Monday, March 14, 2011
Fill in the gaps in your kids nutrition! Here's how I do it:
I mentioned last week that March is National Nutrition Month! Since becoming a mom over 2 years ago, I have gotten more in tune to nutrition and wellness. It's funny that we tend to not care about these things for ourselves as much as we do once we become parents. At least that is true for me.
I started pureeing vegetables and fruit for my toddler when he started solids and am now doing it for my 7 mo. old. I found that it isn't difficult and takes only a little extra time each week. I freeze the purees in ice cube trays. This not only saves us money on baby food, but also gives us peace of mind knowing exactly what is in the food and what nutrients our kids are getting.
My toddler is a pretty good eater, but he has his picky moments too. I have found Jessica Seinfeld's book "Deceptively Delicious" to be helpful with those moments.
She has some great ideas and recipes where you add pureed fruits and veggies into meals. Since I have been pureeing foods for my 7 month old, I am able to add those to Jessica's recipes or to recipes of my own. My 2 year old loves pasta, esp. mac and cheese. One of the ways to make this a little healthier is to make my own, using whole wheat pasta. But another way is to add some pureed sweet potatoes. He doesn't seem to notice or mind and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Jessica has some mac and cheese recipes too using pureed cauliflower, butternut squash or white beans. Not a bad way to sneak in some good stuff!
Although I do my best to give my toddler good nutritious foods, the truth is, he doesn't always eat them. In order to "fill in the gaps" in our kid's nutrition, both of my kids take good quality vitamin supplements for children.
These really help to take the guess work out of their nutrition. They are also a great drug-free approach for prevention of illness. We are happy to put our money into the vitamins for our family, rather then into the doctor visits, antibiotics, etc. I should also mention that good hand washing is another excellent preventative measure.
I am very happy to say that my kids have never had an ear infection and only a few mild colds and hardly ever a runny nose. After seeing post after post on my facebook from my friends about ear infections and colds with their kids, I am realizing that this isn't the norm with young kids. Our 7 mo. was 6 weeks premature, had pneumonia in the NICU, was on a ventilator to breathe and the doctors told us that he would have a lot of respiratory issues early on. The only thing he has had was a little cold when he was 2 mo. and it came and went within 2 days! We are so thankful for that! I nurse him, so I am comfortable knowing he has also been getting the vitamins and nutrients that I take through my breastmilk which includes protein powder. Dr. Shaklee used to say that if you are only able to take one supplement, choose the protein as it is the building block of all cells. It is essential for kids as they have intense tissue development during this time, it builds antibodies and is necessary for brain development. It has been an easy addition to my 2 year old's yogurt or oatmeal. I am truly very thankful for these supplements that help to keep my entire family healthy!
When talking about children's health, I should mention the importance of keeping a healthy home. I have written a few blog posts about the non-toxic natural cleaners that I use.
I wrote about how I went from 20+ toxic cleaners to only 3 non-toxic ones here. Many illnesses such as asthma and allergies are on the rise with kids. One theory is that this is because of the toxins that they are exposed to at home through household cleaners and laundry products. I really believe that one of the reasons why my 7 mo. old preemie has not had the respiratory issues that the NICU doctors predicted for him, is because he is not exposed to the harsh chemicals at home. My very favorite cleaner, Basic H2 has been a lifesaver when it comes to cleaning. I love it because it has SO many uses, is so concentrated so it saves us money (one bottle lasts forever!), and is completely safe for my entire family and for the environment too, AND it works really well! For example, only 1-2 drops of Basic H2 with 16 oz of water will give you a terrific window/glass cleaner! I love it so much and wish that every family, esp. ones with young children, would use Basic H2 to clean their home. If you are interested in trying it I will send you a sample. Switching brands to Shaklee's Get Clean products will help to keep your family healthy and save you money at the same time. You can't beat that! :)
Whew! Another post packed with info. I hope you enjoyed reading it and gained some ideas as to how to keep the kids in your life healthier. Thanks for reading and have a healthy week!