Tag Archives: healthy living

01 Mar

3 Tips to Help Nourish the Family

As families, we are busy in today’s world. Between work schedules, school schedules and extracurricular activities along with hobbies, church, and family commitments, I often wonder how families keep the rhythm of the family going while keeping everyone connected and happy! It would be easy to be ships passing in the night.

Experts say it’s not about quantity of time, but rather the quality of time spent with children that impact their happiness. Researchers have found that even 5-10 minutes a day of reading or playing with children can have a profound impact on the child’s feeling of connectedness with their parent(s) and their developing self-esteem. A researcher also found this is true especially for adolescents. In other words, spending time with your loved ones matters.

Here are a few easy ways to do that:

1. Cook with your kids and family.
You’re going to be in the kitchen anyways right? Pick meals together, grocery shop or cook together. Make it a big deal if this is an unusual thing for your family. If the kids won’t set foot in the kitchen let alone be seen with you, try it with your spouse. In other words, do something different, go back to a spending a short amount of quality time together. Even 10 minutes of talking while driving to the grocery store can be quality time spent together.

2. Share a meal together.
Set up a routine to have a meal together once a week. Make it special. And turn off the all media!

Letting go of distractions and just being together can be a nurturing experience not only for the family system but also for the soul. It also models for your children how we as a culture maintain our relationships, by spending time together and showing a genuine interest in each other.

Parents: Don’t take it personally if the kids complain or don’t want to participate. Stay the course and keep the routine going. It’s still modeling. And they’ll remember this. I am guessing for some families, this will sound like I am asking you to jump over the moon. It’s not about the task; it’s about the intention. Add the intention to have the family together into the meal and bring it to the table. If you don’t have anything to talk about, talk about food! Everyone loves food. Ask what someone else likes, why they like that, and talk about likes, dislikes, favorite dishes etc.

3. Get outside and play!
Play is one of the healthiest things for children (and I would argue for adults too!).

This is not just about playing a sport; this is designated time away from the regular routine, commitments and demands. It’s shared free time together, unscheduled, random, open time. (Yeh, I know, remember what that is?)

Don’t plan during this time, except for the time itself. Turn off devices and be together. See what comes to mind, ask your children what they would like to do, or come up with some creative ideas together about how to spend your family time.

Walks are great, games are fun, maybe there’s a project that needs family attention and would be more fun to do together. Have each person take weigh in or take turns providing suggestions. Make it fun, then sit back, relax and enjoy your time with your family. You deserve it!


The Right Way to Do Family Time by Jennifer Breheny Wallace, WSJ.com, April 3, 2015

Making time for kids? Study says quality trumps quantity. by Brigid Schulte, WashingtonPost.com, March 28, 2015

Quantity Time Begets Quality Time, and Parents Spend Enough of Both by KJ Dell’Antonia, Motherlode blog on NYTimes.com, MARCH 31, 2015

02 Feb

Recommended Read: Eat This Not That, Supermarket Survival Guide

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food”
― Erma Bombeck

Whenever I head down a food isle and see a variety of new items, I wonder first if I should try them, and then I either go into denial about how bad that food is actually going to be (fat, sugar, salt, or general consumption wise) or I become concerned about possible ingredients I either can’t sound out or that might be food allergens for my children. I almost never find products that are healthy, good for you and something we will eat.

Then the next hardest step comes; I have to try to disseminate the words on the packaging to see if they are true to their meaning or what they imply. In other words translate and interpret the packaging. When something says “healthy”, I laugh. Have you ever seen a product’s packaging that says “really unhealthy but so good you’ll eat it anyways”? When something says “healthy grains” for example, I immediately know that means they are not going to mention the amount of sugar they have added to make the “healthy grains” refined enough to come in the shape and taste they now are. Which most likely means they are no longer “really healthy”. At this point I turn over the package to look at the ingredients, knowing I will most likely not like what I see. (Sigh here).

Who has time to read the labels of ingredients on food packaging? I do a full grocery shop for the family in an hour. I tend to buy the same products mostly based on my children’s palates and their food allergies. If I had to read the ingredients of all the products I buy, it could easily double my time. And after all that, there is still the concern about all ingredients I can’t pronounce and what they mean too.

I recently discovered (I know I’m probably late to the party) a great book I can take with me to the grocery store when I shop now. It’s an easy reference guide, and a step towards healthier eating and understanding the ingredients of the food you put into you body.

Eat This Not That, Supermarket Survival Guide

I still have to decide if I’m going to buy the packaged process foods or cook from scratch, but at least I can have a better understanding about what it is I am buying for my family. After reading this, it’s easy to see that cutting calories, sodium or sugar by buying a variety of different products will lower that intake significantly over a period of time. I think this is a newer Americana version of healthier eating. This is especially useful information if you look at the Glycemic index.

As a culture, we are still very much grocery store and pre-made food dependent. But that topic is for another blog day . . .

The power is in the knowledge and in the choice. This book offers light education about fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, and also offers a comparison of similar types of packaged pre-made foods. The back of the book offers some recipes. A great reference guide and staple for a cook’s shelf whether you are just the person doing the shopping or a health conscious eater.

I still think the farm to the table idea is the healthiest way to eat (see IanKneur.com or his cooking show “The Farm” on PBS for an example of this type of cooking and living) but for now “Eat This Not That” will have to for those of us that are urban sprawlers.

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