One of my missions as a mother is to live a healthy life and set a good example for my children. Healthy living is not an option in our household, it is a mandate that my husband and I both agree with. With one daughter living with SCD and both twin girls technically born premature, we know that planning a healthy nutritious diet is always important.
WHAT DOES EATING HEALTHY MEAN TO US
The food pyramid was recently revised and it really explains how we try to eat. We eat whole and multi-grains (corn, oats, wheat, grains, etc). For instance, I don’t believe I have ever eaten white bread. From childhood, I was always fed whole wheat or whole grain bread when my mother did not bake her own. Dairy products such as butter, cheese, and milk are rarely purchased and used only sparingly. We get vitamin D from dark green leafy vegetables and the sun. Sweets consists of fresh fruits with an occasional choice of sugarless (no sugar added) dried fruit like apricots, apples, dates, raisins, and dried cranberries. Water is the beverage of choice, but herbal teas are also available. Caffeine is not consumed, which means no sodas, lattes, or coffee. Fried foods are rare, fresh foods are plentiful. I try not to give my children junk food or candy. Overall, I believe that my children’s food should be simple and as close to its natural state as possible.
Here is a sample breakfast that my family and I enjoy together:
- 1 cup of Organic Soymilk/coconut/almond milk.
- 2 servings of fresh fruit such as pears, nectarines, strawberries apples, oranges, grapes, etc (depending on what is in season).
- One bowl of oatmeal made with hot vanilla soy-milk and topped with walnuts/almonds, diced apples and raisins (not a lot of raisins/persimmons just a few for taste). For my children I usually make a happy face out of the fruit to entice them to eat it. (Instead of using the vanilla soy-milk you could had 1/3 teaspoon of honey.)
A sample lunch would be:
- A salad made with (baby spinach/mixed greens; sweet yellow, orange, and red peppers; cucumbers; carrots; tomatoes; and wild onions). Toppings for the salad include sunflower or pumpkin seeds and dressing.
- 100% fruit juice or a smoothy (my kids favorite is bananas and blueberries)
- For protein we usually add chopped seasoned cooked tofu to the salad to make it a complete meal.
- Steamed brown rice and beans.
- Steamed broccoli and squash.
- Sliced apples (usually consumed before dinner during snack time).
- To drink half water, half juice.
We aren’t perfect, but we are trying to do the best we can, while we can. Last but not least we exercise. My husband bikes, I walk, and my kids enjoy playing outside.
WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT THIS PYRAMID
Exercise is key. Many of us live sedentary lifestyles where we rarely focus on getting up and out in the fresh air. For me, I am on my computer and a lot so I have schedule walks and exercise into my daily routine.
Grains are the largest portion followed by vegetables and fruits. Adding grains to my meal helps me feel that it is complete.
We generally use olive oil in our food and to cook with, but I only use a small amount because it is very thick.
Milk is also a large portion, but this is probably where I disagree. Personally, I am not a fan of feeding my children products from cows, it just doesn’t connect well with their system; however the vitamins and minerals that you get from dairy products is crucial so I make sure my children get the advantages diary provides by eating other foods with the same benefits. Here are a list of 15 non dairy foods high in calcium.
Meat and beans are surprisingly small. Contrary to common belief, our bodies don’t need a ton of protein to have energy and be healthy. Here are a list of protein sources for vegetarians.
I look forward to hearing from you! Do you agree or disagree with the information I have shared? What does healthy eating mean to you and your family?
Here is a video from the Duke School of Nursing