The week is off to a strange (but fun) start with Halloween. I decided to put some pork in the slow cooker for some quick tacos before heading out to trick or treat. This is my husband’s favorite.
As keeper of the food and meals, I try to give everyone at least one of their favorites each week. Last week Little D got Mac and cheese and Big A got her Tortilla pizza. This week my husband gets some meat and I get bean and hummus lasagna!
My friends make this vegetarian lasagna all the time (not vegan but close)– it’s their recipe. Even if my family doesn’t go for it, I hope it’s something I can make and freeze for myself. I could always use quick and healthy lunches the days my kids are in school and I’m working from home.
For more meal planning ideas see Org Junkie.
Monday: Carnitas with toppings
Tuesday: Hummus and black bean lasagna, with fruit and bread
Wednesday: Kids choice
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chili Chicken Verde over brown rice with roasted broccoli made earlier in the day
Friday: Homemade Pizza (not sure what kid yet — Fridays are becoming pizza days!)
Prep for the week: Make bean and cheese burritos
Snack: Pumpkin muffins!
Eat Your Healthy Foods First! What?
I started noticing when I put dark chocolate in Big A’s lunch, it comes home uneaten. Right when she walks in the door she says: “I want my chocolate, I want my chocolate.”
I didn’t quite understand why this was happening until she started saying this during meals: “Eat Your Healthy Food First.”
Me: Where did you hear that?
Her: At school.
Me: They tell you to eat healthy foods first?
Me: Do they make you eat any of the food in your lunch?
Her: No, they just say “eat your healthy foods first”
This seems pretty harmless, right? Letting kids know they have to eat healthy foods before more indulgent foods.
But I don’t love it and I’ll tell you why. I think it unintentionally creates a preference for the item kids have to hold out to eat. It’s a subtle way of rewarding children with food because in their mind it translates to: You have to eat your healthy food in order to eat the really good tasting items. Young children don’t pick up on the subtleties of language.
I try to avoid sweet foods competing with other wholesome foods in my home but for lunch, I don’t mind if my daughter eats a couple of pieces of chocolate before eating her meal. And if I did, I would not include it in her lunch.
I know this might seem kind of petty to some of you but as I dietitian I’ve witnessed, again and again, how people’s attitude towards food hurts their chances of eating healthier.
“I know what to do, I just don’t do it.”
“I know I should eat healthy but….”
“I know I should order a healthy meal at the restaurant but…”
Bottom line: healthy eating can too easily become an obligation, making it less likely to happen. Have you ever done something you enjoy, only to have it turn into an obligation, and then suddenly it loses its pleasure?
I want my kids to grow up eating healthy because they want to, not because they “should.” I provide nutritious foods more often than other fun foods, and this seems to work best. We talk about that frequency, and listening to hunger and fullness, but when it’s time to eat they get to enjoy eating with no rules.
Big A was at my mom’s and she and her cousin found some M&M’s. Her cousin, who is older, told Big A not to tell me they ate M&Ms. Big A told me she didn’t understand why he said that. “Mommy, why wouldn’t I want to tell you I ate M&Ms?”
I love that she is honest with me about what she eats outside of the home — there’s no shame in it. This helps builds the foundation for an open dialogue about food and eating for the years to come.
News: WebMD gig
I’ve started blogging over at the new WebMD blog, Real Life Nutrition. I’m excited to be writing alongside some great dietitian writers including Elizabeth Ward, Janet Helm, David Grotto, and Carolyn Brown.
So far, I’ve covered the difference between dieting and healthy behaviors (and why it matters), the not-talked-enough problem of size discrimination, and 5 steps to happier eating, which includes my personal strategy for moderation.
Well, that’s it for now. Happy Halloween!
Want to create your way to meal plan in a way that works for you? Get step-by-step help in Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution.