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 food...so 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!