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Health Can Be Sweet Too!

6 Jun
A IS FOR ACCESSIBILITY

“You control the food that comes into the house. Make sure the good food you want your children to appreciate is child accessible.”
                                                        -The Family Nutrition Book by Dr. Sears
We, parents, are the main providers of the food at home. We have to make sure that the food we bring home are of the best quality. And best means no junk. I don’t allow junk food in the house anymore. I refuse to let my kids eat junk even if they get them as pasalubongs (gifts) from other people. I still have a long way to go though. I realized that I have to be very deliberate with my grocery shopping. I make it a point to read the labels and nutritional information of the items I purchase. I used to buy stuff because someone said it was good or someone else thought it would make my kids less hyper. It was a lazy way of doing things. Instead of finding out for myself whether the food was really healthy, I relied on other people’s opinions. And sometimes not all of them really knew what they’re talking about. So now, I make it a point to make healthy food easily accessible to my kids and to stop them from eating junk like fastfood, chips, and many popular pizza brands. Let me share with you some of them.

1. Grapes
Instead of chips, I give my kids a bowl of grapes every now and then to snack on when they’re watching TV or busy doing playing with their toys. Grapes contain numerous vitamins and minerals which help us stay healthy. Grapes have only 75 calories in a 1 and 1/4 cup serving. Grapes consist of about 80 percent water, making them a good low-calorie snack. Grapes also add fiber to the diet and are naturally low in sodium. I limit my kids grapes intake to about 10-12 pieces per serving. As much as grapes are healthy, they also have sugar. And you know what they say, moderation is the key.

2. Dried Cranberries
I learned of dried cranberries from a friend who is a health freak. He snacks on these all throughout the day. Initially, I tried them for me, since I needed to lose some weight and I was looking for healthy snacks to satiate my sweet tooth. It worked for me. And since I would carry around with me a small box of these delicious goodies, my kids became curious and later, took on that habit as well. Aside from cranberries being known for a good source of fiber and Vitamin C, they also offer great natural aid to the body in countering urinary tract infections and diseases. Read more on dried cranberries.

3. Almonds
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats that are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Almonds are known to be the most nutrient among all the nuts. An ounce of almonds (a medium-size handful) contain 166 calories, 5 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated), 4 grams of fiber (the highest fiber content of any nut or seed), 80  mg of calcium, 1.4 mg of zinc, 1 mg of iron, 6.7 mg of vitamin E and some B vitamins, minerals and selenium.
My little girl absolutely loves these healthy, nutty treats. She eats them as they are (like the picture below), or she eats them with whole wheat cereals. She snacks on these like how other kids snack on junk food. She absolutely loves almonds.

4. Bananas
Creamy, rich, and sweet, bananas are a favorite food for everyone from infants to elders. Sports enthusiasts appreciate the potassium-power delivered by this high energy fruit. Not that my kids need more energy, but bananas also are the perfect solution to satiate an ever-increasing appetite. I notice that my boys become really hungry after a game of soccer, and a piece of banana and an energy drink usually tide them over till dinner.


5. Flaxseed meal
I came across flaxseed meal when I tried this healthy banana yogurt muffin recipe I found online. And since I had one whole pack of flaxseed meal, I researched for more recipes and I found out that it’s super healthy. It’s a good source of omega 6 or linoleic acid. Like one ounce of flaxseed meal (approximately 4 Tablespoon) will yield about 6 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber.
Actually, flaxseed meal has a lot of benefits but I will only discuss two that are most relevant to me and my children. One is that it can boost immunity. And that is something school children need. Read more about this here: The Truth about Daycares. My kids’ school sends the kids home if they have the sniffles or even the slightest cough. This is their way of limiting the risk of spreading it to everyone. And it’s our duty as caregivers to do preventive measures.
Second benefit that I want to discuss is that flaxseed meal provides fats that are precursors for brain building. I mean, who doesn’t want smart kids right? This is especially important at the stage of life when a child’s brain grows the fastest, in utero and during infancy. Aside from providing the kids with the necessary tools to stimulate learning, it’s also helpful to provide them with brain foods.
So every chance I get, I sprinkle even just a teaspoon of flaxseed meal on my kids’ food. They won’t even notice it.
This is just the start of my journey to the road to healthy. I’m sure there are a lot more food choices out there that are super healthy that I have yet to discover. And I am an eager explorer. I’ve learned a lot of things during this new period in my life and one of them is living life with purpose, meaning, knowing my reason for being here and deciding and acting in ways that help me fulfill this purpose. For me, a large part of that is being as good a mom as I can be. This extends to grocery shopping, cooking for my kids, choosing their activities…in short, everything. My children are the most important people in my life and I am going to be deliberate in giving them the best. What do I mean by the best? I mean a life that empowers them to grow strong spirit, soul, and body given the realities of our situation. There are financial realities, emotional realities, physical realities, and all sort so of limitations, many of which other people try to put on us because they’re selfish, insecure, empty, and malicious. But we don’t have to live our lives trapped by their limitations. We have a Father we can cast our cares to and release our worries – and that’s the ultimate road to becoming healthy.
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