We know that good nutrition is essential for the young and old, much like the lessons we instill in our children. Parents should foster a healthy relationship with food. I will admit I didn't always have a healthy relationship with food. I guess you can say I was a late bloomer. I drastically changed my diet once I knew I was pregnant, well that's aside from the vanilla milkshake cravings I had all the time! My pregnancy was the healthiest I'd ever eaten up to that point.
After nine months of healthy eating, it stuck. I breastfed my daughter, and when she started to eat solids, I made most of her food, and when I didn't, I tried to make sure it had real nutritional value. I gave her a taste of as many flavors as I could, even ones I didn't like, like cauliflower and squash. Those flavors have grown on me too. The key is to diversify their taste buds when they start eating solids.
Unfortunately, this isn't always an option for a lot of parents. Low-income/racial disparities make it difficult or impossible to find affordable choices. Inner-city neighborhoods are stocked with high sodium, sugars, and many foods with unhealthy additives can cause diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. So what is the solution for these parents?
Luckily, there's been a shift in how companies produce products as they are held accountable for their ingredients. As consumers, we need to keep our food suppliers responsible and demand healthier options in our supermarkets. A recent article you can read here shares the result of a study in California. Recipients of SNAP were given more opportunities and incentives to purchase healthier produce and at affordable prices. Farmers' markets and pop-up markets are now some of the places many can buy more nutritious produce. When families purchase healthier items, SNAP matches it with a credit at the end of the month. Giving families more means to continue eating healthy foods.
Mrs. Gonzalez, a participant in the program, is grateful for the opportunity. The program gave her the ability to offer healthier options to her children, much like she had growing up in Mexico. Before the program, she could not provide her children with avocados or artichokes, some of her favorites from childhood. It would be fantastic if this program could be permanently a part of the SNAP program. Mainly because in the states, we have an unprecedented amount of cases of diabetes, particularly in children. The availability and affordability of healthy foods should be available to all residents. I am hopeful that there will be continued reform and education on the benefits of a healthy and balanced diet.
I am grateful that I can provide healthy food and create healthy habits for my daughter. My husband and I make sure that every meal has a side of veggies or fruits. We've dedicated at least three days to vegetarian meals. I love to bake, so we indulge in a slice of deliciously moist chocolate cake or other baked goods from time to time. But I do my best to use good ingredients. I also infuse healthy ingredients like turmeric into Apple pies and banana and zucchini bread and have cut the use of sugar. Experiment with new flavors and fruits and turn them into a teachable moment. For instance, you can discuss turmeric's origin or that the colors of blueberries and other similar fruits indicate that they are high in antioxidants. Everything has a story. All in all, it's about balance and having fun!
Misfit Market has been our go-to subscription for fresh organic fruits and veggies at a reasonable price. It's definitely worth checking out; I know there are a few other similar subscriptions. Imperfect foods is another subscription I've wanted to try as well. When I give them a try, I'll be back with a review of both.
Until then, see below for a delicious recipe. There is also a printable version attached. Thanks for reading!
Zucchini Banana Bread
1½ cup flour
½ tsp salt( I use sea salt)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup of coconut or avocado oil
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup grated zucchini
¼ cup Almond milk( or your preference)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
cup of dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°
Mash bananas and grater zucchini put aside.
Prepare a loaf or ring mold pan with parchment or grease and flour.
Mix all the dry ingredients.
Mix all the wet ingredients, including the banana and zucchini.
Combine the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until just incorporated.
Bake. Time will vary depending on the oven. Take approximately an hour or more. Check doneness with a toothpick or butter knife.
Let cool and enjoy!
Occasionally I slice it up and turn it into French toast. Yum!