Sunday, August 31, 2008


Somehow my role as family nutritionist has been hitting me hard lately. I feel a little overwhelmed when I realize just how much my decisions and plans effect 5 people's health and well being each day. I also realize that what they learn from my choices will influence their choices for the rest of their lives. Ahh! The magnitude of the small parts of motherhood!

Recently I watched the movie "Supersize Me." I'm no fast-food junkie, in fact I know it makes me feel yuck so I'm really not drawn to it. But, that combined with the increasing amount of time that I seem to be spent planning, shopping, making, feeding and cleaning up food has lead me to this new awareness.

It makes me wish I had gotten a degree in health and nutrition or at least taken a class or two. I realize how little I know about carbohydrates, calories and trans fats. So I find myself doing the next best thing...I keep checking out various books relating to nutrition in an effort to glean knowledge that will maybe help me make better choices.

Here's a few books that I feel have taught me some good things:

I was very skeptical about hiding veggies from my kids. But after I read this I realized how much just a addition here and there can make a difference. I still serve veggies seperately because I think they need to learn to try and like things. But my reading lead me to actually pull out my blender and food processor and start freezing pureed veggies. I haven't actually tried any recipes from the book but I've tried to take the concept and add a little here and there when I don't think it will have a negative impact on the recipe. Recipes that use spaggetti sauce are the ones that I've tried altering the most.

My puree-ing craze began at the same time that Alice started eating baby food so now I find myself spending about 1 hour a month throwing stuff into the blender. Then I freeze it in 1/4 cup portions in snack bags. Wahlah! Baby much easier than I ever thought and just think how much cheeper it is!

Here's another one I ran into by accident at the library the other day. I'm really excited to try some of her ideas. I think I'm going to try making "yogurt cheese" to replace stuff like mayo, ranch, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. I like that this book is very geared towards the less knowledgable nutritionists like me! It explains basic stuff like why I should switch my salt to sea salt and ideas for replacing white sugar with a healthy alternative sweetner. She also gives me basic formulas for trying to plan healthier meals...a complex carbohydrate + a lean protein. (Yes, I thought I was already basically doing that but it turns out I could improve).

A couple others that I have leafed through recently have been "Healthy Foods" by Ely and "Lunch Lessons" by Cooper.

I find that in wanting to throw out snacks and food that is "good" and replace it with something that is "better" my hesitation comes in not knowing what to replace it with and how to make that yummy for kids. These books are all giving me great new ideas. Now I just have to put them into practice!

If you have any great tips on how you've become a better nutritionist for your family...speak up! I'd love to hear!


melbel said...

We used to go through boxes of fruit snacks...until I really looked at the sugar content. Holy moly! With up to 3 or 4 packages per day, my kids were getting lots of extra sugar!! So we've switched to raisins and only get fruit snacks as a bribe or for long road trips. I feel accomplished. Someday I might get to the pureeing veggies part. I begged for and got Deceptively Delicious for Christmas last year, but haven't given it a go just yet. You'll have to tell me your favorite recipes for me to get motivated! (ps, I have put pureed carrots in a turkey meat loaf and it was great! I'll have to do it in the spaghetti too!)

Becky & Gerald said...

I read a book called, "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" this summer and I think it's changed my life! You can borrow it if you'd like - it's not a cookbook but it will really open your eyes to the power of agribusiness in our country!

Jeni said...

I have Deceptively Delicious and really liked the few recipes that I've tried so far. I have gotten lazy and haven't pureed veggies for a while, but doing a ton at a time and freezing them in serving-sized baggies helps a lot.

Little L's said...

Thanks JaNae for these book suggestions. I've been thinking about this lately, as my meal ideas get more boring each week. I'll have to check them out at the library and give them a try.

Brenlyn said...

I recently checked out Deceptively Delicious from the library and tried a few recipes. Some were better than others, but the concept is good. I think you could hide a little bit of some kind of vegetable in just about anything. We liked the "Tortilla Cigars." Can't say I like the name of the recipe, but they're just like a chicken taquito. They're similar to a taquito recipe I make and freeze for quick meals, with the addition of carrot and yellow squash puree. Tons better than those trans fat laden wonders from Sam's club or Costco. Great post, JaNae. I love looking at your blog!