food.  There may come a point when baby totally bypasses you and goes straight to the table.  That is okay, too; it is honoring the child who does not want breastmilk at that instant.

We also had the pleasure of hearing Blue Russ share her perspective on food with the group.  Here are some interesting statistics she shared:
90% of the food in grocery stores is processed
If you think about it, we are advertised to almost every waking moment by billboard signs, computer banner ads, television ads and the radio.

She encouraged us to let go of any guilt that we have associated with our food choices, and instead, look at the choices we are making and accepting them as the choices that work for us in this time and space.  She reminded us that our children learn about food from us – they taste the flavors delivered in our breastmilk, they watch the choices we make, they learn our rhythm of life.  If we want them to learn healthy habits, then we have to live the habits we want them to learn.  Among them, to let go of any shame, guilt, blame and stress that we feel about food.

We have all been there – we are in a rush, we need to go, and we make the choice to go through the drive-through instead of feeding the food we “should” be eating.  One mama had a great perspective to share: she tried to remember it was more important to feed herself than go hungry, and that the opportunity to make a better choice existed in the future.

Blue invited us to look at the connections between our lifestyle, stressors, and our choices.  Could we see any correlations?  If we wanted to make changes, she encouraged us to look again at this day – just today.  What was one thing we could do, what decision would we make, to support the choices for a healthier lifestyle?

Here are some of the time-saving ideas shared in the group to help us eat well when we all feel the crunch of time:

  • Wash, dry and cut a bulk quantity of greens and/or other vegetables.  Then freeze them in meal size portions so that all you have to do is cook them when you are ready to eat them.  The question came up about freezing greens – yes you can! (think frozen spinach, or see top image)
  • Prepare a large quantity of main dish meals that can be augmented with sides for dinner.  Eat your portion one night, and freeze the rest in dinner size portions for later.
  • Make a stock soup in large quantities – use broth for enriching rice or pasta.  Puree veggies for a veggie soup, serve meat with meals, reserve some broth to re-heat for a quick “to-go” meal that you can drink.
  • Check out THIS link for more info on salad-in-a-jar and The Fresh 20; both time-savers.  The salads make for fresh, healthy convenience food, and The Fresh 20 is a planning/prep guideline that calls for one shopping/prep day and easy dinners on meal nights.
  • Prepare a week’s worth of food, and cut-up and label snack foods for fresh noshing.  Amanda makes a pasta salad that can be eaten cold for her anyone in her family to eat anytime, while staying out of her labeled items to be used later in the week for meals.

We also talked a little about how we prepare food.  One mama does Reiki over it before preparing/eating.  I shared that I say a prayer for God to bless our minds, our bodies and our souls with the food he has provided for us before I make a meal (especially when the meal is a gift to another recipient).  Basically, the idea was to prepare food with intention, because that is also part of feeding with love and respect…pouring our love into every action, including meal preparation, that will directly or indirectly be affecting our children.

In the Mexican tradition, we have a saying that if we are angry when we are preparing a meal, our food will be spicier.  Do you have any traditional beliefs about food in your family?  How about time-saving tips?  Any thoughts to share on the topic?

Munchkin Meals: T’s Eats at at 17/18 Months

Happy Thursday! In place of our usual Thoughtful Thursday, today I am participating in Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life‘s Munchkin Meals. A couple of months ago I shared a lot about *how* little T eats and thought this would be fun to showcase what he has been enjoying eating lately!

Breakfast

Breakfast always has fruit, maybe a pancake/french toast/muffin, sometimes cheese and then usually another random fat/protein source accompanied by a green smoothie

strawberries, chicken, cheese & banana with a side of green smoothie: kale, mustard greens, frozen fruit medley, 1/2 banana, flax seed & water

strawberries, chicken, cheese & banana with a side of green smoothie: kale, mustard greens, frozen fruit medley, 1/2 banana, flax seed & water

half a banana, french toast on local/organic whole wheat bread, grapes & strawberries

half a banana, french toast on local/organic whole wheat bread, grapes & strawberries

T saying "haaawt" to his french toast (:

T saying “haaawt” to his french toast (:

we usually make a green smoothie at home every morning but if we happen to be low on ingredients or in a rush T also loves these green smoothies from Trader Joe's!

we usually make a green smoothie at home every morning but if we happen to be low on ingredients or in a rush T also loves these green smoothies from Trader Joe’s!

