Last week the Family Care Office hosted a collaborative workshop with Lianne Phillipson-Webb, the founder of Sprout Right, a unique health and nutrition service specializing in pre-conception, pre-natal and post-natal care to talk to U of T staff and students about the importance of eating well and how easy it can be.
To begin, we discussed the importance of healthy lunches for children as they head back to school, but after that most of our discussion was based on Meal Planning. With a little bit of planning it is easy to incorporate healthy diets into our ever-increasingly busy lifestyles.
The dreaded dinner: studies have shown that stress levels increase for women especially at the end of the paid work day as they begin to think about their domestic duties (Ostlin, 2002) especially the dreaded question of “what’s for dinner?”. With preplanning tools like the meal chart Lianne provided, it is easy to plan and shop ahead to make mealtimes easy for everyone.
So once you have decided to sit down and make a schedule and shopping list for your family’s upcoming meals, what happens next? How do you know what foods you should be serving your family and in what serving size? Lianne says that the best frame of reference is simple: half of the plate should consist of fruits and veggies, while the other half is broken into equal quarters of carbohydrates and protein. And don’t forget hydration! Liquids like water, or diluted juice allows our bodies to function properly.
Great. So now what can we fill our plates with? This is where the collaboration came in as participants shared some of their favourite recipes that were as tasty as they were easy to make. Like the 20 minute salmon recipe consisting of a piece of salmon topped with shredded coconut and baked at 400 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes (time depending on the size of the cut). While talking about all the ways to cook with fish, Lianne noted the importance of DHA in fish on the growth and development of children’s brains, suggesting that fish be served to children at least three times a week.
Throughout the workshop Lianne drove home the idea of the rainbow in that we should all focus on eating every colour of the rainbow every day. Which can be easier said than done for some families. For those who live with picky eaters, it might be beneficial to make a rainbow display or poster that stays in the kitchen so that children can check off when they eat something of each colour. The brighter the colours, the better their effects so fruits and vegetables like berries, spinach, etc. should be staples in family meals. For those picky eaters, hiding these kinds of foods in smoothies is an effective tactic.
Our diets, Lianne claims, work as a positive feedback loop where the most good stuff we get, the more we want and that goes for children as well. Since returning to school after living at home all summer and not eating very well, I am amazed at how much easier it is to pass up on those store bought cookies and head for an apple because that’s what I’ve been feeding myself. Having fruits and vegetables cut up in the refrigerator makes it easier for kids to make these better decisions for themselves.
Sen, G., George, A., & Östlin, P. (2002).WGS367, Sen et. al. 2002 0001.pdf : A review of research and policy. In Engendering International Health: The Challenge of Equity (pp. 1–33). Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.