Posts tagged ‘nutrition’

December 8, 2011

cook-it-up-and-eat-it-up

If the holidays aren’t a time for cooking, I don’t know what they are for! And my 3-year-old seems to have sensed the vibe, because he’s been spending an average of 30 minutes a day in his play kitchen recently.

He loves to cook, and I love cooking in my own kitchen while he putters away in his mini-version right next to me. As I simmer away the tomatoes and onions, he chops his velcro and wood fruit, mixes them in his mini pans and sticks them in the oven. Then he brings it over to me for a taste or insists that I sit down for a more formal meal.

And it’s even more fun when he gets up on his “learning tower” to cook along with me. So when we got this cookbook to review from OwlKids, we were both really excited. My son was very proud to show his dad that he has his very own cookbook, and it’s provided us with fun, great times together, and some really good food.

Title: Eat it Up!
Author: Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook
Age: 3 and up!

What to do with the kids:

These are simple, easy, and yummy recipes. Let your kid pick one out: the pictures will allow even kids who are too young to read to choose for themselves. Then take them to the store (or a farmer’s market if it’s summertime!) and let them help buy the ingredients.

The first recipe my son chose, much to my surprise, was the meat pie. I don’t eat red meat, and I don’t usually cook with it at home, so we used Field Roast Apple Sage sausages (which are meat-free, soy-free, and dairy-free and absolutely great). It was delicious! It was even better smothered with some Apple Butter. Hey, it’s the holidays, right?

October 26, 2011

Throwing in the dish towel

Today I’m over at Nashville Parent writing about getting toddlers to eat.

May 20, 2011

A book you’ll read in the kitchen: TANGERINE AND KIWI VISIT THE BREAD BAKER

If I could choose to pass only one thing down to my child, it would be good food.  After all, we are what we eat. Our bodies are our temples, and so on and so forth.  Modern science is finally catching on to what ancient traditions have always known—most of our problems will go away (or never appear!) if we eat well.

Eating with my 3-year-old has been a constant source of concern for me.  When he eats his veggies, I am so excited I have a hard time not showing it.  Same thing when he doesn’t–I work hard not to show my disappointment.  Like in a lot of areas of parenting, I spend a lot of internal energy making sure that my exterior is as cool as a cucumber.  Based on what I read on the parenting websites and in the magazines, I try not to make meal time a power struggle or emotional fight.  I don’t want to tell my kid he HAS to eat something because I don’t want him to refuse just to spite me.  I don’t want to tell him he will get dessert if he eats something because I don’t want sugar to become the reward and vitamins the hard work you have to do to get the reward.  Really, I just want to put the food in front of him and have him magically eat it up.

Well, that happens sometimes.  But there are also the times when he doesn’t eat it and I smile anyway and take his plate away.  Or the times when I can’t help myself and I do tell him he has to have three more bites.  Or the times when I persuade, argue and coerce him to try just one more thing.  Or the times when I hold dessert out as the carrot, irony intended.  So through a combination of tactics that parenting experts would both applaud and deride, I continue, as we all continue, as a mother of necessity.

When I saw this book in the Owl Kids book catalog, I was really excited and requested it immediately.  They sent me a review copy and I’m excited to spread the word.  Yes, this book is about bread, and I’m sure you could debate the health factors of bread.  But to me, this book touches on something much more important, something we have lost complete touch with: where our food comes from and how we make it.  Because at the end of the day, if you are eating something you made with your own hands, instead of something out of a plastic package, then you’re a step ahead.

And with childhood obesity hitting our country like an epidemic, it’s high time we all took those small steps with all of our children.

Title: Tangerine and Kiwi Visit the Bread Baker
Author: Laïla Héloua
Illustrator: Nathalie Lapierre
Translator: Sarah Cummins
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

Tangerine and Kiwi stay at their grandparents house and learn to make bread.  They learn about the flour and water, the yeast and the salt.  They hear stories about their Mom wh used to help make bread in the family bakery.  They do the work themselves, bake the bread over a wood fire, and, best of all, eat it up.  The illustrations are done in warm oranges and browns, which helps you visualize and almost smell the aroma of a warm loaf of bread.  There is a recipe at the end of the book.

The story is simple but the message is powerful.  The more children understand what food is and where it comes from, they more they will be able to make their own healthy choices as they grow up.

Follow-up with the kids:

There’s only one thing to do: bake bread!  The book even includes a recipe and directions.

