Dr. Dae offers advice on healthy meal planning that any one can incorporate into a busy life. There are perfect suggestions for Game Ready Moms with useful info. Here are questions she answered for us. She’ll join us on 2/23 at 9 pm ET! To listen or ask questions, log in here or call in to (619) 639-4681!
What are your recommendations for healthy meal planning for the family?
- What are the healthiest foods to prepare?
- How do you get your kids to eat healthy?
- My kids are hungry all of the time, what should l do?
- How can you eat healthy on a budget?
- What are examples are good examples snacks that are healthy and mobile?
Q: What are your recommendations for healthy meal planning for the family?
A: The most crucial step is planning! Most families take time to plan their vacations, their time off from school, the activities for the week and carpool schedules but leave the family meal to 5 minutes before they want to put food on the table. Planning meals needs to have the same attention to detail as planning out all of the other activities for the family. If you don’t plan for healthy meals they will not happen. Instead you will serve highly processed foods, fast foods, or delivery every night. If you take one hour a week to think about meal choices, it can make all the difference in the health of your family. Some families are able to cook every night and some families cannot. For those with hectic weeknight schedules I recommend spending a few hours every weekend to cook for the week and put the meals in containers that can be pulled out every day to serve the family. Prepared foods are another option at many grocery stores today too. Finally, there are meal services where they can deliver or you can go and put meals together the establishment in containers and then pull them out to heat the night you will eat.
Q: What are the healthiest foods to prepare?
A: The best diet for the whole family is always a whole foods diet! Whole foods are foods that are most closely associated with the way they are found in nature. Whole foods are nutrient-dense, which means they have the essentials vitamins and nutrients that athletes need to have optimal performance. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and lean meats, poultry, fish and diary are examples of whole foods. Proteins, both animal and plant based, are a requirement for daily nutrition.
- Meats should be organic, grass-fed or free range and nitrate free whenever possible. It is advisable to avoid pork because of the high concentration of toxins in the meat.
- Red meats should be lean and be limited to once per week.
- Eggs, chicken, turkey or poultry should be lean whenever possible.
- Fish are best if they are cold water because they have the most essential fatty acids – cod, flounder, halibut, herring, mackeral, mahi mahi, red snapper, salmon, swordfish, trout, or tuna. Any fish with scales is fine. Best cooking methods are baked, broiled, or roasted.
- Good choices among nuts are almonds, pecans, walnuts, and cashews. Eat peanuts and macadamia nuts sparingly.
- Examples of legumes: pinto beans, Navy beans, green peas, string beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, chick peas (garbanzo beans), lima beans, and soy beans (tofu).
- Examples of whole grains are steel cut oats, millet, barley, brown rice, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, couscous, spelt, bran, or corn.
Q: How do you get your kids to eat healthy?
A: If parents are eating healthy children usually follow suit. Children like to do whatever they see their parents do so if the parents are committed to healthy behaviors children will be too. Children have to be introduced to foods at least 20 times before they decide if they really like something. So if they don’t like something steamed, they might like it sautéed or raw. If they don’t like something curried, they might like it baked with BBQ sauce. Create an environment where you encourage trying new things. Make a game out of it and if they try 5 new things they get to pick the family movie. Hide veggies in sandwiches or wraps with all their favorite foods. With chili or nachos, you can add beans to the chili sauce. Add fresh fruit to pancake batter or on top of the pancakes. There are many ways to put whole foods into what your family already eats. Over time, in approximately 6-12 months you will notice children are eating more whole foods and have more energy and less illness.
Q: My kids are hungry all of the time, what should l do?
A: This is a great question! Children, especially athletes tend to have high metabolism so they are hungry all of the time. Balanced meals and snacks fill up people for 3-4 hours at a time. Foods that have fiber in them help to fill children up. Only plant-based foods have fiber so you have to have some fruits and veggies as part of their meals and snacks. Highly processed foods do not have fiber and cause kids to be hungry shortly after eating. Let me give you some examples, sugar cereals are processed and cause kids to be hungry soon after breakfast. I high fiber cereal with 1-2 cups of fruit on top will last much longer. Protein is also important to help fill up your child. Adding nuts to the high fiber cereal or a piece of lean sausage is a good complement too. For lunch, having a wrap with hummus spread, chicken pieces, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes inside with an apple is more filling than ready made lunch pack with meat with crackers. I hope you can get the picture.
Q: How can you eat healthy on a budget?
A: Health foods are not always as expensive as they seem. While it is wonderful if you can buy everything organic, it is not necessary. You can go to ewg.org to find the list of the most important things to by organic. Basically, fruits and veggies that have a covering are usually fine to buy non-organic. Beans and whole grains, which are staples in many traditions cultures, are usually very inexpensive and filling. Frozen vegetables and seasonal vegetables can be less expensive or on sale if you plan by looking at the weekly sales at the grocery stores. In the spring and summer months if you have a patch of land or a place for big pots, you should try to grow your own lettuce or vegetables. When children are involved in the growing process they are more likely to try and eat new foods. It doesn’t take a lot of time to grow by they will continue to yield meal after meal after meal.
Q: What are examples are good examples snacks that are healthy and mobile?
A: One of my favorite snacks for children and adults are fruit and vegetable smoothies. I love smoothies because you can tailor them to the taste buds of your family members. Eating a smoothie give your family fiber, phytonutrients and electrolytes to help athletes recover after a workout. Smoothies are very quick to prepare taking only minutes. It doesn’t require cooking so children can even make it themselves if you are not home. Most humans like some type of fruit so you can buy what your family likes and keep that in the house for easy preparation. All grocery stores have frozen fruits that you can pick up to have available. Bananas help to thicken the smoothie and give it nice texture. My secret ingredient for any smoothie can be a leaf of romaine lettuce it usually can be blended without your children’s knowledge and it adds a serving of vegetables into your family. For athletes or anyone that wants to build muscle you can add protein powders (Whey, Soy, Rice or another plant based protein) to your fruit and vegetable smoothies to give it more impact.
Fruit is always a good sweet choice for the family.
I love ½ cup of trail mixes too. These are easy to carry in a backpack or a purse. Many people incorrectly stay away from nuts because they have too much fat or they are high in calories. While nuts do have fat they have the good fat that is important for the development of male and female hormones. It is also the backbone of cortisol the stress hormone that is needed by all athletes when they need to use short burst of energy like sprinting for football, soccer or basketball players. It also has fiber, which is necessary for appropriate release of toxins. It can help stave off hunger until you can get home and have a proper meal instead of being so hungry that you eat junk food.
If you and your family like crunchy snacks I love popping popcorn and having that as a snack. It is low in calories and high in fiber. You can add topping like the same herbs you put on pizza with parmesan cheese and have a satisfying snack.
About the Author
Dr. Dae (Dr. Daemon Jones) is a naturopathic physician who has a mission to give people practical tips to create a healthy life. In addition to patient consulting, Dr. Dae is a contributing writer to Empowher.com, a subject matter expert speaker, adjunct faculty member for university and professional trainings and author. Dr. Dae first book Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Health is available on Amazon.com and her website. She provides patients with excellent care and unwavering compassion.
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