Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: healthy eating

Why Gardening Is Good For Your Health

Okay, I will be honest, I don’t garden. But I know a lot of parents like to do this with their children, and I just posted that article the other day about how to get kids eating healthy. One of the suggestions was letting kids grow their own vegetables and fruits. So sticking with that theme, check out this cool infographic from WhatShed? 

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Packed Lunch Pleasers: Creating a Balanced Lunchbox

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During a day at school, your child has a lot of work to do and concepts to focus on. From the time they spend learning new things and soaking up information, to their fun on the playground with their friends, they’re constantly working and burning energy. This makes the food they eat incredibly important, and it’s something you may want to consider when packing your child’s lunch. To help you out with this, let’s explore some of the elements, which should be included in any balanced lunchbox. 

  • The Main Course

The main course of their lunch is the most important of all. This part of their meal not only needs to satisfy their nutritional requirements, but also has to be good enough for them to eat all of it. Sandwiches are a typical choice here, as they are easy to make healthy, while also including various food groups. Besides sandwiches, though, you could think about some pasta or rice dishes, which can be served cold without causing any complaints. Your child needs protein, fiber, and vitamins to make it through their afternoon, and this course can help with all three.

  • Some Additional Snacks

Of course, you’ll probably want to put more than just one item in their lunchbox. Along with the main course, most parents will also include some snacks in their kids’ meal. Chips are a very common choice, here. But, in reality, these aren’t the best for a child at school. Instead, crackers, vegetables, and other healthy snacks can take their place. It’s best to make sure that nothing in their lunch is too heavy on their stomachs. Otherwise, they could struggle to move around after lunch or stay awake in the classroom.

  • Something Sweet

Most lunchboxes will also include a sweet item or two, giving your children the chance to take on some instant energy. The way that you deliver this sort of treat is incredibly important to consider. Too much of the wrong sugars can lead to hyperactivity in children, and this is not what you want during their school day. To avoid this, fruits, yogurts, and other healthy sweets can be used, replacing chocolate bars and candy. Most kids will be happy to munch down on these kinds of treats. It’s just a matter of making the change, even if you have to think outside of the box to do it.

  • Drinks

Finally, it’s time to think about the drinks you send your child to school with. While they’re learning, they will need to remain hydrated to keep concentration levels up. To make this easier, fruit water and diluted drinks can be used as a healthy alternative to fruit juices and sodas. Not only will this help your children in the quest to stay hydrated, but it will also keep them happy, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to try some new things in your children’s lunchboxes. Of course, the food they eat can impact your child’s education if he or she has trouble concentrating because of hunger or lack of nutrition. So, it’s worth creating a healthy lunch for your child! What have you found that works for your child’s lunch? 

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Do You Have a Fussy Eater On Your Hands? These Tips Might Help

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Children are notoriously fussy in this day and age. So many mothers feel like they share something in common if their child is fussy with their food. Some children are worse than others; and while many parents try to figure out what they may have done wrong,  there really is no rhyme or reason as to why children develop such funny aversions to certain foods. That being said, there are some ways you can combat the fussiness and try and improve things for the better. I thought I would share with you some of the tips that may help.

Plant some fruit trees and vegetables

Many children like to get involved in everything, and many of them love spending time in the great outdoors. So take advantage of this exploring nature and do a little gardening with them. Plant some fruit trees or vegetable plants, and watch them grow together. This could help you to encourage children to try new things that they grew themselves, but what if you end up with a bumper harvest? Things like a pressure canner can help you preserve excessive fruit and vegetables, which means things like wastage become a thing of the past, and it may even save you some money in the process.  

Make the food more fun and appealing

One thing many parents struggle with is making the food look appealing. However, if it visually looks good, it may encourage children to try more foods. If the plate is uninviting, then children are less likely to want to eat it. Parents have great success with making smiley faces or little scenes on the plate. It might be worth a try. Thankfully, you can find a little inspiration online on websites like Pinterest.

