It’s been a little over a year since I posted a blog. I just wasn’t really certain what I wanted to blog about. I didn’t want to be set on blogging about just nutrition. Yes nutrition is a big part of my life. I try to eat healthy and instill healthy eating into my kids, even if they are 3 and 1.
I have had some people ask me how I get my son, Tyler, to eat healthy. First, I should start by saying that Tyler will eat a whole red or orange pepper like you would eat an apple. People are amazed that a 3 year old would do that. This past summer we went to the farmers market in our city. Tyler saw a green pepper with some red on it and wanted it. So we bought it for him. It was a huge pepper. He started eating it on the way back to the car. As we were walking people kept saying look at that boy eating that pepper. It’s not everyday you see a 3 year old eating a pepper like and apple. To me its normal.
Tyler will ask me for frozen vegetables to eat all the time. Why he likes them frozen instead of cooked is beyond me. When Tyler was a baby I tried not to give him any sweets until his first birthday. I think I was pretty successful in doing so. I didn’t do anything really special when he was a baby, food wise. I did the normal cereal then vegetables, fruit and then meats. I would give him vegatables and fruit for lunch and dinner along with whatever we were eating. He would sometimes get fruit as a snack as well. One of the things to eating healthy is not having junk food or sweets in your house. We rarely have sweet and junk food at our house. I don’t want you to think that we never eat sweets or junk food, we do, just not every day. Moderation is key. Now that Tyler is three, almost 4, he still asks for fruits and vegetables for a snack, oh and cheese. He has rarely if ever asked me for candy or junk food. I hope that my daughter, Ariana, will have the same eating habits as him.
Portion sizes over the years have gotten bigger and bigger. As a result so has the waistline of many American’s. Here’ a link to a website showing how portions have changed from 20 years ago.
A coke used to be an 8oz bottle and now they come in 20 oz bottles. A bagel was 3 inches in diameter and now they are 5-6 inches in diameter and 200 or more calories. Not only has portion sizes increased but so has our plates, cups and bowls. The average size of our plates today are 12-13 inches in diameter, compared to 9 inches in the 1960’s. I just measured our plates and they are 11 inches in diameter. With added portion sizes and bigger plates comes more food and more overeating. Did all these changes help to contribute to the obesity epidemic? I think so…but that’s another topic for another day.
So how do you know what is considered a portion size?
3 oz of meat (chicken, beef) is the size of a deck of cards
3oz of fish is the size of a checkbook
2 tablespoons of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball
1 cup of fruit/ vegetable and a medium size piece of fruit is the size of your fist
1 cup of salad is the size of a baseball
1 oz of cheese is the size of 3 dice
1 oz of nuts is the size of a handful (not overflowing)
1 pancake is the size of a cd
1/3-1/2cup pasta or rice is the size of an ice cream scoop
1 baked potato is the size of a computer mouse
These are just some examples. Here a link with a printable handout from the American Heart Association.
So the next time you are at a restaurant you can compare the portion sizes of your meal to what a real portion should be. When you do eat out you can always split a meal with someone or ask for a to go bag as soon as you get your meal and put half of your meal in the bag.
Image via Wikipedia
Thanksgiving is in two weeks. I can’t believe it! Thanksgiving is a time for family, giving thanks to the people in our lives and eating. For most people it will be eating too much! Turkey will be the main food consumed along with sweet potatoes, dressing, cranberries and pumpkin pie! Our Thanksgiving consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, corn, cranberries, sweet potato casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie and Hershey chocolate pie. My family has two Thanksgivings, one on my side and one on my husband’s side, on the weekend after Thanksgiving. It is nice to have them spaced apart so we aren’t eating two huge meals in one day, which many families do end up doing. Football is another Thanksgiving tradition. I personally don’t care for NFL football, but others do and will watch the game after eating. Some people may fall asleep while watching the game. As many people know turkey contains tryptophan which is an amino acid needed for growth and nitrogen balance. The body uses it make niacin and serotonin. Serotonin helps to promote healthy sleep and stable mood. So that is why many people fall asleep after eating large quantities of turkey.
Some helpful tips for not overeating on Thanksgiving :
1. Eat breakfast, don’t starve yourself all day so you can overeat at meal time.
2. Drink plenty of water. Drink a glass before your meal and drink in between bites.
3. Only have one serving of each, DON’T go back for seconds.
4. Fill your plate with half fruits and vegetables, 1/3 meat and 1/3 grain.
5. If you have dessert have a small serving, skip the whip cream on the pumpkin pie.
6. Go for a walk after your meal or before to help burn some calories! ( it may also help you from falling asleep after eating turkey!)
These are just some tips to help overeating. They are good for most meals also. Don’t think that just because it is a holiday you need to stuff yourself full. Moderation and portion control is the key! Maybe my next post should be on portion control!
I enjoy eating out and never really thought about the kids menu until I had my own. Once Tyler, my son, was old enough to eat solids I found it hard to find good food for him to eat when we went out to eat. I would usually bring some fruit and vegetables with me when we would go out to eat because many restaurants either have one or the other. It is very rare to find restaurants with both fruits and vegetables as an option. When we were on vacation in Myrtle Beach we went to a bar and grill type of restaurant and they had no fruit, vegetables or even milk. Now how can you not have milk? I don’t even think they had a kid’s menu come to think of it. I was totally appalled. Most of the food options were not very healthy either. I wish I could remember the name of the place, it was in Surfside beach. But there are some restaurants that we have been to that have offered both fruits and vegetables. Bob Evan’s has a good assortment of vegetables and fruit! They even have other offering besides the standard grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese, hot dog, chicken fingers that all restaurants have. They have grilled chicken, shrimp, and a fruit and yogurt plate, which Tyler likes. Another good place is Sunny Street Cafe, I think this is mainly local, but they have a good selection of meals for kids. Many restaurants like Applebee’s,O’ Charley’s, Olive Garden, Cheeseburger in Paradise only have vegetables as an option, if that. Olive Garden only had a salad. Even if you do get vegetable from a place they put so much butter and other stuff to distort the taste that it makes the nutritional value go down. I usually try to tell them just to steam it and not put anything on it. We went to Max and Erma’s one time and I ordered broccoli for Tyler and he wouldn’t eat it because they put so much butte on it. He isn’t used to eating broccoli that way. My family and I maybe eat out once a week. It is just so hard sometimes to find good and healthy things for my child to eat when we go out. I usually bring some fruit or a vegetable with me when we go out. It helps to hold him over until our food comes also.
The above restaurants are just a few of the places we have been and what I have observed eating there. I just wish that most restaurants would offer more of a selection of fruit and vegetables, let alone more of a meal option. Why do places have to have the same old same old for kids? Do they think that is all kids want to eat? Well if they don’t have other options, then yes I guess that is what they will have to eat.