Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nutrition, Naturally

I went to a La Leche League International meeting this morning and the topic was nutrition. A lot of great recommendations were made about how to get your kids to eat healthy.

My toddler does not willingly eat nutritious foods. He will not touch anything that is green! I asked them for suggestions on how to help with this. The main suggestion they had was to only have healthy foods/snacks in the house so that there are no "bad" options. Kids will not starve themselves. When they get hungry enough, they will eat what is offered. I am a very thrifty person by nature and tend to buy what I can get for really cheap. This means I don't check the labels all the time so only having healthy foods at my house will mean a HUGE change for us.

One mom who was there is a pediatrician that focuses on nutrition with her patients. She said that what you eat during pregnancy affects what your child will be more likely to eat later. She referred to a book (I will get the name and update this post with it) that did a study on pregnant women. Half of them were given carrot juice to drink and the other half were not. They followed the eating habits of these children and found that those children whose mothers drank the carrot juice, were more ready to eat and actually desired carrots. The other children had to have it offered several times before they would accept it and some never did. This just shows that the foods that you eat when you are pregnant set the forground for your child's eating habits. This also continues with breastfeeding and what you offer them when they start to eat solids.

She also stated that when introducing new foods to children, the younger you introduce it, the less times you will have to offer it before they will accept it. For instance, 6-12 month olds will need to be offered it 8-10 times where a 18-24 month old will need to be offered it 15-18 times.

Another suggestion was if your kids don't like raw vegetables, try to offer them frozen ones. Some kids see this as more of a popsicle like treat then a veggie. I am going to try this with my little guy and see what happens. I have also tried a couple of recipes from a book called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. She has a recipe for Spinach Brownies that is the next on my list!

Many of the moms expressed the importance of cage-free, hormone-free meats. We definitely know that protein is essential to healthy eating. Protein does not have to be obtained by meats though that is the easiest way. Lentils are very high in proteins and have a bland taste which is appealing to many kids. If you do chose to eat meats, try to go for the cage-free, hormone-free meats. You can buy chicken eggs at the regular grocery store that are in this category. Other meats are harder to find. If you know of a local farmer that butchers and sells, that is probablly the way to go. Be sure to ask him if his animals are free of hormones and live naturally. Unfortunately, the meat industry has come to control even the smaller farmers. If you would like to watch a good movie about that, I would suggest Food, Inc.

I was not aware that partially hydrogenated oils are trans fats. The food companies can place on the labels that their foods contain no trans fats if there is less than 1/2g per serving. What if you eat 2-3 servings in a day? Then you have eaten 1-1.5g of trans fat! Unfortunately, hydrogenated oils are in almost every packaged/processed food we buy. The more foods you can make from scratch the better! If you make from scratch, you at least know what you are eating, not being tricked by food companies.

There are several grocery type stores that tend to carry more of the natural, organic foods such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Food Co-ops, open air Farmer's Markets, etc. If you know of any in your area, be sure to post here in the comments to let others know. Yes, most Farmer's Markets are open year round. There are obviously different items available fresh depending on the time of year. The best way to find out is to go visit or call your local market and ask what is fresh. Then you can find recipes and eat the freshest possible.

My family has vowed to visit the Farmer's Market every weekend to get enough fresh produce to last the week. Did you know that the fruits and vegetables you buy from most grocery stores have already lost over half of their nutrition. Each day a produce item sits after it has been picked, it loses more and more nutrients. The best thing would be to visit the open market daily and only buy what you will use for that day. For most of us, this is not very practical but if you drive by one every day then you are set up for successful eating!
What have your healthy eating struggles been? What have you don't to help your family eat healthier? The more you comment, the more each of us will learn!


joeandbridge said...

Happy Friday Follow (on Saturday-lol). Stopping in to be your newest follower! Hope you can come follow me! Thanks and have a great weekend!

Bridgette Groschen
The Groschen Goblins

More than a Mom said...

I have used the Deceptively Delicious cook book, and it's got some good recipes in it! Newest FF follower.


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