Encourage them to cook with you

I think a great idea is to try and get your children to cook along with you. After all, they may love the idea of doing something with you (same idea as the gardening) and getting involved in the kitchen. It might be as simple as letting them put things in bowls or measuring out ingredients. Depending on their age, you can start to teach them new cooking skills. If they make it, they may be more enticed to eat it.

Relax during meal times

Many parents need to relax during meal time because children can sense tension and the anticipation that goes along with trying new foods. You may find that feeling frustrated with mealtimes, or even being over the top with emotions, can perhaps hinder your chances of success. Relax and go with the flow. 

A rewards chart

A reward chart may not work for everyone,but there have been many success stories of trying charts, specifically for new foods. Perhaps a sticker for every time they try a new food or finish their meal.

Positive encouragement

Finally, It is always good to remain positive and give positive encouragement when it is due. Sometimes, we can focus too much on the negative side of things, and this can have the opposite effect of what we are trying to achieve–getting children to be less fussy at mealtime. 

Perhaps you have more ideas to share. I would love to hear them.

 

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4 Tips to Control What Goes In and Comes Out of Your Mouth

I made a sign for my bulletin board that said: “THINK: Before food goes in and words come out!” One night after I binged on potato chips and dip (my favorite comfort snack) and said something to someone I wished I had not, I jotted that down. Because we are always moving so fast and trying to accomplish so much, we often don’t give ourselves time to think. And let’s face it, the older we get and the more responsibilities we add to our plates, the more we have to make a conscious effort to think before we eat or speak.

Here are four tips I use to try to help me with this (besides keeping a sign with these words on my bulletin board):

banner-about-food-going-in-for-blog

  •  Have a confidant or confidants.

This is no-brainer. You’re going to be crabby sometimes. You’re not always going to say the right thing. People are going to piss you off.  But you really should think before you speak–you don’t want your neighbors to plan your move or your co-workers to take bets on who wants to throat punch you first. So you need a group of trusted friends, or at least one, where you can share your witty and sarcastic thoughts, instead of saying them directly to the people who are driving you crazy. I know this sounds like I’m advocating talking behind people’s backs. That’s the glass half-empty way of looking at this because everyone needs an outlet–that’s real life.

  • Don’t be around people who make you crazy.

I realize this is easier said than done. And if you can limit contact with people who drive you crazy, you won’t need to share so much with those confidants mentioned above. But there are some people in your life who you will not be able to avoid. For example–your adorable children, who can turn into little beasts when hungry, tired, and overstimulated. (This is why you need those confidants.) If it’s a co-worker who is rude, you don’t have much choice, except for the confidants or finding a new job. But I bet there are some people in your life who drive you crazy, and you don’t have to be around them. You are CHOOSING this. Why? Why are you doing this to yourself? (Look, I have been guilty, trust me–I know it is easier said than done!) If someone does not treat you with the respect and kindness you deserve, then you don’t have to be around this person. 

  • Make yourself write down the food you eat.

Now we get to the what goes in your mouth–or “a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”.  If you have trouble with your eating habits, one thing I have found to work, to be aware of what I’m doing, is to write down everything I eat/drink. After I had my daughter, I went to Weight Watchers to lose the baby weight, and I found the program worked great. I know it’s not the answer for everyone, but one of the things they preach is: keep track of the food and the portions you eat.  I had to go back to Weight Watchers–I reached my goal about 7 months after Katie was born, and then had to go back when she was 3? But I have managed to keep it all off since then (almost 3 years) and stay well below my goal weight, using the principles of being aware (most days), portion control, balanced diet, and exercise–all things I learned from WW.

  • Don’t buy food you like.

Okay, maybe I should change that to don’ t buy junk food you like. I wouldn’t have binged on those chips and dip that I mentioned above if I wouldn’t have bought them. Ah, it seems so simple–I know it’s not. But if you have only healthy snacks that satisfy you, the chances of you putting on clothes to go out and buy junk food when it is late at night and the kids are in bed are much lower.  ESPECIALLY if you think about what goes into your mouth before you put it in. 🙂

 

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