On Wednesday, I began my day on-air for a radio show H20 for Health. It was my first radio interview, so I wanted to have the energy, (good) mood and concentration that hydration and a good healthy breakfast can provide. As I always start off my morning with a glass or two of water, I was definitely on track. It was a pleasure to chat with nutritionist and wellness coach Alison Held and moderator/host Jonathan Hall. We had a meaningful discussion about health, nutrition and staying on track through the holidays.
Today’s post is a poem about my darling li’l girls. Since my girls are so much a part of who I am and what I do, I thought I’d take a little break from my usual penning and share a little “creative writing”. Since I’ve read the Lorax by Dr. Seuss a gazillian or more times, now I’m starting to think in such silly little rhymes. So here you go – enjoy:
My girls are often giddy, ticked pink and just three!
Though they’ll tell you they’re five with such utter-sheer glee.
In the kitchen they play, and they eat and they taste.
Gotta be sure to serve small or they surely will waste.
From pizza with pesto with garlic and kale
to fruits of all types (they eat)…’til no more avail.
Broccoli tops they call trees, and chew carrots with ease,
they pop brussel sprouts in their mouth -
oh, how they can please.
But give ‘em a sweet, some chocolate delight,
they carry-on happily, oh what a site!
They eat healthy mostly, except on occasion
and consume quite a bit – it is often amazin’.
For they’re tiny pint-sized and petite as can be,
but remember they’re full of energy – yes they are three.
So tonight is daddy’s birthday and they enjoyed a wee treat,
tomorrow back to healthy they surely will eat. : )
When asked about her favorite ice-cream, my 3-year old daughter, Ailish, replied: ‘Pink’! Why not!? Everything in her life is about pink – pink “princess” clothes, pink crayons, pink undies….you name it! If pink is written all over it, … Continue reading
“Julia, stop eating so much chocolate! You’ll get a stomach ache!,” said 3 1/2 -year-old Ailish to her twin sister. Could this be coming from the very girl who cried because I wouldn’t give her another “cookie”?
I try my best to keep excess sugars/sweets out of our cupboards, but it seems every holiday has my girls toting a bag of candy on their way out the door from pre-school. The last was on Valentines Day, a day I remember simply exchanging cards with my grade school mates. They came home with so much candy, Julia remarked “It’s Halloween!”
“No, I replied,” this is Valentines Day. I gently took her bag away (to be tossed away later) and offered her one chocolate. And did the same for Ailish.
With Easter coming up, the girls sprang out of class wearing their handmade bunny hats with crayons scratchings (Ailish’s not half bad filled in the ears with pink and mostly inside the lines, while Julia’s was a typical outside-the-box 1/2 ear partially green, the other with 2 lines of pink) and carrying a handmade paper basket with loads of candy of course. And they’d already begun digging into their treats.
Needless to say, I allow little treats, but monitor carefully (and toss away most of the junk).
I still am amazed that this type of conditioning (sugar-filled holidays) begins as early as Pre-School.
What are your thoughts?
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My three-year-old twins love their food, and they love the utensils and dishes that come with it. We bought them a portable tea set complete with 4 cups, 4 saucers, 4 plates and a tea pot all nestled neatly in a decorative picnic ‘lunchbox’. They couldn’t wait to unassemble to contents and set their own table.
When asked what tea they were pouring, Ailish said – with absolute certainty – “pink”. Well, herbal berry teas are somewhat reddish-pinkish’, I reasoned. So I asked her what flavor it was (Strawberry, perhaps?…) and she replied, “vanilla”. Julia went along with it and began pouring for myself, Ailish, myself again (3x) and then Ailish, and finally a cup for her 3″ figurine Disney doll (“the pink little doll” – I think it is Belle from Beauty and the Beast).
I love the simplicity of their choices. When asked what flavor ice-cream from a parlor with decadent solids and mixes of chocolate, prailines, nuts and candy – you name it! – they just wanted “Vanilla” …oh and the “pink one” (a flavor that turned out to be ‘candy cane’ specially formulated for the holidays).
