Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There just HAS to be a place for carbs.

I was reading the paper at lunch and came across an article about including more fruits & veggies in kids' diets.

I was totally blown away. I've been thinking that I do pretty well in the nutritious eating department - the kids usually have fruit for snacks, and usually at least one veggie at each meal.

Although I couldn't find a link for you, I'll quote it here:

"shift the focus to the produce section of your supermarket, where youngsters can explore an array of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables."

Well, I can't argue too much. Except for pointing out that "an array" of veggies could cost quite a bundle, seeing as yummy snow peas seem to be as valuable as gold, and so are cucumbers and green beans in February.

I don't have any real solutions to the cost of items in the produce section: In this part of the country, if we want any kind of offerings in the middle of winter, we have to pay for the shipping costs. However, we can remember that frozen items are nearly as nutritious as their fresh versions, and in some cases more so, thanks to the freezing process starting at their peak freshness.
Here is the sample menu included in the article, which provides all the daily nutrients for a child's 1800 calorie meal:

Breakfast: 2 tablespoons of raisins with cereal

Mid-morning snack: apple slices with peanut butter

Lunch: cup of corn, salad of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers & bell peppers, AND a half-cup of peaches

Afternoon snack: quarter-cup or more of fresh green beans & carrot sticks with yogurt dip

Dinner: half-cup of steamed cauliflower AND half a large sweet potato AND a quarter-cup of strawberries

Am I crazy to think that this sounds un-doable? I mean, there's the expense of all that produce, plus the time to prepare all of it...and has anyone ever eaten that many servings of fruits & veggies in one day? I mean, someone eating a traditional diet - not vegetarian or South Beach.

The snacks are fine, and breakfast too (if I could get my kids to eat raisins...) - but Lunch & Dinner sound insane. Especially considering that this article expected the parent - well, okay, MOM - to pack all those items to be eaten at school. I don't know many kids who would eat a lettuce salad as part of the school lunch...more likely it would just be tossed. And I don't mean with dressing. Ha ha.

But if they didn't have anything else to fill up on, and the only other option was to go hungry...I don't know. Maybe I need to broaden my idea of a well-rounded meal. I rely pretty heavily on "a meat, a starch (potatoes, rice or noodles) and a veggie" formula. But we all know the state of my math skills. It could be that this is another formula that needs reworking.

Now, to find strawberries in January that won't compromise my Target budget.


Noel said...

You showed a one day menu, but what does one do for variety over seven days? There are only so many cruciferous veggies and forms of squash/sweet potato.

If one's children are omnivores, meat and soy is good (although my middle schoolers refuse to eat any tofu or spam dishes I cook when mom is out of town..they used to love both as a special treat). The rest of my family also doesn't like whole wheat pasta.

Another omission is whole grains in breakfast cereals (Ben eats Wheaties if I followed the recent blog entry), Kid's Choice is white bread AND has fiber, some cereals like Quaker Oatmeal Squares can add variety to the baggy full of Cheerios routine.

Lyz said...

Noel is sharp. I actually paraphrased the menu, and one of the things I left out was "whole grain" cereal.

I tend towards the sweet-but-still-kinda-healthy cereals, like Honey Bunches of Oats & the aforementioned Frosted MiniWheats.

We eat Country Hearth's 12 Grain Bread, which doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, but DOES have light brown sugar, molasses AND honey. Geez.

Aaron said...

That diet needs more venison. Talk to grandpa.

That said, I've heard that kids really shouldn't have much soy in their diet because it's very hormonally active. Could be tin-foil-hatted vegans talking, but it's worth checking out.

Blue Castle said...

I agree, Lyz. I guess I'm a bad mom too. We eat wayyyy more carbs than that. Bread in some form has been a staple for centuries. And really, a diet consisting of mainly veggies isn't very filling. I need to fill my guys up. It's hard enough as it is without cutting out carbs.

AJ said...

Venison diversion. Heard from the ND State health guru the other day a random sample of ground venison has more lead in it than soil samples that will get you fined by the EPA. In other words dangerous levels. Supposedly the grinding process mixes it in with tiny little shards. The steaks have the pellets or slugs still so you can cut them out or spit them out. And for the conspiracy buffs. Many tons of ground venison are given away every year. To homeless shelters. Dah, dah, dum!

AJ said...

Carbs bad, but I don't want to start preaching.