Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Developing Healthy Eating Habits as a Family

As you know, I have been changing our diet to have less sugar, less additives, less artificial/chemical ingredients (HFCS, additives for coloring, etc), less genetically modified foods. I have been having a few issues with it though, some individual and some group issues.

First of all, I seem to have on sweet tooth and one salty tooth LOL. So I have to make sure that I have something sweet and something salty (that follow our new diet) around at all times so I don't fall back on prepackaged junk that's left over from our old diet. I'm sure this will be easier once we've either eaten or gotten rid of the old junk, but for now the old junk is a big temptation for me.

Secondly, I've been so focused on finding new recipes that follow the new diet that I haven't quite figured out a balanced meal plan yet. I've never really been good at that, but developing a weekly balanced meal plan is one of my goals. My issues with developing a weekly balanced meal plan are mostly with breakfast and dinner as I often make (or have Joey make) extra dinner portions so that we are able to have the leftovers for lunch the next day or the day after or use the leftovers to make something different for dinner the next life. I have never really eaten a big breakfast, so even though I know its healthier to eat a large sized breakfast, a medium sized lunch and a small sized dinner, its easier to eat the other way around because I've always eaten a small breakfast, medium lunch and huge dinner. I'm trying to break this but its going to take time and effort on my part and cooperation on the part of my husband and my kids as my husband only really ate breakfast on the weekends and my kids have this cute trick of eating 1/2 their breakfast then saying they are hungry as soon as I've cleared the plates from the breakfast table.

Thirdly and in conjunction with having a balanced diet, I am concerned with eating in moderation. For example, I know it is better for me to reach for homemade yogurt sweetened with honey than it is to reach for honey buns or other prepackaged snacks sweetened with HFCS, but I'm sure there is a limit to how much you *should* eat a day. I did some reasearch on that today and what I found indicated that how much and what kind of sweetener you are consuming with your yogurt is more critical in determining how much yogurt is too much than the yogurt itself. I also found a Bible reference that supports this, “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit.” Proverbs 25: 16. Wikipedia shows a daily value of honey to be 5 tbsps, so according to Wikipedia I would be fine eating 5 servings of yogurt a day. Still, I am a firm believer that variety is the spice of life and I *know* I need to find other sweet snacks that satisfy me so that I am consuming something sweet other than just yogurt because I'm sure 4 servings of yogurt a day is probably too much, despite how much I enjoy it.

My salty pit fall is tomato soup with cheese toast dipped in it. I love it. Its my favorite lunch and sometimes I just find myself wanting it regardless of the time of day. Of course, the kind I like (Campbell's or store brands) has HFCS in it. Today, I tried Progresso's version and was not impressed. It doesn't taste the same and it has basil in it so its weird to drink and I like to drink my tomato soup, so having it be chunky or with floaters doesn't appeal to me. So now I'm trying to either find another soup to try or find a recipe to make my own so it doesn't include HFCS or any artificial colors or artificial or GM ingredients. So please LMK if you know of a promising recipe that I can try as I'd rather make my own and I'll post if I find a good recipe. I also wouldn't mind finding a recipe for honey buns ;).

These are all my pit falls. Now lets talk about the issues associated with developing healthy eating habits as a family. First of all, you have to deal with individual issues -- everyone has their own pit falls which you need to address when trying to convert your whole family. The life style change will work much more efficiently if the transformation process addresses the pitfalls of everyone.

Secondly, I am trying to develop "eating" and "non-eating" times. I'm trying to get them on a schedule so that they do not eat too much at one time, so they get a variety of foods and so they are less likely to develop diabetes as diabetes runs in my family on both my mother's side and my father's. Our girls would graze all day long between meals if we let them and would still eat more than Joey at meals if we let them. I know they are growing, but I just don't think that this is healthy for them. So I'm in the process of ensuring that they eat a good breakfast, a snack, lunch, another snack and dinner. I'm also trying to ensure that at meals and in between them they drink plenty of water. I do allow them splashes of juice in some of their water and I do allow 1 glass of organic chocolate Silk Soymilk per day (if they ask for it, if not -- if they are happy with just water, I would prefer them to have just water) and/or 1 glass of milk per day. When they are ill, we allow sprite or ginger ale (although this is about to cease to become an option as the whey lemonade tastes remarkably like sprite and once I perfect it so it tastes just like sprite, we will be done buying sprite).

So that's where we are on developing healthy eating habits as a family. I welcome any tips, especially if said tips involve recipes or ideas for breakfasts, honey buns or tomato soup ;)

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