Did you know that march is national nutrition month? Making healthy food choices is so important. From an early age, integrating healthy ingredients + eating nutritious foods creates the building blocks for lifelong health.
Growing up my parents introduced me to a lot of fruits + vegetables; one of the many reasons I think I love them so much now. I was also encouraged to try everything… spices, textural foods + different flavor combinations. Now as a mom, I want to follow in their footsteps by building a strong food foundation for cohen. I feel as parents, ryan + I have done a pretty good job of introducing cohen to a wide range of foods. He loves avocados, hummus + crackers, bananas, yogurt, scrambled eggs, grapes, mandarin oranges, olives, pickles and anything involving pasta.
Yet, let’s not kid ourselves, kids are picky too! Good luck trying to get cohen to eat any form of meat protein. He is like a surgical doctor, finding even the smallest trace in his food to then meticulously pick out of his meal. Is my baby going to be a vegetarian by choice?!?! Additionally, like most 1 1/2 year old’s, his interest in food can vary from day to day. Sometimes, he does great + seems like a bottomless pit that I cannot fill. Other days, I wonder if he survived off only graham crackers. Ryan + I have always had the mentality to keep offering him things he might have previously disliked. If he chucked his blueberries across the table one morning, I will still include them in a meal a few days later.
Furthermore, cohen has quite the sweet tooth (like his mommas). He loves ‘coo coos’ (cookies) + is obsessed with ice cream. Ryan is a big syrup fan and cohen is too, following in his footsteps when we have pancakes or waffles. So while we don’t deprive him of these things, we try to create some form of balance. Of course, no nutritional expert but I feel like everything in moderation is okay. I mean, I too struggle with making healthy food choices all of the time. I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like + I can easily convince myself that any craving is worth fulfilling. So, its a balancing act and I am okay with that.
As part of national nutrition month, I thought I would share some suggestions for making healthy food choices. Again, I am no nutritionist, these are just my thoughts + what has worked for our family. Let’s put our best fork forward to be the healthiest versions of ourselves… what do you say?!
– Stock your kitchen with produce. When I have a bowl of fresh grapes in the fridge, a basket of apples on the counter or a few packages of sliced veggies in the crisper drawer, its easier to choose a healthier snack. I love making salads + smoothies with leftover produce and stock our house with fruits + veggies at all times.
– Eliminate the junk. It’s much easier to say ‘no’ to unhealthy food options when they are not available. I rarely ever buy sweets because I have very little self-control and end up eating all of them. 🙁 🙂 Likewise, we tend to not have a lot of chips + crackers in the house because they’re easy to reach for but lack any sort of nutritional value.
– Watch the sugar. There is so much sugar in pre-packaged items… sugar is a sneaky little ingredient! Salad dressing, juice, condiments, dips + more. Sugar can often be disguised as sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and fructose. So, read your packaging. I often make my own dips, dressings or sauces at home, to better control how much sugar is added to a recipe.
– Use smaller plates. We rarely use our large 10″ dinner plates, choosing instead to dine on our 8″ salad plates. Visually it looks similar but we take smaller portions and are often full but not over-stuffed. Similarly, when food is served buffet or family style, plating your portion will help you consciously see how much you are serving yourself.
– Do a clean sweep. Spend an hour or so, and open every cabinet + drawer while also taking inventory of every shelf in your fridge + freezer. Toss or donate your processed foods + any unhealthy snacks. You will not only reorganize your kitchen but you will eradicate the junk food in your home.
– Adjust your shopping habits. We started buying whole-grain bread, pasta, crackers + cereal once cohen was born. Likewise, I am much more conscious about buying organic produce, dairy + protein (you can read more about that here). By making a few simple changes when I am at the grocery store helps my family eat a bit better at home.
What are some of your healthy food hacks? Do you have any tips to help us improve our healthy eating habits?