Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sugar Free New Year?

In 2009, for Lent (even though I'm not religious or Christian, but because it was a set, limited amount of time), I decided to not eat anything that had sugar added. Foods that I decided I would not eat include desserts, soda or other sweetened drinks (such as flavored syrups in drinks at Starbucks, since I was working there then), candy, and even sweetened foods or drinks that used artificial sweeteners (thinking that reducing intake of artificial sweeteners would help reduce my craving of sweet foods). I did not limit my intake of naturally sweet foods such as fruit.

I was surprised at how well it went, how little I actually craved sweets. I did have a few weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday where my drink of choice was an extra caramel sauce Caramel Macchiatto, and I did indulge whatever sweet craving I had. On the other hand, if I remember correctly, it only took a few days before I somewhat stopped having such frequent cravings for sweets. I'm not saying that I never wanted desserts or soda, but I am saying that those cravings were few, far between, and easily handled.

I'm thinking of doing this again, starting January 2nd. (I would start January 1st, but we'll be at a family Christmas get together, and there might be cookies that I'll want to eat. I know it's a lame excuse, but it's an excuse I can live with.) I've been eating a lot of cookies and such lately, unrelated to holidays, and I feel like it's hindering my attempts at eating healthier, which is hindering my attempts at weight loss. I don't mean to say that I want to stop eating sugar so I'll lose weight. I mean to say that I want to stop eating sugar for a time so that I can make it easier for myself to eat healthier which will hopefully make it easier to lose weight.

I don't know how long I'll want to keep it up, but I'm aiming for at least a month. I suppose I'll reevaluate as needed. I know I'll at least have to make an exception for Pi(e) Day, if I make it that long. I'm looking forward to drinking more water, eating fruit and not worrying about whether or not I should feel guilty about things I've eaten.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Better late than never.

Last week, Grace ate two foods that I'd offered a bunch of times but she'd always rejected: oatmeal and gnocchi. I always offer her a taste of foods even when she's rejected them before, because tastes change and you never know. I had kind of given up on oatmeal, though, since I eat it for breakfast almost every weekday morning and she never showed any interest.
Not so last week, though. She pointed at my oatmeal (which we encourage her to do to communicate rather than the ear-splitting shrieking that she does sometimes) and I thought she was pointing at every other thing on the table (sippy, puffs, fruit, etc.) before I finally realized she wanted some oatmeal. She ate four or five big bites. I was definitely surprised. The same thing happened with the gnocchi, though she had had less exposure to them since I don't cook them that often.
These two experiences encourage me to keep offering her foods that she's rejected because you never know when she'll start liking something. I don't have any expectations that she'll eat mass quantities, though. If she doesn't like or want something, I won't force her to eat it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Eat Food Too.

I've been thinking about foods that I would like to learn how to make, baked goods made with whole wheat flour, for example. I've also been thinking about how I'd like to learn how to make a dish or two that has many components that could take many tries to perfect. The food that got me thinking this way was banh mi, which has many components that I could learn how to make (baguette, pickled vegetables, pork products of many types, etc.) but would also be possible to make at home with purchased components so I could focus on one at a time. Another food that I've been thinking of working on perfecting is soup, especially soup made with my own stock. I'm not launching a cooking extravaganza today, but I am thinking about it in the back of my mind for when I have more time or for the next time I go grocery shopping and feel adventurous.

PS: If anyone's interested in reading stupid things I write in 140 character increments, I'm foodbabymama over there as well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something Obvious.

Obviously I haven't posted the past few days. Obviously I can no longer say that I'm really trying to post every day for the month of December. It's ok, though, because I had a dream about blogging. That counts, right? Actually it's somewhat frustrating, because I had a few good ideas of things to write about in this dream, yet I can't remember any of them.

Unrelated, I've been reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories", and I want everyone I know to read this book so I have people to chat with about it. It's a huge book and it's taking me forever to read it, but I feel the need to chat with someone about it. I've been thinking about posting a few quotes here so I can remember them and also in the hopes that someone will read them and have some insight.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 11: Food Alternatives?

N.B.: I had the new post window up to write yesterday, but life got in the way, so here I am posting it today. It's all good.