AM Snack

While we are out & about during our morning adventure I bring T cut up fresh fruit, roasted sweet potatoes and sometimes almond butter/almond butter & jam sandwiches to snack on

Pre Nap Lunch

I usually put a light lunch out when we get home before T takes his nap.

green beans, chick peas & kidney beans & banana with half OJ/half water

green beans, chick peas & kidney beans & banana with half OJ/half water

peach, chicken & black eyed peas

peach, chicken & black eyed peas

strawberries, oranges, roasted sweet potatoes, white potatoes & raw milk cheese

strawberries, oranges, roasted sweet potatoes, white potatoes & raw milk cheese

frozen peas, blueberries, cheese & banana topped with almond butter

frozen peas, blueberries, cheese & banana topped with almond butter

decisions, decisions (:

decisions, decisions (:

After Nap Lunch

This is usually a heartier plate, I would say this is the time of day T eats the most food at one sitting.

strawberries, lentils & rice, beet saurkraut, golden beets, and a cut up leftover pancake from the AM (almond flour, egg, flax seed, olive oil, baking powder & banana)

strawberries, lentils & rice, beet saurkraut, golden beets, and a cut up leftover pancake from the AM (almond flour, egg, flax seed, olive oil, baking powder & banana)

strawberries, peaches, golden beets & lentils

strawberries, peaches, golden beets & lentils

strawberries, olives, curried green beans, carrots & potatoes

strawberries, olives, curried green beans, carrots & potatoes

white potatoes, red bell peppers, raspberries & a whole wheat tortilla wrap with almond butter & fig spread

white potatoes, red bell peppers, raspberries & a whole wheat tortilla wrap with almond butter & fig spread

Dinner

I don’t have pictures of dinner because we are usually all sitting down as a family and I don’t have my phone/ always forget to get a snapshot. T eats whatever we are having, often he just grazes off of our plates too. This night we were having black cod, sauerkraut, and a green salad. He ate the fish & sauerkraut and I filled his placemat up with some leftovers from lunch too.

strawberries, sauerkraut, miso black cod, leftover chicken, black eyed peas & cheese from lunch

strawberries, sauerkraut, miso black cod, leftover chicken, black eyed peas & cheese from lunch

So there you have it, a mix of all the different kinds of foods T has been discovering, playing with, and eating lately! We shop at the farmer’s markets for most of our fruits, vegetables and bread so a lot of things that are in season are recurring on his plate, especially strawberries :) As we venture into fall I am excited to see different crops offered (the first butternut squash made an appearance this week!!!)  and try out some new, seasonal recipes!

Personal Health Coach Blue Russ helps clients achieve a healthier lifestyle through a holistic approach to food and healing.

TT: Breastfeeding and Eating Habits

Thoughtful Thursday:  Did you know that breastfeeding naturally establishes healthy, life-long eating habits?

A little deviation from all the beautiful MotherBabys we have been sharing with you as we ruminate today!  Have you seen THIS article in the New York Times?  It prompted today’s post.  Here is an excerpt:

“A 2007 study, published in Appetite, revealed that 85 percent of parents attempt to get young children to eat more at mealtime using praise, food rewards and reasoning. Another study, published in Pediatrics this May, showed that more than half of parents asked their adolescent children to eat all the food on their plate, while a third prompted their kids to eat more even when they stated they were full.

