6 posts categorized "Mealtime"

Does your family dine together? How often?

September 16, 2013

It's dinnertime!  We are a few weeks into the new school year, and the schedules are getting a bit hectic.  What I realize: we only have one evening during the Monday-to-Friday stretch when we can all sit down and have dinner as a family, a calm time when we can catch up over our days, check in on school, friends, new developments.  Only one evening?  I feel it is not enough.

It's said that sitting down to a family dinner eases family stress, makes for happier children, even results in teens who are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs.

I believe it.  I want to have it.  How many evenings during the week do you manage to sit down to a dinner with the kids?

Lunchbox Dilemmas

August 16, 2013

As soon as Spring Break hit a few months ago, I knew I would need to replace my girls' lunchboxes that had been doing overtime for two years. I found myself completely sucked into a thread on the *Portland Mamas FB group that had been discussing lunchboxes for the last two days, which caused the topic to resurface in my head. This is big stuff, folks. I like newfangled technology as much as the next modern mama, but sometimes I just wonder if the metal Rainbow Brite lunchbox of my childhood was really just fine.

My oldest had been carrying a Blue Q bag that originally contained a birthday gift. She was more into the bag than the gift so it became an accessory as part of her daily ensemble. I have to admit that in a world of the Thermos, insulated sides, waxed canvas, removable liners, and 100% machine washable, I was suspicious! As the months dragged on, that super cute polypropylene bag did its job, and did it well. It suffered endless half-empty, half-closed containers of applesauce, sticky fruit leather, and tuna fish smeared all over the inside. At first, this stressed me out, but after a quick rinse and a wipe with a soapy sponge, the smell would go away and the bag would be ready to go for another day.

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What to eat when you're pregnant: The Pregnancy Plate

November 06, 2012

Guest post by Stephanie Pearson

Nutritionists, like myself, love to share their geeky scientific knowledge about food. We can reach a sort of cerebral high when we get to breaking down and classifying nutrients into their chemical constituents. There is a point, though, at which dissecting the fascinating interplay between enzymes, peptide chains, and our own physiology falls short. When we single out and supplement the parts rather than taking in the whole food, what are we missing?

Urbanmamas_spinach_garlic
This is what pulls me out of nutrition geek-talk into my love affair with the simple perfection of food in its whole form. Thinking in terms of food rather than nutrients is a more tangible, more traditional way to ensure high health during pregnancy. Indigenous cultures from all corners reserved specific foods to be consumed by mothers during preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods. We too deserve and need to eat special foods during the childbearing years. Certain foods that were repeatedly prized in traditional cultures were wild oily fish, grass-fed butter, liver, greens, olives, seeds, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Together these foods provide the most important vitamins and minerals for fetal development, including: vitamins A , D, B (including folate), C, and E, calcium, protein, omega-3 fats. Beyond what conventional nutrition tells and encapsulates for us, bringing actual foods to plate during pregnancy may provide a source for the important and mysterious co-factors that allude the lens of science.

Here’s what’s on the plate:

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Parent Statements: euphemisms of judgement?

July 11, 2012

"My child doesn't get much media", said the mama to me as we watched our kids sit in front of a video, "so he is totally sucked in when he gets it."  I said: "Oh."  I feel like I have heard myself say the same thing of my own child.  

Later that weekend, after allowing my child to have a juice box offered by another child, I said, "My child doesn't usually drink juice," noting my child's high-energy response to the drink, "so he is totally hyper when he drinks it."

As I hear myself saying the above, I hear my unspoken thoughts "your child shouldn't drink juice".  Then, I hear the other mama's unspoken thoughts (or what I assume they could be): "your child shouldn't watch videos".  I had a sinky feeling in my stomach.  I am juding.  I am being judged.  But, it doesn't sound like it, does it?

No doubt you have heard similar statements before.  Maybe you have even made them.  Does it feel judgy only if one is already sensitive to the issue?  Or, this might go into the category of "over-thinking" things.

Sunday Meal Planning: Back to the Lunch Grind

September 04, 2011

Urbanmamas_lunch_picnictable
I start every school year thinking this will be the year I win my kids over with the homemade lunches. And every year, I end up giving in to the siren song of the cafeteria (last year, it was the second week of school, when Truman came home with a bill -- he'd been getting both a cafeteria tray and his lunchbox every day). Certainly, I've loved being here in Portland, where school food is undergoing a serious revolution, and, most days, the children will have ingredients from local farms on the menu.

However, as the photo above (taken at a field trip near the end of school last year, so we've got to give them some slack for brown bagging necessities) indicates, there's a lot of room for unhealthy choices. As hard as I try at home to steer my children clear of refined sugar, preservatives, processed flours and other highly-processed foods: if Truman has a choice, it's chocolate milk every day, and, judging from this small window on school food, no one eats the good stuff like grapes.

So I'm trying to get it right this year.

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Sorry Mama, I Don't Eat Animals

August 15, 2011

DSC_3260 My older son went through a period where he questioned everything before he ate to determine whether or not it was edible in his mind. For example, with shrimp, he wanted to know if it had a head and legs. The questioning stopped within a few weeks and even though he does not shrimp, he does eat meat. When my 6 six year old declared, "I don't eat animals" I thought it was a phase. That was over 10 months ago. The reality is that we are a family of omnivores except for our vegetarian 6 year old. Cooking for my vegetarian wouldn't be nearly as challenging except he has some strong dislikes - tofu, beans, and egg yolk. Yikes, this has made mealtime challenging, making one meal that the entire family can eat.  I have tried to make at least one or two vegetarian meals a week but I am lacking in creativity. Our vegetarian meals consist of spaghetti, pesto pasta or fried rice with at least 4 different vegetables. Another favorite is teriyaki veggies and rice; and the rest of the family will get chicken. I need your help. What are some of your favorite vegetarian recipes? Also, how can I ensure that he is eating enough protein?