A wide continuum of options exists on how to react when a child decides she doesn't want to eat whatever food it is that you've prepared for a meal. On one side, there is "eating everything on your plate", whereas on the other side is "eating whatever you feel like (whether it's what's offered or not)". Somewhere towards the middle, but towards the side of "eat what you feel like", is what I feel I strive for, based on Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility.

The division of responsibility for a parent involves providing the what, when and where of food. To me, this means that my responsibility as a parent is to provide my child with a variety of foods, some that she's had before and some new. It is also my responsibility to decide when and where she will eat, so I have to provide this variety of food either at times when I know she is hungry or at a proper interval of times such that she has enough opportunities to eat if she chooses to.

The division of responsibility for the child involves choosing whether or not to eat and how much to eat. To me, this means that my child's responsibility is to decide if she is hungry when I am providing food. She also must decide for herself which foods she wants to eat and when she's had enough.

On an ideal day, I provide her with meals and snacks in such intervals and variety that she eats a good amount of the food that I've provided. On a less than ideal day, our timing is off and the food that I'm providing does not necessarily involve foods that she prefers. On these less than ideal days, I devolve into giving her alternatives or puffs or mum mums. Example: Lunchtime I make something for myself that I know she doesn't like and I make something for her that I think she might like. She likes neither food, so I'll give her some cheese and pepperoni or banana or something. Another example: Dinner is later than expected for whatever reason, so I give her some mum mums and puffs, and because of the timing that ends up being her dinner because at dinner time she's full from the snack. For the first example, I'm trying to make her meal options something I know she'll like and my meal options something she might like so she can try new things but also have something she'll like. For the second option, I'm trying to just give her a dinner food when it's around the time we would've been eating dinner so she's eating something a bit more healthful than puffs. At this point, I think her eating healthful food is more important than our eating dinner together, though I like it when we all eat dinner together.

One of the things I'm wondering is how this will play out later in her life. Am I turning into the kind of parent who will make separate foods specifically for my child because I "know" she won't eat what I'm offering? How can I make sure I'm offering a variety of foods that include things she'll like without becoming a short order cook? Also, how can I make sure that we can all have dinner together when our dinner time is variable from day to day? These are all things that I consider when shopping for food and planning and preparing meals. I know I don't have all of the answers, but I think that as long as I keep thinking about it and trying to do what works for us, I'm on the right track.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 9: Blogging about blogging.

I'm not sure what I'm doing here. I'm not sure why I'm not blogging under the twitter name I already use. I'm not sure if that even matters. Should I have a consistent user name? Should I even be worried about that when I haven't even told anyone that I'm writing this blog? Should I tell people about this blog? Should I start using the twitter account I created when I created this blog so I could become a "super mommy blogger"? Should I use one account for tweeting about baby/mama stuff and one for everything else? Can I stop caring about becoming a "super mommy blogger" and just write about being a mom and how awesome my kid is and how she eats food and I sometimes make her food and sometimes get lazy and buy her food and etc etc etc? I know I'll probably never be famous or get paid or any of that, but I kind of think I have some things to say about parenting and being a mom and having a kid and cooking and eating and food that I'd like to say and wouldn't mind if people read and responded to.
I just wish I didn't get so hung up on the particulars.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 8: Clementines

Clementine season is upon us, and we're going through clementines like water. We're already on our second case and I only bought the first one a week ago. I'll peel one or two and put a few segments on the table for Grace to eat if she wants. She'll then proceed to half-chew a couple and then spit them out and leave the half-chewed pieces around the living room. She'll pick them up and hand them to me, if I ask, so it's not like they're still there rotting away.
Clementines and hand washing are my way of handling cold and flu season.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 7: Boo.

So, I had this great dinner in the oven: chicken, roasted veggies, baked potatoes. Then I took it out of the oven and burned myself on the pan and dropped it all over the floor.
We got food from Wawa.
Needless to say, I'm not in the mood to talk all positive about food today.
That is all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 6: Rice Cereal?