This is an activity that kids will love!  Lots of mixing, kneading, and hands-on gooeyness.  They will be really excited to see the dough after it’s risen—I can remember being so excited myself when my mom made her special rolls for Thanksgiving.  And to this day, I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing that swollen mound in the bowl, just waiting for me to bake it and eat it.

Thank you, Owl Kids, for the review copy!  I really enjoyed the book!

And if you like this one, here are some others I can’t wait to read to my son:

February 22, 2011

There’s smart, there’s “Beyond Smart”, and then there’s my mother-in-law

When I tell people about this book, or about the author’s columns in ParentMap (a Pacific Northwest Parenting Magazine), or about the author’s appearance on TV, and then I mention that the author is my mother-in-law, they often ask me the same question, and with the same inflection.  It goes like this:

“Really? That’s so neat!” pause “So, what’s it like to have a mother-in-law who is a parenting expert?” smirk

Every time.  First, they are impressed.  Then, they think about their own mother-in-laws and aren’t sure if they would want those opinions backed by the title “parenting expert”.  But it’s not like that.  I have the good fortune to have a mom-in-law who is capable of having different opinions about how kids are raised without beating me over the head with them, even as she watches me ruin her grandchild in various different ways.  But really, most of the time we agree.

Although, I do often reply that part of me wishes her columns could save some space for the daughter-in-law’s rebuttal…I mean, I’m living with the final product, you know?  And no, he doesn’t know how to make the bed.

Title: Beyond Smart
Author: Linda Morgan
Genre: Parenting

Summary and Review:

Here’s my pet peeve about a lot of parenting books (not this one).  They are written by PhDs with something to say, usually one thing that’s very specific.  These people are used to writing long dissertations on a single subject and they seem to think that that’s the kind of thing everyone wants to read. But they are wrong.  Most of the parenting books I pick up should be parenting chapters.  They are one idea and you can get most of the information from skimming the back cover, and by the time you are done with the intro chapter, you’ve learned 90% of what you are going to learn, but then you dutifully slog through another 200 pages of evidence, personal stories, and sidebars, all of which, you realize when you get to the end (or much sooner if you are paying any attention), is the same as what you learned in the intro chapter.  There are some parenting books out there where I really don’t think you need to read much more than the title.  Things like “saying no” or “setting limits” are right there in the title and you’ve learned most of what you are going to learn and you haven’t even flipped it over to read the back.

Which brings me to this book.  This book is not written by a PhD with a dissertation on her mind.  It’s written by an experienced, award-winning journalist with access to PhDs and the talent to translate what they are saying down to a few pages that you actually want to read.  It’s not a book you are done with in the introduction–the introduction just whets your appetite for the diverse and meaningful middle parts.  The book is about how parents can make a difference in their child’s learning, and it takes a really broad approach to this.  We’re not just talking raising grades here.  We’re talking emotional intelligence, temperament, brainpower, risk-taking, and a heck of a lot more.

Also, the book includes Q and A’s with really famous experts in a variety of fields: Alice Waters talks about teaching your kids about food, giving even more insight to a chapter on preparing lunches and breakfasts as part of being ready for kindergarten.  Wendy Mogel, PhD, (I’ve already blogged on one of her books here) talks about dealing with failures and the dangers of over-coddling in a chapter about dealing with a wide variety of school issues, including failure.  Michael Thompson, PhD, (I’ve blogged on one of his books, too) talks about the differences between boys and girls in a chapter on social issues.  And there’s a lot more–both chapter-wise and expert-wise.

Other topics included in this book are developing a parenting plan and becoming your child’s emotional coach from birth, dealing with the child-centered toddler years, advocating for your child during the school years, keeping up with math and science, writing, and public speaking, and getting the most out of a summer vacation.

I loved this book because it covers a wide variety of topics, it’s short and sweet, and it gives you a wide variety of opinions, not just one.  If you find yourself really interested in one of the topics, or one of the expert’s opinions, you can always go and find another book on that topic.  But this is a phenomenal place to start and a great reference.  It’s easy to pick up and look at after you’ve read it, to refresh on a few ideas because it’s well-organized and topic-centered.  Covering areas of development from birth through high school and issues including emotion, academics, food, and family, this is a must-have parenting book!

And really, bed-making aside, she did a good job with the one I’m married to, so that’s saying something…I always like to check bios on parenting books to see if the author has any kids.  I am VERY suspicious of taking advice from someone who doesn’t…