So what about eating? Are they always so simple. Well, they certainly gravitate toward blueberries and strawberries and ask for ‘oranges’ (tangerines) and apples (if they are miniature or small enough to fit in their little hands). So as long as I keep fruit available and in sight, they are usually game.
Dinner is another story. They pretty much eat what we eat, but usually on a time delay. So if we are at a restaurant, by the time we get the bill, they start eating away.
The morale of this post: Keep (veggies and) fruit fresh, inviting, and on the table. Let them choose (and ask for more) and be patient when it comes to meals…they will eat (and they will eat well), they simply take their time.
How do you encourage healthy eating?
I recently received my JADA (Journal of the American Dietetic Association). The issue’s emphasis was on Nutrition in the Child-Care Setting – with quite a few articles/studies. As a mom this definitely strikes a point of concern. Especially since outside influences can affect our child’s eating behavior, and childhood obesity is certainly prevalent. Early influences, I understand, can affect lifestyle choices up through adulthood.
My girls began pre-school at a year-round program last June. While I can’t say I approve of every meal (I’ve seen fish sticks on the menu and packaged cookies for snacks), my girls have been coming home to good meals and healthy snacks I prepare – and they still continue to eat and enjoy it (for the most part).
But here’s something I thought was interesting:
The other day the kids had an assignment: The teacher pointed to pictures they would select and name to put in their “I LIKE____” book. When it got to the Foods Section, BOTH my girls choose fruits and vegetables (Julia – the broccoli and Ailish the raspberries, and they both chose chicken). That isn’t the funny part, I know my girls love fruit and certain veggies. The point here is that the teacher was so surprised that my girls choose fruits and veggies, and she happily exclaimed this find. Probably because most of the other kids were choosing donuts and cookies, I suppose..
Now my girls go to a morning program (only 2 hours) just prior to their regular preschool This Pre-K program is FREE and will serve my kids who’ve been qualified with speech delay (but are steadily improving, I’m happy to note). They have breakfast here. The choices seem ok (oatmeal, granola with yogurt, pancakes…and a fruit choice). And the daily menu is labeled with F/V (fruit/vegetable) and WH (whole grains) to denote balance.
So while I can’t control what my girls are served for breakfast, lunch and their school snacks (and some of these items may very well be alright), I’m happy to report that what I do serve at home is still of interest. That being good, well-balanced meals. And I should take comfort in the fact that they haven’t converted so much to outside influence, that they still do eat what I serve them. Yes, an occasional ice-cream treat or a cookie, but for the most part they are sticking a healthier path.
Now the next concern will be brown bagged lunches…Cheetos, Twinkies, Ding-dongs, etc.. that other kids bring and share. But alas, my girls are only in Preschool, and grade school seems still so far away.
What are your thoughts on the prevalence of childhood obesity and nutrition provided in the childcare setting?
My three-year-old twins are a delight in the kitchen – I say this with some truth and sarcasm: happy & silly, wanting to help, but very messy. So rather than assembling a real “heart-healthy” pizza (I am a dietitian), as I feared the tomato sauce all over the walls and floors, we’d make a pretend meal together instead – a Play-Doh surprise! I went to the Play-Doh Play-Dates website and chose Fresh Ideas: Crafts & Snacks for a tutorial on how-to assemble an easy, fun “pizza”.
It took me 3 days to get full cooperation. But by the third day, we’d assembled through a collaborative effort – one mommy, Ailish & Julia pizza!
The first day was an intro to the wide assortment of colors. I pulled out the black, green, red, brown and white, hoping to keep the other colors in stock and away. However, they specifically called out and reached for their own colors: “I want the pink. I WANT the P-i-i-i-nk, shouted Ailish!” Julia happily followed suit requesting the blue, neither of which was applicable to my craft applications. Well they ended up running around with dough in hand and the project not completed.
