let’s choose high nutrition

August 13, 2012

we love high nutritionJust this week, True had a request to have her typical school lunch served for lunch at home. It was an easy enough request, that I knew they would all love, so I happily obliged. All the kids got a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich (True is allergic to peanut butter) with a side of raw, mini bell peppers and fresh picked tomatoes. Some people wonder how in the world  our girls can eat vegetables. Ben, is a registered dietitian, thus healthy eating is very important to our home and we want to instill in our kids good eating habits. He says that thankfully, early on in True’s life, he was exposed to Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding; and while sometimes counter-intuituve, and not always easy, adoption of these principles has helped tremendously.

As we try to teach our children to identify foods that are more nutritionally-dense, we find we use the terms “high nutrition” and “low nutrition” often in our home. Our girls have changed the terms a bit and now say, “high-nu” and “low-nu.” Brave is the one who came up with those cute, little abbreviations.

I mentioned last week, how True comes home telling me the commentary her classmates have regarding the foods in her lunch. She will also make sure to tell me how most of their lunches were filled with “low nutrition.” She can get snobby about her food and the fact that she eats mostly “high nutrition,” but this also makes me and Ben laugh because she is like any other kid and totally loves her sometimes foods too. We have to remind her that while she does love eating foods high in nutrition, she shouldn’t get haughty about it because she loves to have her share of “low-nu.”

In regards to what we feed our kids, we try to give them more opportunities for “high-nu” than ” low-nu,” which we also call as “sometimes foods.” We know if we deprive them, they’ll just go crazy behind our backs (and we don’t want that), so we make sure to try and teach them that “sometimes foods” are okay, but just sometimes, as it is better to fill your bodies with “high nutrition.” Thankfully, Ben and I eat pretty healthy (I do love desserts though!), so since the very beginning, these girls have been exposed to a lot of different types of fruits and vegetables. They aren’t very many fruits and veggies they will say no to and we encourage them to try everything at least once. I am thankful that we don’t have to fight our kids to make good food choices, but we do continue to try to teach them balance and moderation.

My girls even eat the highly unpopular vegetable brussels sprouts! They really are so good!!! Do you like brussels sprouts?

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20 comments on “let’s choose high nutrition”

  • Gaby says:

    i love that you not only focus on getting your girls to eat healthy, but keeping them modest. that is a value not a lot of children are taught.


  • joy madison says:

    My kids LOVE brussell sprouts!!! MMMMM!!!

  • LOOOVE the idea of high nutrition vs low nutrition!! I’m going to have to incorporate this lingo into our food dialogues….

  • carlijean says:

    I like that concept!! I will have to incorporate it into my foodspeak!

  • Jessica G. says:

    I’ve never seen the Division of Responsibility in Feeding, but it is basically what we do in our house. And like what you said in your last post, I am constantly fighting the grandparents on throwing all nutrition out the window. Both my husband and I are a lover of veggies (and fruits for that matter) and I try not to keep junk food around the house. And when it isn’t present, the kids (and us) choose to eat good. Oh, and we love us some “barbie head lettuce” (brussels sprouts)!

  • jonahliza says:

    i love that the kids like to eat healthy. one of the things i look forward to (when i’m a mom) is serving healthy and yummy food. and what a cute hair cut! i am reminded of amelie <3

  • Sydney says:

    When I’m a parent I’m going to turn to you for inspiration. I’m serious.

  • Ellie A. says:

    Can I send you my 13 yr. old son.. The boy is the PIIIICKKKEST boy EVER although my younger two aren’t! They will eat something at least once and they will eat WAAY more veggies and try new things then my oldest? I don’t know if it’s cause he’s a “teenager” or what but it could be the most awesome tastiest thing EVER (veggie/healthy wise) but if it’s not pretty enough (although I try to make a good presentation when I make food lol) he will not eat it.. Sigh.. I’ll just keep providing maybe he’s turn around?? LOVE that your girls eat so AWESOME!

    • mycakies says:

      maybe it’s just a phase?!! i think all kids go through food phases. it’s just our job to keep offering well balanced meals for them. i am sure he will turn around!

  • Sharyl says:

    I love fruits, but I must admit I am very picky with my veggies. I do try to incorporate at least 5 servings a day, but usually more fruits than veg. my husband on the other hand would rather eat meat. Can i send him over to your house for a week long high-nu bootcamp with ben? hehehe.

  • Heather says:

    This reminds me of the book I read on vacation this summer- French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon. I really enjoyed reading it even though my girls are bigger and already say fruits and veg are their favorite foods. It was interesting to read about French food education- there is a lot of inspiration there!

    • mycakies says:

      i loved the bringing up bebe book and that jived well with how we do things in our house, so the french kids eat everything good sounds interesting!

  • Leslie says:

    I never knew there was an actual name to this philosophy of eating for toddlers and infants but we have similar rules at our house as well. I promised myself when I first had my son that when he was ready to eat with us I would NOT be a short order cook. My boys are 2 and 1 now and get the same food we do. I don’t force them to eat but that’s what they get and no substitutions. I am very impressed that your little ones eat brussel sprouts (we had them last night for dinner and neither of them were fans.. husband and I love them) .

  • Emmy A says:

    I need some tips. I have a VERY picky two year old. He ate everything at first, but now he totally refuses to eat most fruits and veggies. It’s not a texture thing or even a taste thing most of the time (what kid doesn’t want to eat fruit, even???). It’s more of a visual/control issue. Meal-time can be a huge stressor for me because I want him to eat healthy foods but I also don’t want to create a power struggle. What did you do early on to get your kids to try and then like fruits and veggies? I put different foods on his plate, but most times he won’t even touch certain things. And it doesn’t seem to make a difference if we’re eating and enjoying them or not. I’m determined not to make him a separate meal, so sometimes he just doesn’t really eat much. 🙁 Any tips you have are welcome.

    • mycakies says:

      Don’t bribe him to eat and just keep giving him lots of good options. If he’s hungry, he’ll eat. Our girls each had their phases, but our job is just to keep providing them good things for them. They outgrow their phases.

      We never fed our girls fruit baby food in a jar. We waited for them to be able to eat the real form of it and didn’t want them to get used to sweetness in a jar. At first it was just grains, meat, and veggies. Just keep providing the good things and eventually he’ll eat and don’t bribe with food. 😉 if you have more questions, let me know and i can ask my husband ben.

  • Brussels Sprouts are delicious! I hated them when I was a kid, but that was because they were boiled. Not the best way to serve a brussels sprout, that’s for sure. Now I love them baked with parmesan cheese or stir fried with soy sauce, walnuts, and a little brown sugar. Yum!

    • mycakies says:

      i agree! i definitely think it’s in how it’s cooked. i love them!!! i’ve got to try your way!

  • em says:

    So neat that your husband is a dietitian (I am, too)! I have most often found that if kids are offered veggies early on, they will continue to accept them and incorporate them into their diets. Especially if you let your kids take part in growing their own produce…so neat that you and Ben do this!

  • nathalie says:

    i try cooking as healthy and sourcing the best locally grown produce, when i can’t grow my own. yet my girls sneer at their healthy foods. last semester k asked me to buy her lunchables like the other kids at the little mother’s day out program she was in. i gaged! gross! have you tried almond butter? that’s all we use. yummy. i thought you were homeschooling? i am fretting over packing lunch every day. can you post a week’s worth of healthy meals idea for school. just kidding!!!!

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