Lately I've had lots of nutrition-related thoughts spinning around in my head. It probably all started this winter, when I read a nutritional book that challenged a lot of my thinking on what and how we eat. That, combined with the fact that I am now in large part responsible for the eating habits of two small--but quickly growing--children, and keeping a tight budget with a husband who can eat up my kitchen in about 7 minutes flat, have got me thinking about what I need to be doing food-wise for all of us.
So, I may be a little late for New Year's, but here are some of my nutrition goals for this year:
Eat a good breakfast - Although we get free cereal from WIC, I'm starting to realize that it's all pretty much junk food. This has been an easy switch so far, since we all get pretty hungry only a couple of hours after eating cold cereal, and Vance loves him some hot breakfast. So we've moved to soaked steel-cut oatmeal and whole-wheat pancakes, eggs and toast, sourdough waffles, and smoothies for breakfast. No one's complaining yet.
More (green) smoothies - Speaking of smoothies, which we've eaten every Sunday night with popcorn for a while now...I'd like to make them even more healthy. Adding a handful or two of spinach or kale gives you an easy helping of antioxidant, super-food nutrients without affecting the flavor of your smoothie. It's an easy change...my goal is just to eat more of them during the week. The one in the picture is green because I made it with pineapple and banana, but everyone actually likes them with berries better, even though (because?) they don't look green.
A veggie for lunch - I am often guilty of the PB&J lunch with a fruit and nothing else for lunch. You will not ever hear me preach against the wonderful gospel of peanut butter, but I have realized that I need to add more veggies into the rotation, instead of just giving them fruit. So far, I've done it the easy way--frozen peas (they like them cold!), carrot sticks, snow peas, red pepper strips, etc. Now if only Claire had teeth to eat them with...
Ditch the refined stuff - This is the hard one: (mostly) eliminate white flour and sugar from my kitchen. The more I read about refined white sugar and its' connection to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and vitamin depletion, the more motivated I am to at least try to switch. Plus, natural sweeteners can actually be good for you in moderation! I know how skeptical you are...I can feel it. But it's worth a try, and it might just work!
Keep my family happy - My ultimate goal is always to make healthy choices without turning my family into a group of bitter rabbits who resign themselves to meals they don't really like. I think I can keep things yummy, but if Vance and the kids tell me I've gone off the deep end, I'm willing to reevaluate how this all works. Currently, however, I think I've got a fair chance at making things taste better than ever.
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For those of you who are worried that I'm going to start bringing my own dinner in a baggie when I go out to eat with friends, or join a commune with people who don't bathe themselves properly, you can breathe easy. And if you're concerned, I certainly won't tell you of some of my other ideas, like making my own kefir and soaking all my grains overnight... :)
I am aware, too, that evaluating nutrition is a luxury of the very wealthy...a luxury that cannot be taken for granted. There are many--too many--mothers around the world today trying to get their family through the day with a bowl of rice. I don't worry about whether I will have enough food to keep my children from going hungry: I wonder about whether they're getting enough dark leafy greens. So while I try to do what's best for my family, I want to take the time to be grateful for whatever we have, and remember how blessed we are.