The next day was a little better. We formed balls and a few thin “worms”. Maybe, again not the appropriate colors of a pizza – we had mixtures of pink and green and yellow and black, but at least we were forming balls and practicing smashing them into flat circles (well somewhat of that shape). But then they started pressing them into the sidewalk – not easy to clean up.
Our pizza masterpiece came out the third day of trial. With mommy assembling and toddlers making balls and smashing them into “pizza dough” shape and rubbing their hands together for the thin tube “worm” shapes. So I had a brown dough, red sauce and black olive shapes which they carefully pinched together, white cheese, and little blue balls. They insisted on the blue so I said, “Ok we can add some blueberries to the pizza.” Why not add some antioxidant-rich berries. : )
Well that’s all for this story as they can hardly be kept out of trouble, even though they adorably look as though they intend to help. Better watch out, Julia just tippy-toed to the sink trying to put her plate away for washing and is just about to dump the remaining contents of her mac-n-cheese (with veggies) on the floor. So much for clean fun.
Looking forward to future Play-Doh Playdates,
Lauren, Ailish & Julia
We are a family of five, with the addition of G’ma who recently move in with us. My twin toddlers, husband, mother-n-law and myself live in a lovely new home complete with a backyard, side yard and nice size kitchen.
We all take turns contributing to our meals. But sometimes G’ma gets a little over zealous shopping at COSTCO and stocks up on food supplies for an army:
I am grateful she buys a lot of fruit and veggies. But let’s face it, any large family would find it hard to get through 2 large cartons of grapes, 12 large peaches, 12 medium pears, 12 large apples, a large bunch of bananas, I large carton of blueberries and 2 pounds of strawberries…etc. So I took upon a challenge to keep this fruit fresh, inviting and free from spoilage.
1. First things first: Freezing to the rescue!
- Grapes are excellent frozen. So I prepared ziplock baggies with grapes for frozen treats later on. I used some of the grapes in a mixed fruit salad with the other fruits I mentioned, going with softest fruits first and adding in lemon juice to preserve. I also reserved a few snack size baggies of fresh grapes to store in the refrigerator for an easy, refreshing snack or addition to our lunches.
- Sliced strawberries also work excellent frozen. (So I sealed a bunch of those as well.) They are great for smoothies and when thawed, create a nice juice great for topping on Non-fat Greek yogurt or a low-fat frozen yogurt.
2. Front and Center: A bowl of apples, bananas and less ripe fruits is centered on our counter, and any time a fruit gets riper, softer, it gets eaten right away or added to the fresh fruit mix in the refrigerator (visible and appealing on the shelf).
3. Wonderful add-ins: I’ve added 3/4 to 1 cup of blueberries or an equivalent amount of sliced strawberries to my cereal (Uncle Sam’s) daily and I eat a piece of fruit (with 5-6 almonds) after my morning workouts.
4. Whole or sliced: Sliced strawberries accompany our salads and are included as the sweet “jam” component of my PB&J’s. I also enjoy simply whole (or sliced) as a snack or as a part of my lunch.
5. Fresh fruit snack: My girls get an afternoon snack of sliced fruit of their choice or some mixed fresh fruit salad. They decide. : )
So far so good! The fruit salad has melded into a wonderful combination of flavors and the addition of lemon juice give it a nice tanginess. I haven’t had any spoilage or mess on my counter or in my refrigerator drawer. This careful monitoring and planned usage is going well.
Feel free to click on the linked fruits: apples, bananas, grapes, blueberries… for nutritional info. and benefits provided in my Food of the Month (FOTM) blog archives. : )
What do you do to keep your fruits fresh, inviting and part of your daily diet?
Every now and then you just got to sit back and enjoy. Forget the rules and live a little. Maybe I should be teaching my toddlers some manners, but this was too much fun. Check out how Ailish takes a bite of Julia’s apple slice, Julia makes it clear it is hers and then Julia proceeds to Indian give Ailish a bite of her pear. Hey, at least they are eating fruit (not junk food) and enjoying it!!
How do you encourage fruit in your child’s diet? How do you make sure you get in enough fruit?