1974 vs. 2014: How Has Our Health and Well-Being Changed?

Once upon a time I was a girl who ate fast food a few times a week and threw Little Debbie’s into my grocery cart. I am from the South and growing up, my family was about as Southern as Southern gets … big dinners on Sundays, homemade biscuits with jelly for breakfast, and plates piled high with desserts.

Don’t get me wrong – I was not raised to be an unhealthy eater. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, sitting down each night for a balanced dinner was the norm. I also spent plenty of time at my grandparents house soaking up good nutritional habits. I loved their outside adventures like eating watermelon, helping to shuck peas, or tending to the garden.

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 As I was growing up, I don’t remember ever having to worry about the world I lived in. I felt safe. I wasn’t worried about myself or my friends. Our biggest concern was a pretty easy concept to grasp … if you ate too much food, you got fat. We didn’t worry about wheezing, food allergies, autism, or ADHD. We didn’t worry about it because we didn’t have to.

But then I had children.

And so I did what most American moms do … I attempted to continue on with my worry-free life. We live in a society where instant gratification rules. A society where it is the norm for us to pop open a bag of goldfish crackers along with a juice box and call it a snack. A society that both rewards and bribes kids with Skittles, suckers, and M&Ms.

We don’t know what is in the food because we’ve never had to concern ourselves with it. We ate junk food growing up and turned out just fine so why should we treat our own children any different?

But, for many of us, the state of our children’s health, or our own, is forcing us to choose a different path … to think for ourselves and form our own opinions.

“Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.” — Florence Nightingale

The purpose of this blog is to help you out of this crazy maze we’ve lost ourselves and our babies in. This blog is for parents who want more for their children. Mamas who are tired of taking their kids to the doctor all of the time. And people who are figuring out that the world we live in today is very different from the one we grew up in several decades ago.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Today is the first day of fall and some of my favorite things in life are cool weather, camping, fires outside, pumpkins, smores, fall festivals, flannel shirts, and jeans. I also love the campfire lunch that I pack my kids every week or two in their PlanetBox. It is not super healthy, but definitely great fun for the allergy kids. This special lunch makes my six-year-old beam with happiness.

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  • Hebrew National All Beef Hot Dog
  • Ketchup – Extra from Chick-fil-A – A great fire to grill a hot dog over!
  • Campfire trail mix – Van’s GF Cinnamon Heaven Cereal, Newman’s Own Organic Raisins, and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • Roasted marshmallows with Glutino GF Pretzil Sticks
  • Organic apples

Pancakes! They’re Not Just For Saturdays!

I love, love, love fixing my kids breakfast for lunch. I do not put an ice pack with this meal and by lunchtime the meal is room temperature. My kids still gobble it up and don’t mind one bit.

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  • Allie’s Awesome Pancake (A mix that is gluten, egg, dairy free)
  • Or Van’s Gluten Free Waffles
  • Local Honey in PlanetBox dipping container
  • Jones All Natural Turkey Sausage cooked in coconut oil
  • Organic Oranges

 

Day 4 – TGIF Nachos

Friday is typically pizza day at my kids’ school. I have one boy who loves pizza and the other who hates it. (I know, right? Who hates pizza? Especially a kid?) If at all possible, I try to make Fridays a special lunch day and make a choice that complements the pizza that their friends are eating.

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  • Browned ground beef
  • Daiya non-dairy shredded cheese
  • Scoop corn chips – I’ve also used Garden of Eatin’ Blue Chips for this meal
  • Organic apples

Sometimes for this meal I will include pizza sauce to dip the chips in. Or, I’ve also completely mocked pizza day and included a piece of Pure Knead toast instead of the chips. Pizza sauce is definitely a must for this option! I include a small measuring teaspoon to spread the pizza sauce on the toast.

Happy Friday! Tune in this weekend for the last two installments of this series.

Day 3 – Simple Hot Lunch Love

Once a week I pack my kids spaghetti in a thermos. Typically I use leftovers from the night before, but I also keep a stash of cooked spaghetti meat sauce in the freezer for back up. I love this meal because (a.) they have a healthy, warm lunch from home and (b.) they get two veggie servings (tomato sauce and a green). I pack my six-year-old green beans and my ten-year-old a salad on these days. It makes me feel quite gourmet.

Here is Day 3 of a Simple Lunch …

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  • Noodles – Gluten Free -Sam Mills Corn Pasta d’oro
  • Spaghetti Sauce (non-dairy) with Ground Beef 
  • Salad or Green Beans

Day 2 – Allergy Friendly Back to School Lunches

My six year old is currently dairy, egg, gluten, and nut free. Just recently, I have started suspecting that dairy is the culprit for my ten-year-old son’s asthma flares. Therefore, currently he is dairy free to see if the problem goes away. I try to limit soy with both of my boys.

Because I have two kids with different nutritional requirements, I try to fix similar lunches that are tweaked a bit.

Here is my six-year-old’s lunch …

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  • Boar’s Head Ovengold Turkey sliced Medium
  • Chocolate Muffin (“The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children with Autism” by Megan Hart & Kim Lutz – Chocolate Cupcake recipe)
  • Organic Grapes
  • Garden of Eatin’ Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Here is my ten-year-old’s lunch …

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* This photo was taken prior to my son being dairy free. In addition to the cheese, the turkey sticks have nonfat dry milk in them. 

 

Allergy Friendly Back to School Lunches

To kick off the grand opening of Family Live Life Well and because it is back-to-school time, I will be posting every day this week. I often get asked by moms what I pack in my kids’ lunches. I have recently invested in two fabulously amazing PlanetBoxes and wanted to share what is going in them these days.

Please don’t judge if you are a perfect mom … or a nutritionist … or if your kids genuinely enjoy things like brussel sprouts, roasted asparagus, or zucchini muffins. I don’t cut my food into pretty shapes or hide love notes to my boys in their lunch boxes. I think these moms are awesome, but despite my best efforts, I just can’t seem to make it my reality.

Because of my son’s many allergies, I have tried just about every healthy recipe out there, but I have found that both my boys like for me to keep it simple.

I have also learned not to beat myself up if they hate something; there is no shame in choosing a better – not best – alternative to junk. In other words, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For example, my kids refuse to eat homemade kale chips out of the dehydrator, but I switched from Lay’s to a healthier non-GMO potato chip brand.

Another disclaimer: my lunches do not contain items that are 100 percent healthy. I believe in moderation. I believe in 1 cup of Powerade one time a week after a special baseball game win, but not a 32 ounce bottle every time they step on the field. I believe in 1/2 of a bag of Skittles as a special treat once a week, but not every day as an after school snack.

I also for the record, do not think the dyes and high fructose corn syrup that is in most of the junk that I occasionally allow is okay. I. Do. Not. Think. It. Is. Okay. But as much as I don’t want it in our society, it is. Whether I like it or not. Therefore, I allow minimal amounts and my kids are okay with that.

I know there are loads of articles online about allergy-friendly snacks and lunches and quite often it can be overwhelming. I am a simple girl.

Here is Day 1 of a Simple Lunch:

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  • Boar’s Head Ovengold Turkey sliced Medium
  • Pure Knead GF Bread
  • Organic Grapes
  • Glutino GF Pretzils
  • 3 Skittles in mini dessert tray

Tune in each day this week for more lunch ideas. 

Lots of pictures this week, not a lot of words.

Also, feel free to share your own lunch ideas in the comments section below.