This isn’t about pointing fingers at parents. After all, getting children to eat all of their meal was a necessity for most of human history, when food was scarce. Children didn’t have the luxury of taking only a few bites or skipping a meal, because the next meal wasn’t certain. But today, we live in a food-plenty environment in which the next meal, snack and eating opportunity is certain and bigger than ever. Despite this reality, children are still born with the ability to regulate their food intake. Unfortunately, research shows controlling feeding practices, like “clean your plate,” negatively affect food regulation skills as children age.”
NYTimesBlog: Motherlode – Adventures in Parenting
“Saying Good Riddance to the Clean-Plate Club” by Maryann Jacobsen
August 2, 2013

Did you know that breastfeeding naturally keeps a child’s “empty/full” satiety meter working?  A MotherBaby with a working supply and demand mechanism makes enough milk to meet all of the baby’s daily nutritional needs.*  Breastmilk is delivered in the quantity that a child needs.  How it works when a child is nursing for nutrition: once the child is full, (s)he stops nursing, and they move on with their day until they are hungry again.  As they grow and start solids, they can follow that same “empty/full” mechanism that works.  The chances are very good that when they say they are full, they really mean it.

Thanks to parental instinct, and then the La Leche League meetings on “Weaning and Starting Solids”, we have never forced our Sweet Peas to finish eating the food on their plate. We offer healthy food and allow them to choose what goes on their plate.  The standard is a protein, a veggie and a carb choice for their lunch and dinner meals.** If the kiddos have food left on plate and are asking for dessert, we’ll say that if they have room for dessert, they probably have room for two more bites. Two bites and a dessert later, plates are cleared to the sink with no drama.  And sometimes there are no more bites and no dessert, or two more bites and no dessert…whatever happens, we want the children to feel like they are in control and that they are honoring their bodies.

When the kiddos do leave a full plate, as parents we try to remember to make it the next snack and/or next meal. While we don’t want to force food, we do want them to honor the fact it represents work to provide it and work to prepare it for them.

This system works for us, although I get a lot of grief from the grandparents about how we feed our children.  It was nice to get confirmation from another source that we are not totally screwing up our kids, in this area, anyway!

What do you think?  Are there any food wars at your place?

*Did you have a hard time making milk for your baby?  Did you have to feed your baby formula?  I am so sorry.  This post is not a judgement on your inability to breastfeed your baby.  I wish you were blessed with a wonderfully supportive lactation consultant who taught you to feed the baby first, and that they helped you with formula feeding to keep your baby’s inborn satiety mechanism intact by recognizing feeding cues.  It was probably so hard to throw that expensive formula down the sink!  If you did have a great LC, please leave her or his name in the comments so that other mamas can use them should a need arise.

**How the “Bowman Buffet” works in practice:  There are always two protein choices because I am a vegetarian and Bruss is a carnivore.  As for the vegetables, there is a constant supply of freshly peeled and sliced carrot sticks because those are a kiddo favorite, and there are always greens in the house – so they can pick carrots and/or salad.  When it comes to carbs, we offer today’s freshly made selection or a reheat of yesterday’s leftovers.  Buffet!!

Cooking together: Sunday Morning Pancake Breakfast.  Getting the kiddos to choose the recipes and participate in the preparation makes for eager eaters!

Cooking with Sweet Pea Kids

We have been moving towards a whole food diet since Night Owl presented with food allergies as an infant.  The food that is easy to throw into the grocery cart for most families is not an option for us.  He is allergic to wheat (gluten), eggs, peanuts, coconut, hazelnuts, soy, watermelon, sugar, food dyes – all the prepackaged conventional snacks and treats are out for us.  People see that list and they feel sorry for us; they wonder out loud what there is that we can eat.

Answer:  Everything else.  I adjusted my outlook from despair at all the things he was allergic to…I had those moments when I wondered if we were ever going to eat “normally” again.  Now I look at it this way: those are only 8 foods/groups in the wide world of food.  We can eat millet, rice, corn, and quinoa based carb foods.  He can eat potatoes.  He can eat all the rest of the fruits and vegetables.  I looked it up…he has between 1,000 to 2,000 to choose from, depending on how you categorize the list.  Puma presented with the gluten allergy two years ago, so we made the switch to a gluten-free pantry and pretty much never looked back.

