TwitterRSS
Or, subscribe via email

Supporting

Let's Talk Babies!

healthy eating

Walking through the grocery store pushing a shopping cart, trying to remember all the things on your list that you forgot to bring with you and trying to stay on budget all while wrangling your children can make for a chaotic grocery shopping experience.  It can be easy to skip over the healthy stuff and just grab what is quick and easy.  We all want to eat more healthy foods, give our children healthy snack options and cook healthy, flavorful meals, but it isn’t always easy to focused on that while being tempted by so many unhealthy, yummy alternatives at the grocery store.

There are a few tricks to navigating the grocery store so that you stay on task (buying healthy foods for your family):

  • Always make a list.  Determine what meals you will prepare before hand so you know what ingredients to buy and so you won’t be tempted by easy, prepared foods.
  • Shop on a full stomach.  It is a lot easier to be tempted by unhealthy food options when your stomach is growling.
  • Know what the healthy options are in each section of the store.
    • Breads: look for whole wheat or whole grain options.  Also look for breads that offer lots of fiber.
    • Pastas, cereals and rice: look for whole grain options, and options that are lower in sugar.
    • Produce:  you can’t go wrong in this section.  Be generous and fill your cart with lots of fruits and veggies.
    • Dairy: looks for low fat options such as skim or 1% for milk, yogurt and cheeses.
    • Meat: look for lean poultry and fish.  Limit your red meats and when you do purchase red meats opt for lean cuts.
    • Snacks: Limit the processed snacks you purchase.  Look for baked options and light popcorn.
  • Try to buy for the full week or two weeks so you can avoid additional trips to the store.  You are more likely to purchase extra, unhealthy items the more often you are at the store.

The key is to know what you want before you get there, filling your cart with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy so there isn’t much room for unhealthy sugary or salty snacks.  I always forget to make a list, but when I do I find a make much better food choices and am much less likely to have to go back to the store again for stuff I forgot.

What tricks do you use to navigate the grocery store so that you are making healthy choices?

Maya loves to eat, she will try almost any food you put in front of her.  She loves food and isn’t afraid to try new things.  It hasn’t always been that way though.  For a while there I thought we might be destined to deal with an insanely picky eater forever.  But somewhere along the way she became transformed into this eating machine :)

When Maya was about 5 months old I started introducing her to solid foods.  I started out with rice cereal as recommended by our pediatrician.  She was not impressed by any stretch of the imagination.  The face she is making in this photo is one I saw every time I stuck a spoon in her mouth (assuming she would open her mouth and let me put the spoon in, in the first place).

food yuck

There were very few baby foods she would eat.  I could occasionally get her to eat peas, squash, this pre-mixed peach cereal stuff in a jar and prunes, but that was it.  She hated applesauce, all baby cereals, and most veggies.  For quite sometime she lived on breast milk alone because she wouldn’t even open her mouth to try anything.

Things got a little easier when we introduced finger foods.  She loved those Gerber Puffs, the freeze dried yogurt thingys, cheerios and peaches.   I think for a while there she would have been happy to live on peaches :)

MMM peaches

We struggled with her eating, or lack there of, for a while.  She wouldn’t try anything.  The few things she would eat just didn’t cut it as meals and didn’t give her enough of the nutrients she needed.  When it finally came time to wean her completely from breastfeeding I was worried that she wasn’t going to get enough to eat, that she would starve because she refused to eat anything.

She didn’t starve.  As a matter of fact she started slowly doing much better in the eating department.  There were several things we did that helped her,  including; not making any meal time a battle, if she wanted to eat great, if not, fine.  We continued to provide her lots of healthy options at each meal.  I started letting her choose what she was going to eat for breakfast and lunch and we basically just let her control her own eating.

One day I realized that I no longer had a picky eater.  Instead my daughter had been transformed into a good eater.  She is the type of kid you can take out to dinner with you and not have to worry about what will be on the menu.  This past weekend we even took her out for sushi with us.  Now, granted, she didn’t much care for the actual sushi but she loved the miso soup and the japanese house salad :)  Watching her eat this weekend I was proud of her for being so willing to try new things.  I was proud of us for sticking with it and helping transform her into an amazing little eating machine.  She even used chop sticks :)

010_640x480

013_640x480

004_640x480

Finding out you can now eat for two may seem like a free ticket to dive right into all those foods you have been avoiding to benefit your waistline.  However, like everything else with pregnancy what you eat requires some extra thought.  A healthy pregnancy is important to all of us and the food choices you make play a big role in a healthy pregnancy.  Both you and your growing baby will benefit from a healthy diet during pregnancy.

There are a few things that you should avoid during pregnancy as they are harmful to both you and your baby.  Be sure to talk to your doctor early in your pregnancy about your eating habits and what you should be avoiding based on your specific pregnancy.

Eating for Two: The Don’ts:

  • Don’t drink alcohol during pregnancy.  No amount of alcohol has been deemed safe during pregnancy.
  • Don’t eat raw fish or meat.
  • Don’t overdo it on the caffeine, try to keep it under 2 cups a day.  Most doctors will advise that it is OK to drink caffeine in moderations during pregnancy, however, you should make sure it is OK for you.
  • Don’t drink herbal tea.  There have not been any studies done on the effects of herbs on the growing fetus.  Also, some herbs consumed in large doses have been found to cause contractions and may lead to miscarriage.
  • Don’t take any nutritional supplements without first consulting your doctor.
  • Don’t eat fish high in mercury, including: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and some tuna.
  • Don’t drink unpasteurized milk or eat cheese made with unpasteurized milk, including: brie, feta, blue cheese or camembert.
  • Avoid cold cut meats as they can carry food born illnesses.

Early in your pregnancy your doctor will likely have a conversation with you about all the things you need to avoid during your pregnancy.  If he or she does not bring it up be sure to ask.  The more you know the easier it will be to make wise food choices.  See my recent article on The Do’s of pregnancy eating for all the good things you can eat during pregnancy :)

Finding out you are pregnant and can now “eat for two” may sending you flying to the cupboard to eat a few extra cookies or enjoy that bag of chips you have been avoiding, or send you out the door to McDonald’s for a Big Mac and extra large fries!  However, you may want to give your food choices a little more thought.   Although you are eating for two it is important to make healthy food choices during pregnancy.  A pregnancy that includes a healthy diet is a benefit to both mother and baby.

Healthy eating habits developed during pregnancy mean it will probably be easier for you to lose the baby weight after your little one arrives.  You are also less likely to gain too much weight during pregnancy, which can lead to complications.  Plus, that growing life inside of you needs all those good nutrients to grow big and strong.

Eating for Two Do’s:

  • Eat a variety of foods at meal and snack times including: fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Take a daily prenatal vitamin.  Talk to your doctor about which one he or she recommends for you.
  • Watch your calorie intake.  It is recommended that pregnant women consume an additional 300 calories per day during pregnancy.
  • Limit the portion size and amount of high fat foods and sweets you consume.  Indulge a little but be mindful of how much you are eating.
  • Add a little extra fiber to your diet to help prevent constipation (a common problem during pregnancy).
  • Drink plenty of fluids (especially water).  It is very important to stay hydrated.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about any special needs you may have with your pregnancy diet.  He or she will be able to advice you on what foods are OK for you to eat, how much weight you should gain during pregnancy, and any other special instructions.

One thing I did during my pregnancy was to make sure I had plenty of healthy snacks at work with me, things like fruit, crackers, granola bars, cut up fresh veggies.  I was able to avoid eating a lot of high fat, high calorie snacks by planning ahead :)