Join Me in Having a ‘World Vision’ for Child Nutrition

My husband, Jeff, and I have decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  It isn’t as random as you would think.  We both love the outdoors and mountain climbing.  Jeff has climbed at least a dozen 14’ers (14,000 -foot mountains) and I have climbed – about 2.  We originally talked about doing it a year ago, but in all honesty, I chickened out!  (See, Healthy Lifestyle Goals of 2010)  But this time, we have filled out the paperwork and paid our deposit.  So, we’re going.  Our expedition, led by Jeff Evans of MountainVisions Expeditions, is set to depart in August of 2012 and my physical training has begun.  This trip is sure to test me in more than physical ways – mental, emotional and spiritual as well!  I am looking forward to the challenge.  We all need to get outside of our comfort zones to keep growing and learning in life, don’t we?
I can’t even think about going to Africa without wondering how children and families live in other countries.  As many of our children in this country are overfed, others in many parts of the world are starving.  It just breaks my heart to think about a child being born into a reality where there is an inadequate supply of food to grow their young bodies.
The great news is that we can help!  Jeff and I have partnered with World Vision, “a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”  They are currently serving 100 countries including Tanzania where we will be going.  In fact, when we go, we are planning to meet our World Vision sponsored child!
Help me help others by donating to our special fundraiser.  Our goal is to raise $10,000 for the food and agriculture fund by next August.  This fund will help provide families with much needed training, tools and supplies to raise and grow their own food.
Depending on your donation, your dollar amount will provide:
2 chickens: $25
5 Ducks: $30
5 Fruit trees: $30
Fishing kit: $40
Goat: $75
Share of a deep well: $100
Sheep: $105
Pig: $195
Alpaca: $360
Dairy Cow: $500
Bull: $715

This Thanksgiving, give thanks by paying it forward and helping another family.  Check out our fundraising page.  Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support our fundraising efforts.  All funds collected go directly to World Vision. No funds raised go toward the cost of the climb.
You are welcome to follow us as we have dedicated a blog entirely to our upcoming climb.  The blog is called, “Will Climb 4Food: Overcoming For a Higher Purpose.”  Come on over and read about our training progress.  We’re hoping to do some posts on our trek!

Post Halloween: Teaching Our Kids the “Why” Behind Moderation

My 4 ½ year old son, Evan, was on quite a roll this morning!  He started off by telling me his leg hurt.  I asked him if he hit it on something and he said no.  I then explained that when his body grows, it can cause his body to hurt sometimes.  He said, “Oh, I know why!  I think I ate too much candy for Halloween.”  I stopped in my tracks and smiled.  “Really?  You think that’s why?”  He said, “Yes.  Mommy, will you give me something healthy to eat?  I need to make my leg feel better.”  I almost fell over.  I explained to him that the foods he ate for breakfast were actually healthy (whole grain waffles, yogurt, orange juice) so that should make his leg feel better soon.
I think Evan remembered me telling he and his sister about how candy can make them feel “yucky” if they eat too much.  I’ve explained that eating some candy is fine, but eating a lot can make them feel sick and can even take some of their “super powers” away.  Even when I thought Evan wasn’t listening, I think that made an impression on him after all.

My kids, Evan & Hannah, about to head out trick or treating!

As parents, let’s remember to tell our children the “why’s” behind being healthy.  Avoid making associations between food and weight or “to avoid getting granny’s sugar disease,” but instead mention things that matter to them right now.  Evan loves soccer, being strong, smart and running fast.  I tell him that eating healthy foods help him with those things and he gets it.  Get them invested in the healthy lifestyle for their own reasons; it will stick with them for the rest of their lives.  [By the way, he recently started eating broccoli after over 3 years of rejecting it on his plate and now he says it’s his favorite food.  Perserverance in healthy messgaging and exposure pays off!]

Stick with those positive messages, Mom and Dad.  They are listening even when you don’t think they are.  I was reminded today that my son is listening to me. J
Check out my post last year will give you ideas on what to do with leftover candy: Operation Halloween Candy: The Party’s Over! 

Cute Notes for Lunches & Snacks

I was shopping at a local specialty toy store near our home last weekend and came across these super cute notes and stickers especially made for your child’s lunch and/or snacks.  I’ve been using them with the food I send to school for my daughter, Hannah, and she loves them!