It has been the best thing that has happened to our family.  While some people struggle to make that transition from processed junk food and empty calories, our bigger challenge is how to change it up with the seasons.  How do we ensure that our kiddos have the best organic and conventional produce to choose from so that we save money and eat well at the same time?

With a little menu planning and information about produce, it’s actually very do-able.  We use the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to decide which produce to buy organic and which crops to buy conventional.  We look through our cookbooks and find recipes that fit in with the ingredients that are in line with produce that is in season.  Now we are ready to make our shopping list for the farmer’s market and our local grocery store.

Here are our favorite cookbooks.  We have found that by working together as a family to choose recipes, the kiddos are vested in eating the food they help to prepare.  By allowing them to choose which recipes to try, there is a higher likelihood that they will taste the food that is served at mealtimes.

Superfoods for Babies and Children by Annabel Karmel

Superfoods for Babies and Children by Annabel Karmel

This is one of my favorite books for first foods.  Puma didn’t start solids until she was 11 months old – at her age, we used a food mill to grind up whatever we were eating and she ate on her own soon after that.  Since she pretty much started with whole foods, this was a great guide to help me design a plan for introducing solids.  We still use it today since there are a lot of whole food recipes that do not include Night Owl’s allergy foods, and the ones that do are easily modified.  One of our favorite recipes is the Broccoli Mac & Cheese.

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Here is another favorite as families learn to eat first foods and beyond.  I made my own baby food for NIght Owl, and then followed suit with Charger.  Since I was making purees to feed the boys, I used them in the rest of our dishes to add flavor and nutrients.  Our favorite recipe in here is the spinach and carrot “infused” brownies.  I still use the tip of mixing purees into tomato sauces – that red hides just about everything.  Since we are not pureeing anymore, I do shred our fresh market vegetables into the sauce and simmer it on the stove.  The house smells amazing, and I watch with delight at mealtime as Sweet Pea Kids (and Dad!) lick their plates clean.

Weelicious by Catherine McCord

Weelicious by Catherine McCord

This has been Puma’s favorite book, as you can see by all the pages we have marked.  We are stuck on the Apple-Cinnamon pancake recipe – life-changing!  It was easily modified for our gluten-free, egg-free kitchen, and we have experimented with different fruits and add-ins.  It is by far Sweet Pea Dad’s favorite pancake recipe *ever*.  He, more than anyone, laments the shift to the gluten-free lifestyle.  We have also made some of the soup recipes, and are slowly working through the rest of the recipes we have marked to try out this summer.

Kid's Kitchen Cards from Barefoot Books

Kid’s Kitchen Cards from Barefoot Books

These are a brilliant concept from Barefoot Books.  There are 40 boardbook-type recipe cards with an illustration and ingredients on the front, and the instructions on the back.  Each of the kiddos can take turns choosing a card and deciding what to try for a snack or a main course.  Our favorite find in this stack has been the fruit kebabs.

Sweet Pea Families: Cooking with Sweet Pea Kids

The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas

This is the last book that makes the trip with us pretty much wherever we are going to stay for a while.  After watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives” this year, one of my goals is to have at least one vegetarian family meal every day.  I have been vegetarian for 13 years now.  Sweet Pea Kids have been vegetarian until their first birthday, and then they eat meat as it appeals to them.  After seeing the devastating effects of meat and current practices around the meat industry, I am more mindful of teaching our children that meat is not necessarily a staple at every meal.  They are learning more about healthy protein options…here is my proud mama moment from last week:

Night Owl eating out - nothing on the menu appealed to him, so he ordered his own smorgasbord for lunch!

Night Owl eating out – nothing on the menu appealed to him, so he ordered his own smorgasbord for lunch!

Bon appetite!  I would love to hear your  tips and tricks for engaging your children in healthy eating – what does your family do?

Sweet Pea Kiddos eating a healthy, whole food snack. Sliced fresh fruit, vegetarian cheese, and raw cashews

Sweet Pea Kiddos eating a healthy, whole food snack. Sliced fresh fruit, vegetarian cheese, and raw cashews