Before becoming a proud Momma, I never thought about food. I did occasionally think about my next meal or perhaps dealt with a bit of guilt after inhaling a “gotta have it” sundae with all the toppings, but food was a not such a big deal. However, as a mom in today’s world, it has become one of the things I find myself constantly racking my brain with.
When I do my weekly shopping I find myself struggling if I should buy the ding-dongs and Popems for my kids. I think to myself, “If they have it in moderation it’s fine — but if I don’t buy it, they’ll never miss it”.
Weekly Shopping is a Struggle
When I do my weekly shopping I find myself struggling if I should buy the ding-dongs and Popems for my kids. I think to myself, “If they have it in moderation it’s fine — but if I don’t buy it, they’ll never miss it”. Just yesterday I broke down and bought a box of fruit rollups, the same fruit rollups I had in my lunch box throughout my own school years. My son has been requesting this specific snack recently. Even 24 hours later, I’m shaking my head because I am torn whether I should keep this junk in the house at all. I am a firm believer in not being strict and allowing my kids to enjoy the guilty pleasures in life, but when you hear the statistics about child obesity, and begin reading the ingredients in some of these foods, you start to become fixated on what you should or should not feed your kids these days. As our kids are heading back to school soon, here are some great ideas and tips to use for ourselves and with our children when planning meals and snacks.
Made from Love
I have found a new love. I love to cook. When time allows, I love to spend my evenings trying out new creations in my kitchen. Part of the reason for my new-found hobby falls back to the yearning to give my kids a plateful of wholesome foods. One of Michael Pollan’s (author of “In Defense of Food”) rules for food is “It isn’t junk food if you made it yourself.” I feel better making a mac and cheese with ingredients I can pronounce. I love watching their faces in the morning when they see homemade banana muffins on the breakfast table.
Don’t Only Eat Beige Food
My girlfriend Liz, who is a Certified Nutritionist, led a terrific lesson with my children’s class this year. She brought in a rainbow poster with a bag of different vegetables and fruits. The children matched the different colors to the foods. This is something you can do at home. I’m always looking for new veggies and fruits at the market to bring home and have the kids try. This year we tried yellow tomatoes, purple cauliflower, yellow carrots and yellow watermelon to name a few. Adding depth and color to your meals is the easiest way to make it healthier.
Let the Seasons Plan Your Menu
When you let the weather plan your meal you usually choose foods that are complimentary to your body. A good rule of thumb is to opt for cooling foods in the summer and heating foods in the winter. There is nothing like a delicious and juicy wedge of watermelon during the summer; it’s in season and packed with sweet juice to help hydrate and cool us down. In the winter, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup to fill our bellies and warm us up. What’s great about choosing foods that are in season is that they are usually less expensive and often on sale. Here is a list of in season fruits and veggies come September: apples, blackberries, cabbages, chillies, damsons, elderberries, juniper berries, kale, mushrooms (ceps, chanterelles, oyster), pears, peppers, pumpkins, sweet corn. Still in season: Artichoke, basil, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cucumber, fennel, French beans, radishes, apricots, blueberries, loganberries, peaches, plums, late raspberries, red currants.
Junk Food Day & Health Food Day
During my camp years, we used to order a snack for our afternoon rest time. Each morning it was announced as either a health snack day or a junk food day. I try to do that with my kid’s lunches as well. I’ll ask them what type of snack we should have that day and we decide together what they’ll have packed in their lunchbox. Because they were part of the decision process they are excited to eat the fresh apple slices or granola bar they find in their lunchbox. Some healthy snack options I offer: fruit salad, nuts & raisins, dried fruit & carob chips, apples & honey.
Cooking with the Kids
Besides being a fun way to spend time with your children, cooking with your kids motivates them to try new things. They’ll be amazed to learn all the cool things you can do with food. My daughter makes a mean guacamole. She was amazed at what a difference a couple of ingredients can do. She tried the avocado plain and was not very impressed, but after some onion, tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper she couldn’t stop eating her delicious creation.
Water — It’s All-Powerful
It fills you up. It’s hydrating and quenching. It’s great for your skin tone. It helps maintain healthy digestion. It flushes out toxins. It gives you energy and it’s way cheaper than other options. Need I say more?
Would Your Grandmother Recognize It?
A couple of years ago, I read the ‘Omnivores Dilemma’ and ‘In Defense Of Food’. It was then that I started to second guess everything I served my children and ate myself. Michael Pollan, the author, made some “simple rules” to better eating. I thought this rule was very amusing: If my grandmother were to take trip to the supermarket and look at many of the items for sale, would she be confused? I’m wondering if my grandma would be impressed with sugar substitute? How about yogurt that makes you poop? Or, how about the looks of a high fiber power bar?
I’m Not Perfect
Let me stop here. I think we all get the point and I won’t deny the fact that a tube of cookie dough is probably one of my favorite items in the dairy aisle. I am nowhere near perfect when it comes to holistic health and eating, but I do know, it’s no piece of cake.
About the Author
Melissa Goldberg is a working mom of 3 adorable children, a set of twins and a little girl born with Bladder Exstrophy.
Melissa Goldberg has been employed full-time in the corporate world for over 12 years as a senior sales representative. She is a master at reading people. Melissa prides herself on her organization skills and often admits her need to have a systematic approach to life. She knows from personal experience how hard and enjoyable each day can be with all of life?s long to-do lists.
Melissa was looking for something to do and her BFF and Mommas Pearls founder Cynthia Litman was looking for a top ten “practical” list. Melissa joined the Mommas Pearls family and is the author of the weekly blog M’s Gems and a co-hostess of the Mommas Pearls talk radio show.