In a USA Today article, Alan Greene, a pediatrician at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital is encouraging parents to start babies with brown rice cereal or vegetable purees instead of the highly processed rice cereal that many babies have been eating for years. The idea is that white rice processed into a puree cereal for babies is about the most processed form of a grain you can get, whereas a brown rice cereal or vegetable puree will be more nutritious. This was my thinking exactly when we were starting solids. I didn't understand how, when many nutrition recommendations include eating more whole grains, babies would be started on solid foods with an excessively processed food.
We started with sweet potato and banana. Now she eats almost any food that's soft or small enough for her to chew with her gums. Some allergenic foods she hasn't had yet include strawberries, tomatoes, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. She's had cake, but not candy or chocolate. She also only drinks breastmilk or water. We haven't given her milk or juice yet, not to mention soda or coffee or anything like that.
We aren't the world's healthiest eaters, but we're doing ok.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 5: Starbucks Sunday

We've developed a fun routine of going to the Starbucks where I used to work and having breakfast, just Grace and I. I get a latte and Grace gets a cherry yogurt. Sometimes a banana is involved. She can totally decimate that yogurt, which I'm still surprised at despite the fact that she's been doing so for months. It's fun  to visit people and do something different from our normal weekday routine. We're kind of limited to what yogurt she can have, though, because the other two involve strawberries, which she hasn't had because I'm paranoid about introducing strawberries because I had an allergic reaction when I was little, or honey, which she hasn't had because of the risk of botulism. Some day she'll try both of those things, then she'll have to pick one, but until then, it's just the cherry.
Maybe tomorrow I'll write about how she can make decisions about breakfast or what she'll wear for the day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 4: Pretending Day 3 doesn't exist

If I don't pretend that yesterday just doesn't exist, then I'll get all self-conscious (even though no one is reading this, which is totally ok) and want to either back date an entry so it looks like I posted every day or delete everything and start over. I really would like to be able to go back in time to yesterday and post the stupid little blurb about bananas that I was thinking would be ok, but I can't, so we'll just move forward like everything is fine and it will be.

So, bananas. I feel like she's been eating bananas for ever, but obviously she hasn't been alive that long. Bananas are our go to fruit, though. During the summer, I would put almost-too-ripe-to-eat bananas in the freezer, broken up into thirds, and she would gnaw on them when it was crazy hot out. Now, she'll eat almost a whole banana for breakfast if and only if the "better" part of breakfast hasn't been presented to her yet. I'll sit her in her highchair while I'm still gathering our breakfast and she'll happily munch on as much banana as I give her. Once she sees the bowl of yogurt or the sausage or whatever it is, the banana goes on the floor and she'll only look at it as if to say, "ew, you want me to eat what now?"

It's also almost like the amount of banana she's eaten has no influence on what she'll eat afterwards. Some days she'll eat a whole banana plus anything else I'll put in front of her. Some days she'll eat one chunk of banana and three or four bites of yogurt and that's it. It's probably better that she eat when she's hungry and that I don't try to force her to eat more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day Two: Broccoli

I put some broccoli spears in when I was cooking pasta for my lunch. There I was, eating pasta and broccoli for my lunch and Grace had quesadilla for her lunch. I was giving her pieces of my pasta to try, which she was taking small bites from then throwing on the floor. Then she started pointing at my pasta. I thought she wanted more pasta but when I tried to give her more, she kept pointing. I gave her a spear of broccoli and she happily munched on it.
Strange things happen when you least expect it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 1: Where We Are Now

Writing and posting late in the day, so I'll keep it short so I can at least say I posted something.

We've gotten into a good routine of sorts for our weekday breakfasts and lunches. Breakfast is some sort of fruit (usually banana), then yogurt or sausage. It was chobani yogurt with fruit for a while, but recently we switched to a plain yogurt with some fruit added. She'll gobble down a whole order of sausage when we go to the diner, so I've been cooking her some sausage for breakfast during the week some times.
Lunch for the past few months has been cheese quesadilla, sometimes with something else in addition like pepperoni or some of what I'm eating for lunch.

It's dinner that we have the most variability and, to be honest, that I have the most trouble with. I'm trying to make more vegetables for her, but it's not really something I'm that great at doing on a consistent basis. We've taken to giving her a pouch of veggie puree some days, which I'm just deciding I'm ok with and not feeling guilt over.

I'm trying little by little to get more variety of foods into her diet, but it's slow going.