Guest Blog by Lisa Mikus, Dietitian Eligible
This summer Lisa interned with me, and we thought it would be cool to see how other moms across the country deal with health — making health about balance rather than dieting and being skinny.
Whether you reside on the East coast or live down South, moms all over the country have on thing in common – they are busy! Luckily, one Texas mom named Emily took the time to share her views on how she keeps her family well nourished and active.
Q: What is your philosophy on nutrition and health? Are there any guidelines that you try to stick by every day?
A: In our house we try to focus on the nutritional content or “healthiness” of the food we eat as opposed to the calories we consume. This is especially true since Sarah, my 8-year-old daughter, is a very active kid doing 12 hours of gymnastics a week along with 3 hours of diving a week in addition to playing outside and swimming on the weekends.
As a mother of a young girl, I worry about my daughter’s health as well as body image. Surprisingly, these two things can often clash. I am concerned from a heath perspective about the amount of calories, fat, and sugar she consumes, but at the same time I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this and give her a poor body image or make her worry about being fat.
To me, feeding Sarah a healthy diet is less about what I don’t let her eat and more about what I ensure she does eat everyday. I don’t think there is anything I don’t ever let her consume except caffeine. My main focus is that she eats all of her servings of fruits and veggies and that she gets plenty of lean protein. As long as she is eating all those things then I don’t worry about the rest of it.
Q: When you shop for food, do you take your child with you? Do you involve her with shopping or cooking?
A: I try to take her with me to the grocery store when our schedules allow. I find she makes healthier choices at home when she has input about foods (especially snacks) that we keep at home. Plus, she tends to think outside the box more than I do, so it keeps us out of the snack rut.
Sarah and I have planted a garden in our backyard. So far we only have cucumbers and tomatoes harvested but have planted 16 types of seeds in total. She is much more interested in eating veggies she grew than she is in eating veggies from the store.
Q: Is your daughter a picky eater? If so, how did you deal with that?
A: She has become pickier as she has gotten older. As a toddler and young child she would eat anything. Now she goes through phases where she won’t eat certain foods. If I don’t mention it, she usually comes back around and eats the foods again after taking an extended break from them. For example, there was about a year when she wouldn’t eat peanut butter. She has come back around now and enjoys it again. The less of an issue I make about it, the shorter the phase of not eating something lasts. Again, I try to focus on overall balanced healthy eating as opposed to worrying about everything she eats or doesn’t eat.
Q: How do you incorporate physical activity into your family life?
A: We focus on exercise with the goal of being healthy, not thin. I don’t want Sarah to have body image issues and worry about being fat. I want her to focus on being healthy, active, and confident and the rest will follow. I try to motivate her to make healthy choices by talking to her about how healthy food choices will help her reach her goals in gymnastics and diving and how they make her muscles strong. So far I think it’s working.
Q: Do you have any quick, easy to prepare, go-to meals your family can’t get enough of?
A: Yes! I love my crock-pot. It makes meats and main courses so easy because I can prep the night before and turn it on in the morning. When I get home from work it is done and the house smells great. I have made really good pork tenderloin, soups, chicken, and ribs in my crock-pot. One of my family’s favorite crock-pot meals is a root beer pork dish.
Crock-Pot Root Beer Pork:
1. Take a lean pork loin or pork roast and place in the crock-pot.
2. Add 1 can of organic or natural root beer such as GuS or Maine Root which can both be found at Whole Foods.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Take out the pork and discard the juices. The pork will fall apart easily. Use a fork to shred the pork.
5. Pour ¾ to 1 cup BBQ sauce on. We use an Austin, TX favorite called Stubb’s BBQ sauce.
Serve on whole wheat slider buns with veggie sides or cole slaw. This dish also goes well with whole wheat tortillas and avocado slices. It is always a hit and so easy!
Provides 4-5 servings.