Happy Lands & Strong Princes & Princesses
“Happy are you, O land, when your princes feast at the proper time, for strength and not for drunkenness.” Ecclesiastes 10:17
You might be wondering how princes feasting and drunkenness applies to your life as a parent right now...but hang in there and I’ll try to explain. Think of your home as the “land”, your kids as the “princes” (and princesses), and those crazy, bouncing off the walls, absolutely insane times (I know you have them too...) as the drunkenness. That puts it into context a bit more, right?
I chose this particular verse as a starting point for talking about our kids’ nutrition because it touches on a couple very practical things we can apply that will make for healthy, happy homes.
- “Happy are you, O land...” who doesn’t want a happy home? Children have the uncanny ability to turn our homes into quite the joyful...or joy-less places, am I right? So anything we can do to increase the joy is more than welcome!
- “when your princes feast at the proper time...” This is pretty straightforward, our kids need to eat 3 proper meals a day, with 1 or 2 snacks in between. But, in the chaos of life, sometimes I don’t think about food for 3 or 4 hours...until my children are inconsolable! I like to attempt to provide something nourishing every 2 hours. But there is a time to “feast” and a time snack. Get your kids started out right in the morning with a nourishing breakfast that includes protein. Snacks are important, but don’t over-do and try not to crowd out the bigger meals. Snacking should end an hour or 2 before the next big meal. Feasting at the proper time means that there are times when the kitchen is open, and times it’s closed! If my kids ask for a snack right before supper is ready, I’ll give them some raw veggies, and if they don’t want that, they can wait.
- “for strength and not for drunkenness.” I can’t help but think of a sugar high as the child’s version of drunkenness. When kids have sugar, their thought-process is impaired, they can’t calm down enough to walk at all, let alone in a straight line, and there is a major crash (hangover if you will...) after it has left their system. All kidding aside, giving our children nourishing food, and training them to nourish their bodies rather than simply shoving into their mouth whatever they want, is one of the most important lifelong lessons we can teach them.
Here's some typical foods that we choose from to nourish our bodies each day:
For breakfast, it’s oatmeal (old-fashioned or steel cut is best), pancakes or eggs, along with fruit and buttered toast with honey as back-ups. Plain Greek yogurt sweetened with honey is a great way to sneak some protein into a cold breakfast of granola and fruit. I also add eggs to just about everything. They're cheap and it’s easy to change up the way they’re prepared. My kids love hot oatmeal, and I even stir carton egg whites into our slightly-cooled oatmeal to give it some extra protein.
Snacks for us are fruit, homemade popsicles or smoothies, peanut butter and celery, meat sticks and string cheese, or nuts and dried fruit.
For big meals, I always think, where’s the protein...meat, nuts, beans, lentils, eggs, etc. Where’s the healthy carb...brown rice, potatoes (fries don’t count...haha), fruit or whole grain bread. Where’s the veggie? Frozen peas and colored peppers are my kids’ favorites. And lastly, where’s the healthy fat? Coconut oil, butter, avocado, whole milk, cheese. Kids need each of these components at every meal to allow their bodies to function and grow in a healthy way.
You might be thinking that this is an impossible task, but if you stick with it, the reward will last well into adulthood! To finish up, I wanted to share one of my favorite websites for food and mom-life encouragement. If you’re wondering where to start, check out Heavenly Homemakers. Laura, the author, is a homeschooling, foster mom of 6 currently. She uses simple, real food recipes to nourish her family, from college-aged all the way down to a 1 year old. Check out this post. It includes 31 posts about everything from getting started with real food, biblical encouragement, and meal planning tips.
If you have questions or just want to chat about challenges or questions you have, give me a call or text, I’d love to meet up with you. Here’s to happy lands and strong princes and princesses!