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I am very excited to start this blog series. I hope you are all just as excited.
So, a little about me, again, for those who are new: I am a Diplomat of Oriental Medicine. What does that mean? I have a Masters Degree in Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, and Nutrition. I love food! I love cooking, eating, and understanding it. I take it very seriously. So much so, that I can't let my husband go grocery shopping. I have a problem, it's okay, I admit it. As seriously as I take it, especially when it comes to what my kids eat, I try to keep it fun. I make up new recipes and I include my kids.
What is my Nutritional Philosophy?
Ah, so glad you asked. I believe all foods have a place. I understand nutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, etc...), and know they each have their place and there is a balance. I also understand constitutional and therapeutic uses of foods from my Oriental Medicine background. I try to implement them in my life and with my family. I believe food should be eaten at its source. Cheetos are not food, soda is not food. When I say the word food, I mean real food, whole food, food close to the source. In my mind, if you are eating foods that are grown, raised and fed the way nature intended then they provide a balance of nutrition that is healthy. I do not follow any special diet (Paleo, Vegetarian, etc...). I do like the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and do try to implement them in my meal planning and daily nutrition, in addition to principles of Oriental Nutrition. I am a realist, and understand time constraints, picky kids, and oops-unplanned impromptu meals.
So, How does this transfer in my kids lunchbox?
Your right, let's get to the point here. I could spend all day talking nutritional principles and philosophies. With kids it's tricky, I agree. You can try and teach them until you're blue in the face that the lunch you packed is healthy, but if it doesn't taste good, they are not going to eat it. As parents it becomes a game of give and take. Letting them have a couple of the things they like, and balancing it with the healthier things.
When I am packing my kids lunchbox, I keep in mind their favorite meals that I make, the vegetables and fruits that they love, and try to incorporate those. If I am adding something new, I make it a small portion and add it in with other things they love.
I also try and plan ahead when I have time. Sunday's I like to prep for the week. I make a couple of dishes that are easy lunchbox food. Yesterday I made Chicken and Leek Salad, and Homemade Granola. The Granola I made is from Sarah Wilson's Cookbook "I Quit Sugar." It is her CocoNutty Granola, and it is AWESOME!
I also let her pick something out. Usually it is one of her snacks, but sometimes its part of her lunchbox.
I also make it a point to discuss her lunchbox with her in the morning so there are no surprises. I tell her what I made, what she has and what is new for her to try. I think this helps with the new stuff more than anything.
We also have the after school snack rule: If you didn't eat your lunchbox and packed snacks, those are your after school snack. I dislike wasting food.
We have had our lunchbox ups and downs too. My house is not perfect, and I do not pretend that it is. My oldest daughter is a great eater, and 90% of time makes wise food choices, but there are periods where she becomes a typical, picky, I-Don't-Like-That child, even to foods she previously loved.
We went through a period a couple of months ago where she was not eating her lunches, AT ALL! She, would come home tired and starving. As parents we tried the "There are starving kids in Syria," (I remember my parents using that tactic, expect it was Africa), we tried the "no snacks when you get home if you don't eat your lunch," route, we even tried just making junky lunches (to our standards) so she would eat SOMETHING. Nothing! We did a bribe. We made a deal. Pokemon Cards are big at her school, so we made a deal that if she ate all her lunch for a week we would get her a pack of cards. That was the winner. She was so proud of her accomplishments that week, came home everyday and showed me her empty lunchbox. We talked about how she felt now that she was eating all her food, and that she had afternoon energy, she felt better, wasn't starving, etc... We haven't had a problem since.
Will this method work for everyone? No! Do I think everyone should bribe there kids with material items? No! But, if you can do what you need to do to get your kids to eat their lunches and TEACH them along the way, it's a win in my book.
Today was full of some of my daughters favorites, and some not so favorites.
For M1 I provide a Main Lunch, and 2 snacks for school. They have two snack times throughout the day. I like this, and most of her lunches may look small to some people, but by providing two snack times and a lunch, we/they are teaching her to eat multiple small meals throughout the day. This helps provide sustainable energy without blood sugar ups and downs (as long as she actually eats!)