After a four-hour training session at the gym, I often leave thinking now my real job starts as I head home to clean, cook, care for the kids, or get groceries for our family of five.
Parenting is a tough and rewarding job, which my husband and I love and take seriously. We are the most influential people in our children’s lives. When it comes to feeding them we can feel overwhelmed by the options making it difficult. However, like many approaches to parenting, we believe that our actions speak louder than words. The way we eat is likely the way our children will eat when they are older. In order to help facilitate a healthy relationship with food, we follow Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility in feeding whereby the parent is responsible for the what, when, and where, and the child is responsible for if and how much. My husband and I decide on the foods that will be served, aim to have three main meals at regularly scheduled times, and sit as a family at the table without the distraction of screens, phones, and other electronics. Once seated, our children decide how much of each food they will have, and whether or not they will have it.
When it comes to making decisions about the food we serve, I have always based it on three main factors: nutrition, cost, and packaging. Something like homemade muffins can be more nutritious, cost effective and less wasteful than those purchased in a store. Making muffins at home also lets me include grains in our diet to fuel our family.
Grains are always included at breakfast, lunches, snacks, and family dinners as they provide carbohydrates, which are necessary for brain function and physical activity. They are vital to our day to day basic and advanced activities, from school studies to hard workouts. Grains are a great way start to our day by making us energized.
For breakfast, our children enjoy homemade whole wheat, chocolate chip pancakes with syrup, peanut butter, fruit and a glass of milk, while my husband and I go for oatmeal with fruit and nuts.
School lunches often include whole wheat wraps or bagels with egg, poultry, pork or beef, and an oatmeal cookie or whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffin. Lunches at home may include whole grain crackers with soup, grilled cheese with whole wheat bread, or burgers on whole grain buns.
An after-school snack favourite is peanut butter and banana on a whole wheat tortilla with milk, which helps bodies to recover from the day and prepare for evening sports activities.
Dinner frequently consists of such grains as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or whole wheat bread. We may have corn as a side or in chili, mini pizzas made with whole grain English muffins, or cheese quesadillas or toasted garlic pita wedges. There is nothing better than a slice of warm, fresh bread to go with a meal. Grains consumed in the evening help replenish after a busy day and prepare for the next one.
One of my favourite things about fueling with grains is that it is something easy the children can do for themselves. Now that they are older, they can simply heat some pancakes, toast some bread, or grab a muffin to give them a boost of energy to fuel their bodies and brains before school or practice.