Meal Plan 2/28/16 – 3/11/16

It only took me like 5-6 hours to make this meal plan. I am all meal planned out. Hopefully it will get easier. I don’t remember it taking this long last time I did meal plans like this. Of course, I never checked that I was hitting all of the food groups so, I suppose that added time.

The number one lesson I learned this week while meal planning? Use a pencil on my check mark sheet. As you can see above, I had many scratch outs and it looks awful and became a little confusing to read.

Otherwise, I’m quite happy how the plan turned out. Now here’s hoping I don’t forget anything at the grocery store!

Here is the link to the (almost) 2-week menu: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M30B3gm4RKK9ohPHN9kn8f2955Q1pjAtKfkdIhoJGYo/edit?usp=sharing

What do you think? Too much effort for a meal plan or is it a great idea?

xoxo,

Kels

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Nutrition in Meal Planning

Monday kinda got me on a nutrition kick. Before I got pregnant I was actually really good at tracking my food. We had trouble conceiving and my doctor told me if I lost weight, it would be easier. At the beginning of 2015, I was 170 pounds (I’m 5’4″) and wore a medium/size 8. I wasn’t huge but, that was the biggest I’d ever been. After my doctor told me loosing weight would be best, I took to it with vigor. Difficulty conceiving was completely out of my hands but, my weight – I could control that. My type A-ness was completely stoked. In April, I put myself on 1500 calories a day which was the lowest (according to somewhere on the internet) I should go. I am dead set against doing diets that restrict what you can and can’t have because I know I would fail in a minute if I couldn’t have potatoes or chocolate milk or things like that. So, I allowed myself to have anything I wanted, but if I ran out of calories it sucked to be me. Anyways, about halfway through the year, I had to switch doctors (I graduated college and could no longer see one of the schools doctors). He flat out told me that 1500 calories was too high for me if I wanted to lose substantial weight and told me to go down to 1200. (Don’t freak out anyone! It’s because I have PCOS which basically makes it difficult for my body to transfer food into energy and instead just stores it. I need less food than a normal person). I dropped down to 1200 calories. For those of you who have never eaten that few calories before, it isn’t a lot and you really have to plan your food well to not end up eating celery for dinner. So, for a couple months, I planned every individual meal and snack for the day and how they related to the other meals so I wouldn’t go hungry. I had all the foods listed and all of their calories next to them. I lost 25 pounds between April and October (when I found out I was pregnant). I lost another 5 pounds the first month I knew I was pregnant because I couldn’t eat anything. Fast forward to my last doctor’s appointment and my doctor tells me this: ‘So, you didn’t gain almost any weight your first trimester so this is okay but, this past month you gained 8 pounds. You don’t want to continue doing that.’

Oops. 

The past couple of weeks, I’ve really been trying to scale back my eating and I aim for 1800-2000 calories. (Side note: When you’re pregnant, you should add about 300 calories to what your body normally needs. When non-pregnant 1500 calories had me loosing a little weight so, I aim for a little above 1800. Everyone is different though so, ask your doctor!). As, I was reviewing nutrition information for my article on Monday, I realized I probably wasn’t getting all the nutrients me or Little C needs. So, I consulted the handy-dandy MyPlate. Thanks government! I mixed the recommendations of how many servings of each food group I need for someone my age/weight/height that isn’t pregnant vs that is (hence why they are optional). The reason I did this is because, MyPlate decided that I needed 2400 calories as a pregnant woman. Which might be true normally but, definitely isn’t for me.

Anyways, after that long rambling explanation, here is what I came up with:

I meal plan by two weeks, which is why there are two checkboxes under each day of the week.When I meal plan, I have the chart printed and check the boxes as I assign food to each day. I also check calories as I go along. I use My Fitness Pal (non-affiliated link, I just love them so much, and it’s free) to check calories for each food item.

I will post the full 2 week menu on Friday!

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Fruit 1
Fruit 2
Vegetable 1
Vegetable 2
Vegetable 3
Grain 1
Grain 2
Grain 3
Grain 4
Grain 5
Grain 6
Grain 7 (opt)
Grain 8 (opt)
Protein 1
Protein 2
Protein 3
Protein 4
Protein 5
Protein 6
Dairy 1
Dairy 2
Dairy 3

 

2 Servings of fruit:

  • 1 cup raw fruit
  • ½ cup dried fruit
  • 1 cup 100% fruit juice

2.5 – 3 Servings Vegetables

  • 1 cup raw/cooked veggies
  • 2 cups leafy salad greens

6 – 8 servings Grains

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ cup of cooked rice/pasta/cereal
  • ½ cup cooked Oatmeal

5.5 – 6.5 Servings Protein

  • 1 oz meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ cup beans

3 Servings dairy

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 5 oz cheese

How do you make sure you eat healthily?

xoxo,

Kels

Nutrition in Young Children

I often write articles for NAFCC (The National Association for Family Child Care). Here is the article I wrote for this month’s featured standard (NAFCC requires their accredited providers to meet certain standards to be accredited with them).

4.73 The provider serves nutritious and sufficient food following Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines. If parents bring food, the provider assures that it is nutritious or supplements it.

Young children’s stomachs are only about the size of their fists. This is why small but frequent feedings work best. Try to feed your toddler ever 3 or so hours. A child’s body uses nutrients from food to function properly throughout the day. Children that are fed a healthy diet can learn, grow, and play!

Some of the benefits of good nutrition in children are:

  • A healthy weight for their height
  • Mental well-being
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Strong bones and muscles
  • Good energy levels
  • The ability to fight off sickness and disease
  • Easier recovery from illness or injury
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, joint problems, breathing problems, and obesity

Remember that offering nutritious food is not enough. It is important to encourage learning about good nutrition so, that older children can learn to make good decisions on their own.

Tips for encouraging healthy learning:

  • Offer a variety of healthy foods so children don’t see healthy foods as boring foods.
  • Expect children to like new foods but, don’t be discouraged if they don’t. It takes multiple tries for children to adjust to the texture and taste of new foods.
  • Encourage children to eat slowly and enjoy their food.
  • Allow the children to determine how much they eat. Encourage them to listen to their bodies and when their bodies tell them they are full.
  • Avoid using food as a reward or a punishment.
  • Use real food labels in imaginary play areas. Encourage and teach older children to read labels.
  • Encourage children to safely help prepare health meals and snacks.

While children may spend a great deal of time in your care, parents have a huge impact on the health of their children. Encourage parents to continue offering healthy choices at home. Make sure to offer them a menu so they can plan their meals  and supplement the nutrients the child is already getting in your care. Offer parents a copy of the CACFP Meal Pattern. This offers a simplified checklist for busy parents to make sure they are providing all the food groups their child needs.

The above tips are not all inclusive.  After all, there are Many Right Ways! Find your own creative ways to encourage children to eat healthily and teach them about the importance of good nutrition.

For more helpful information conduct your own internet search or visit the sites listed below.

http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/cacfp-wellness-resources-child-care-providers

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating/nutrition-healthy-eating-for-kids.html

Resources:

Chan, By Amanda. “10 Ways to Promote Kids’ Healthy Eating Habits.”LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/35876-kids-healthy-eating-tips.html>.

Editorial Staff. “Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids.” Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids. American Academy of Family Physicians, Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating/nutrition-healthy-eating-for-kids.html>.

“Healthy Eating for Kids.” Healthy Eating for Kids. Memiah Limited, 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/content/healthy-eating-for-kids.html>.

Photo Credit: Bruce Tuten