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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Nutrition

Last week's topic was meal times, so it's appropriate this week to talk about the related topic of Nutrition. As the keepers of the home, we wives and mothers probably have the most influence over our family's nutrition habits and daily food intake. In A Mom After God's Own Heart Elizabeth George mentions nutrition as one of the ways to love and take care of our children. We all know that nutrition is the key to growth and development; it's what fuels us and gives us energy to go about our day. And it's a mother's job to provide what's best for her family's health.

That being said, I've been thinking about the little things I try to do to encourage healthy eating at our house. We try, but by no means would I call ourselves healthy eaters. We're really bad when it comes to treats or eating out for lunch. But I'll share what I do, as boring as it may be to read...

For Eli
* Right from the beginning I've always controlled Eli's portions. I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND overweight/obese children when parents have (or should have) most control over their child's life, especially when it comes to food. I never "just gave him a bottle" when he cried if it hadn't been at least 2 or 3 hours since his last bottle. And when it came to solid foods, I always just gave him what was a reasonable amount instead of waiting for baby's signs indicating he was full. Seriously, this child could probably eat forever if I let him, but that wouldn't be good for him, and the same habit wouldn't be good for me either.
* I follow the "Strive for Five" rule when it comes to servings of fruits and vegetables, and I try to get one of every color each day. So in one day I would serve something like mixed berries, banana, green beans, peaches, meat.
* Whole grain--Each day I usually include at least one or two of the following either at meal or snack time: wheat toast, oatmeal, cheerios, wheat crackers, or nutri-grain fruit bar.
* Dairy: In addition to Eli's three bottles of milk a day, I also make sure he gets some sort of other dairy: yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese.
* Iron: I just recently read somewhere that babies/toddlers should still get a serving of iron-fortified infant cereal for 18-24 months. So I've gone back to making sure [usually] Eli gets either oatmeal at breakfast or rice at lunch.
* Sweets: Eli doesn't get much sugar. If he does get a sweet treat, it's something like vanilla wafers, graham cracker, or nutri-grain bar.
* Snacks: Eli gets one snack, in the late afternoon, and is something of this variety: cheese slices, cheerios, fruit puffs, graham crackers, blando (no salt, no butter, no sugar) rice cakes, nutri-grain fruit bar, wheat crackers, apple slices. When he gets older and can actually chew everything, then it'll be more like celery or carrot sticks, grapes, apple slices, orange, banana/peanut butter, cheese and crackers, yogurt with granola, some sort of healthy oatmeal cookie.

For Kevin and Me
* Fruit and vegetable included in every dinner.
* Only one day of pasta.
* Only one day of potatoes.
* Wheat bread instead of white. Or, since Kevin really likes white bread, I sometimes buy 100% whole grain white bread (even though it's still enriched flour which means it's really not 100% wheat).
* Barilla pasta noodles instead of regular noodles.
* One dessert planned a week, with the attempt of holding off other impulse treats, knowing a special dessert is in the menu plan.
* The only beverages we usually have around are milk and water with lemonade drink mix in the cupboard we can use when guests come. I try to not get in the habit of coffee every day--not that coffee is bad but I'm not good at getting my daily water intake and so anything I drink really should just be water (or water with a lil lemon juice if I really want to jazz things up, haha).

Okay, now THAT was a bit boring to type. But anyway, if that helps anyone that stops by, then great! What decisions do you make to provide good nutrition for your family? It definitely doesn't have to be as detailed as what I just did, but any little tips you have to share are welcome! Blessings to your family this weekend!

You can leave a comment or I'll put up a Mr. Linky if you want to write up your own post about this topic...

Previous Family Focus Topics (it's never too late to share your thoughts!):
* Meal Times
* Halloween
* Your Neighbors
* Family Worship
* TV Time

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