This little 4″ x 3″ trifold notes and stickers set is such a neat, compact set of “special touches” that  buttons up nicely and can be stored easily in a kitchen drawer.
When you open it up, there are 3 pockets.  I laid out what each pocket contains.  The right side contain the stickers in each pocket and the left side contains the note cards.  On the back of the note cards are lines where you can write your child a special little note or reminder.
You can purchase these online at Chronicle Books.
Make your child smile by sending sweet notes to school that will make them especially look forward to eating healthy. Order these, or you can start simple by just writing a little “I love you” on a sticky note.  What a great way to make them feel special!
Empowering Kids in the Kitchen

One of the great benefits of “mommyhood” is to watch your children discover things for the first time. It may be watching them see, taste, learn or experience something that really gets them excited. The foundations we lay in our children have long term impact. It is great to know that the precious time that we invest in their lives will prove to be profitable and equate to large dividends.
The same is true for exposing your children to no pressure food experiences. As parents, we wonder why our children are such picky eaters, or apprehensive to try new flavors – yet we don’t allow our children to “experience” food. Our family recently bought Adobe Premiere Elements, which is video editing software, so we could play around with making our own videos. Over the holiday break, my 6 year old, Hannah and I, spent some time playing around in the kitchen. Hannah loves to be in charge, so we decided to film her very first video of her showing people how to make a tropical fruit smoothie. Hannah’s grandmother got her Disney’s Magic Kitchen Cookbook for Christmas and we are planning to make every recipe.
Hannah was the leader – she decided which recipe she wanted to make and even which fruit she was going to choose to put in the smoothie. We had a discussion about what her viewers might want to know while she is making the recipe – handwashing, cleaning the fruit and safety in the kitchen. As you watch the video, take notice of Hannah’s glances over at me to see my approval. As we let our children take the lead, encourage and commend them on a job well done. Remember their age and their capabilities! Don’t expect perfection. I thought Hannah did wonderful for her very first video shoot! We originally planned it to be just Hannah by herself, but at the last minute, I was added as the “host” so I could assist with filling in any missing gaps. It’s a raw, homegrown video, but I cherish the video documentation of our experience together.
You don’t necessarily have to shoot videos with your children, but I do encourage playing in the kitchen with them.  Allow them to role play as the “chef teacher” so they can gain confidence and learn vital leadership skills in the kitchen and life in general. In our busy everyday lives, let’s all remember to take time out to invest in those ways to build our children up in the kitchen. Hannah and I had a lot of fun, spent some great time together and we look forward to doing some more.
My next post will be a book review of the cookbook. Stay tuned!

thanks to our director, Nicky Hales, and our producer, Jeff Lemond for pushing our small project to completion.

Children, Follow My (Eating) Cues

Feeding behaviors are solidified early in life. In general, children are wonderful examples of listening to their hunger and satiety cues. Both of my children are great examples. My son is a really big eater in the morning and into lunch time and then has a tendency to pick the rest of the day. While other days, he eats very little. My daughter, on the other hand, eats a small amount at breakfast and then slowly picks up throughout the day.  Some days, she seems to eat the amount a grown woman would eat!  But I trust she is accurately listening to her own body as remains active and her weight is following a healthy growth curve. Unfortunately, many parents confuse children when they tell them to eat because it is meal time. Parents think, “Surely they should be hungry because they haven’t eaten in several hours.” And not only do some parents make children eat, some make them clean their plates. I recently wrote a letter to a well-known, elite school here in Dallas when one of my pediatric patient’s mother (who happens to be a physician) told me they still practice the clean plate club at their school. Really?! I thought everyone has figured out by now that this is not a good thing to do. The clean plate club trains the body “untrust” its physiological signals to eat or not to eat. This approach may have started back in the Depression when food was scarce, but I see many adult patients that are still trying to unlearn what they were taught by their parents. “Do not get up from this table until your plate is clean.” Or, “If you want that dessert, you better eat everything on that plate.” Dietitians cringe at the thought, although I truly believe parents are very well-intentioned.
One of the best food behavior gifts we can give our children is the gift of trusting in their own hunger and fullness cues. I credit my own mother for allowing me and my siblings to make our own decisions to eat or not, and I firmly believe this has been one of the foundations to my healthy relationship with food. We ate as a family at the table without distractions (this is key), which helped us in listening to our individual cues. Because of mom, I can have my favorite food under my nose and if I am not hungry, I have no desire to eat it.

Hunger Scale by Paula Ryan, MS, of
Healthiest Regards Blog.

Paula Ryan, MS, author of the Healthiest Regards Blog, posted a great hunger and satiety scale that I wanted to share with Mommy Dietitian readers. It’s one of the best I have seen because it also lists the consequences of waiting too long eat, or not stopping when the body says it has had enough. If you find yourself eating in the absence of hunger or waiting way too long to eat, consider printing this scale off and going back to the basics. Many people eat for reasons other than hungers like when they are stressed, mad or sad. Deal with those issues directly instead of turning to food. It may be easier said than done for some, but this can be a start to a healthier YOU in 2011. And a healthier you means a healthier family because the children are watching – and doing what you do.