Friday, March 28, 2008

Nutrition unit study

One of the things I really want our family to know is good nutrition information.  Eating and being healthy is very very important to Dh and I.  Two fantastic books on food and eating are - In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto   and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals  both by Michael Pollan.  They will change the way you look at food and the way you eat.    Our family has been making the transition over to REAL FOOD and it's been fun.   A slight challenge to do it  on a budget - 4 small kids eat way more than I would have thought          and with a small freezer to not really store much food, makes it tricky.  But, we are feeling so much better, and now when we do eat junk food, it makes us sick.  I found a local farm that sells grass-fed meat, and I'm so excited to hopefully start buying some next month.  We just got a Sam's Membership (free through dh's work) and I went and did a month's worth of shopping there, so now I have to wait for grocery money again for meat, LOL.    I was amazed at how much stuff we eat that Sam's has.   They have a lot of nuts, frozen veggies and cheese and some produce that was a lot cheaper than a regular store.  That and diapers really will save us a lot of money.       

So we've quit eating virtually anything with High-Fructose Corn Syrup in it, and we've cut out a lot of artificial flavorings and colors, msg, soy more canned soups, boxed meals, cereal.......I do buy some things like ketchup and mayo and mustard that I'm not picky about - if it's an ingredient that we truly do eat in moderation, then that's fine.   But if you're getting it in every little thing of food you eat, then it's not moderation anymore.   Everyone says eating healthy is a lot more expensive, but I'm finding that now that I've been doing it for a few months and am getting a decent list of foods and recipes, it's not too bad.  It just takes a lot of time and effort.  Which is getting harder to do being nearly 8 months pregnant 

oh and another excellent book on vitamins and minerals and learning how they work and interact and what foods they're in, what deficiencies are caused by a lack of them, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements and a great website with lots of food and nutrients info is

So anyway, since talking about all of this and explaining to the kids why I don't buy yogurt from the store and why we make our own, why we only buy certain breads, why we don't eat hot dogs or boxed macaroni and cheese anymore (altho I found out that they will eat homemade mac 'n cheese if I use Velveeta - so that is their one big splurge meal - they love the cheese so much they don't even notice the whole wheat noodles Maybe that makes up for the truckload of chemicals in the 'cheese loaf'  ) has been such normal part of our life, and the kids are really interested in it, I figured we'll spend some time actually learning about nutrition in depth.    Maybe this will help break up the monotony of reading, writing, and math, that we've found ourselves in.    I've just started looking stuff up, so I'll probably be adding a lot more links and updating this over the next couple of weeks. 

I found a great book at the library that I'm using as our jumping off point.  Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition    It actually gets into nutrients and what they are and what they do and where they can be found, and it's more than just 'follow the FDA pyramid', but yet it's not too deep so as to overwhelm the kids or give them too many little details.

Here are a few links I've found so far.  I also found a few experiments from Janice Van Cleave's Biology book, that I'll type up when we do them.  I also have this Nutrition Pocket Chart Card Set  that the kids have been using to help classify foods by food group, what foods contain protein, what contains carbs, etc.  The only thing I don't like, and I think is fairly typical for most food/nutrition school things - is that it just has a bowl of rice for rice.  And one kind of bread, etc.   So I have to keep saying 'some of this food is bad for you, but some of it can be made good - brown rice instead of white, if you make your own muffins you can put good stuff in and not have chemicals in it, etc...'     It would be so nice if I could find a truly healthy nutritional learning supplements or curriculum or something.  Oh well.

hands-on digestion
Nutrition/Food Pyramid Ideas compilation
food and nutrition lesson plans
plan a meal

kids health - protein
WHFoods - protein
great clipart site
Digestive System Resources

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