Friday, June 5, 2009

Simple Foods for Busy Familes

Every once in awhile a wonderful, eye-opening book comes along that changes our lives for the better. Without a doubt, this is one of those books. Dubbed "The Whole Life Nutrition Approach" this book details how to start feeding your family simple, healthy foods on a consistent basis. Simply put, better foods means healthier kids. This guide shows how you can easily take the steps to get on the path of making healthy cooking part of your everyday routine.

I'm as bad as the next parent at getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We too easily forget that what we are feeding our children and ourselves could be so much better by just investing some time and thought. And really, when you make the commitment to improve your diet, you may find that the changes are much easier to implement that you had imagined.

The book is presented in two manageable sections. Part one introduces the five principles of Whole Life Nutrition: Quality, Balance, Seasonality, Quantity and Routine. The goal of Whole Life Nutrition is to teach you how to live your life in the most health-enhancing way possible, with the least amount of effort. When you apply these principles to your eating habits, you should start to feel more balanced and complete. This part of the book also served to make me feel incredibly guilty. If it is this easy to make better choices and feed my family a much healthier diet - why did I wait so long to implement this? Work through that parent guilt and keep reading, it's totally worth it.

Part two is the kitchen guide. This includes directives on cooking methods and tools, plus a guide to beneficial foods - vegetables, grains, beans and spices. Along with an explanation of each ingredient, you will find basic recipes and mix and match charts for dishes like salads, pastas, soups and cereals. Once you get used to the mix and match approach, you probably won't even need to consult the book. The cut and toss method works perfectly in our house and makes for quick meals.

This book really opened my eyes to how important it is to change our eating habits to focus on eating natural foods over processed foods. The life in food gives us life, and the fresher the foods, the more life energy and nutrient content they will contain. I particularly liked the guides to whole grains and beans. For us, the key to becoming better eaters is getting into a good routine, without giving ourselves the option to purchase convenience foods. We still have pizza for dinner, but now it is a homemade crust with lots of veggies. Our french fries are yukon gold and sweet potato planks roasted in the oven. For desserts we have been experimenting with desserts where fruit as the star - like cobblers and crisps.

I found this to be a fascinating read and an invaluable resource. After initially feeling guilty (and lazy) while reading the first chapters, I began to feel inspired. It was empowering to realize the changes would be pretty easy to make and we could start eating better! We aren't perfect, but our eating habits have made a huge leap in quality, which we can feel every day.

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