written by Jen #supermom #drcao
For 36 years I’ve only had to consider what it is that I’m eating…and eventually, what my cat & husband’s diet consists of. Life was relatively simple in this respect….I’ve always been more health conscious than the average person but definitely not vegan (or even vegetarian)…not over the top controlling and strict with food choices but primarily stuck to whole grains, lots of salad, fish, lean meats. Basically the goal is to always keep a healthy diet during week, then let loose a little on the weekend (ice cream sundae, anyone)? Fried chicken at Sidecar is a must every now and then!
Anyway, I’m writing this now as a mom. Once my daughter came into the picture and was all of a sudden ready for solid foods, I started to REALLY think about everything I’m choosing to put in her little mouth. As we either eat together (or she eats leftovers the next day as is so early to bed), this has also affected what my husband and I have been eating. I’m not sure if I’m alone here or not, but I found (and still find, sometimes) feeding her a little stressful. Am I giving her enough protein? Healthy fats? Is she eating too many pretzels? Not enough milk or too much milk?
So I’m by no means an expert, and am constantly striving to give her the best foods that I can. I live by a few very simple rules. No genetically modified foods or foods filled with additives & pesticides. Thankfully we are so lucky to have farmers markets all around Park Slope where you can find things like locally farmed veggies, fruits, nuts and wild fish that are freshly caught. And, we have Fresh Direct that offers plenty of choices for meats, raised without antibiotics – and let’s not forget our new best friend, Whole Foods.
The word “organic” has taken on a whole new meaning. I would let a few things slide before my daughter was involved…now, every single veggie, fruit, meat we purchase (even many crackers, salad dressing, etc) are organic.
I found this helpful list on EWG.org (Environmental Working Group). It lists 48 produce items, ranked in order of pesticide residue (highest to lowest): http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php. Although buying every single item organic might be a bit of a struggle, this list helps identify those that are truly dangerous to our bodies and helps us focus on ensuring we look for organic options.
I haven’t given in to juice yet. I went to a nutrition class actually at Dr. Cao’s about a year ago and we had to guess how many sugar cubes were in a cup of juice. I can’t remember the exact answer but it was a rather large pile of sugar cubes. Juice is LOADED with sugar. I am trying to keep her away from this as long as possible…but of course that will not last forever! For now, I’ll stick to milk and water. Want her to get whatever nutrition from the actual fruit itself. So many of the nutrients are actually lost in the process of making juice. And to top it off, so many of these juices actually contain additives (no thank you)!
In terms of what our toddlers SHOULD eat, I find tables like this helpful in reassuring that I’m providing enough of the different food groups. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/what-and-how-much-to-feed-your-toddler
There are those days (and I cringe as I write this) that my daughter might refuse all fruit, or just snack all day an not eat a “real” meal. As moms I know we all strive to do the very best we can, and that’s all we can do. By at least eliminating toxins, hormones, antibiotics & additives from our food we are taking a big step in the right direction. Here’s to hoping that they learn to love all of the fresh kale, broccoli and spinach we bring home!!!