Month: April 2016

FOOD ISSUES

There are a couple of writers out there that could be nutritionists because what they write about is exactly what I preach; and what they say (even though they don’t always know this) is supported by science.

Mark Bittman is one of those writers. Here (in order of appearance in the article) are the top 5 points that he makes that are in fact supported by research and science: http://mobile.nytimes.com/…/getting-your-kids-to-eat-or-at-…

1. “She’s sitting in a high chair, waiving a stalk of broccoli in the air and grinning… I recognize how unusual it was then and remains now: a baby eating not only normal food but a food that kids normally despise… Because Karen and I were making dinner almost every night, it seemed only natural to feed Kate – and later Emma – the same foods we ourselves ate”

This is a great nutritional point: babies don’t need to have baby food. By that I mean food that is different from what adults eat. By the time that they are ready to try food, you don’t need to give them anything different (honey, before the age of 1, is the only exception). You only need to make sure that food is in the correct size and texture for their age so they can chew & swallow it without choking.

2. “Today my daughters – now 36 and 29 – are healthy women who, as far as I can tell, have healthy relationships with food. They both eat at home more often than not, both shop for real food and they both cook… Each will eat almost everything, including the occasional Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger”
Research shows that children who grow up in a houses where they were exposed to a variety of food, not pressured to eat, and have enjoyable family mealtimes have healthier relationships with food. Also, having a healthy relationship with food means having the occasional burger or fried chicken or pizza or (insert any food here that you think or consider as “bad”). Having a healthy relationship with food means you enjoy all the foods that you enjoy and don’t consider any food that you enjoy as “bad.”

3. “…with cooking, showing up is half the battle, and [my mother] always showed up”
When it comes to cooking, you don’t have to do anything more than just to try it. Don’t have time to cook that night? Then still show up for dinner time, be present and enjoy whatever meal you are eating.

4. “I’ve had struggles with diet and health, about which I’ve written plenty, and I’m sure they stem – as they do for many people – from my undisciplined, eat-everything childhood. Given the problems I had, I think it was easy for Karen and me to see that the key to getting our daughters to eat well was to offer a broad variety of foods, let them discover what they liked, put few restrictions on when and where they ate (although there was no eating while watching TV) and keep junk food out of the house. We didn’t base these rules on any science, or research, but everything I’ve read since then on the subject makes me think they’re worth following.”
Mark Bittman, what you were doing there without you knowing it is based on science known as the division of responsibility as described by Ellyn Satter, who is pretty much the godmother of childhood nutrition. Parents are responsible for the what, where, and when of eating. Children are responsible for the if and how much.

5. “…the battle over feeding children really pits Big Food against parents, and Big Food’s resources are vast: almost unlimited money, little regulation and tacit government support… What American parents need is support in the form of a food policy that encourages the production and sale of real food…”
I don’t have much else to add to that, except to say it’s what all Americans need, not just parents.

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WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH

We’ve all been there. You realize that you have been eating out or ordering out for almost every meal since god knows when … In fact, you can’t remember the last time you went grocery shopping or cooked a meal. And your refrigerator has food in it but absolutely nothing that goes together or nothing you could make a meal out of.

Here is what I do when I get off track with my eating and how you can get back on track:
1. Forgive yourself. You are a human being trying to juggle many different things. You were probably trying to get this or that done which is why you didn’t make time for your eating. That is okay – it happens to everyone.
2. Make a plan of attack. When is the next time that you can get yourself to the grocery store? When this happens to me I usually have to end up ordering out 1 or 2 more meals before I can actually get myself to the grocery store so that I can break this pattern. In the meantime, you can have a smile on your face because this pattern will end soon.
3. Put together your grocery list. Don’t go crazy. Just put together a list of foods that you always like to have around the house – for breakfast, snacking, and one meal that you can cook for yourself that is easy, fast and satisfying to you. My list is yogurt, nuts, fruit, avocado, lemon, bread, tea, coffee, peanut butter, chocolate, and tuna.
4. Go grocery store shopping and stick to your list! Do not get anything not on your list (this is important). I repeat. Do not get anything not on your list. But why? If you didn’t need it when you were at home, you do not need it now. You can make a mental note of it and include it on your list next time.
5. Set up a monitoring system. I keep a “fruit bowl” at home. I fill it up with fruit that I enjoy and then every time I see it running low, it is a visual reminder to stop at the store on the way home to get more fruit. Same goes for your refrigerator and freezer. Does it work for you to keep a shopping list on the refrigerator? Do you prefer having a stock list and then highlighting each week what items you need? Whatever system you use, keep one. Having a list prepared means that you never have to make time to make a grocery list.
6. Set a regular time to go grocery shopping and set one day of the week that you dedicate to cooking a meal for yourself. When we leave grocery shopping and cooking up to chance, or for whenever we have the time, something will come in the way.
7. Consider joining a CSA. Once I joined a CSA, my time spent grocery shopping and figuring out what to eat was almost cut in half. All I have to do is show up at my CSA distribution (which is set at the same time every week – removing Step #6 from your staying on track list). It is like someone has already done grocery shopping for me, and all I have to do is show up. Not to mention, it is seasonal and local, meaning that it is far superior to anything you would find at a grocery store. For help finding a CSA near you, go to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ or send me a message!

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