I recently had an opportunity to meet Monique Nadeau from the website Grow Your Family Strong. She led a discussion on healthy eating habits and how to use some basic food principles to build a sound diet that will nourish your family and build excellent eating habits for life.
Let's rewind a bit. When I first heard about the discussion on my Vienna Moms newsletter I did a double take. As my husband can attest to, I am currently having an existential crisis with respect to food. Lately food has been a HUGE issue in my home. I was recently told my youngest daughter (16 months-old) is underweight. What? How can this be? My older daughter was always solid on the weight and height charts and I thought my little one was getting the nutrients and food that she needed. What could be wrong? Of course doctors throw a lot of worst-case scenarios at you. After an examine, urine analysis and running blood work her pediatrician determined there was nothing physically wrong with her, she just needs to eat more! Umm...I guess it was an operator error (me being the operator). Great...more mommy points taken off the board!
Have I been so busy with life that I haven't noticed that my toddler is dropping more food on the floor then into her mouth. Clearly, I had a big problem!
Naturally I went into a death spiral trying to figure out how to fix this situation. I immediately blew the dust off of my copy of The Sneaky Chef and started to think about ways I could provide my child with healthier and heartier food. A diet filled with foods that would make her stronger and put weight on her. Full disclosure, as someone who has more than her fair share of McDonald's kid toys in my home and car (don't judge!) I knew a food intervention was in order at some point in 2013. Unfortunately while one is writing a book, starting a new website and running a busy household a full overhaul of your family's food habits doesn't always make it onto the weekly "To Do" list. Frankly it falls to the back of the line. How tragic is that? Wait...I will answer that for you..it is insanely tragic especially since my primary job is as a gainfully employed stay-at-home-mom!
Shortly after the doctor's appointment, my local mother's club newsletter came in the mail. As I stared at the Vienna Mom's newsletter and saw that Monique's discussion was in 48 hours I quickly called my husband and told him he HAD to be home so I could attend this event. I am so glad I made the time to hear Monique discuss her philosophy on food, family and life choices.
Monique is an incredibly dynamic woman. She was born in Canada and has lived in the United States, Spain, England and France. She is the leader of a national public policy organization dedicated to improving health, jobs, and education outcomes. Her bipartisan organization, Hope Street Group, promotes policies to ensure all Americans have access to economic opportunity. Their goal is to strengthen the middle class as an engine for national prosperity. She is also a wife and mother of three young children.
And while life is beyond busy for Monique, she has taken on an additional challenge. For the past four years she has been on a personal journey to learn as much as she can about cultivating a healthy lifestyle. I am in awe of her energy and passion for what is IMPORTANT in her life.
Grow Your Family Strong is a vision realized for Monique. The site is a repository for all of the data and information that Monique has acquired and cataloged over the years in her quest to educate herself on healthy food choices. Grow Your Family Strong includes advice from dozens of experts, peer reviewed studies, inspired recipes, and hundreds of tested and tried techniques to make a transition to a healthier lifestyle easier.
Monique is just fabulous! I hung on her every word. It also helped that we had a great group of women at the event, many who had already adopted healthier eating habits. Their commentary was enlightening. There are so many great and easy ways to get your family on a path to a better diet. I was so inspired by Grow Your Family Strong that I wanted to share the site and the philosophy with Kid Trips readers.
While Monique has a number of wonderful blogs and recipes on her site, I did want to give you a flavor (pun intended) of Grow Your Family Strong. Attached is one of her blogs on starting your own food journey and organizing your pantry to support your new habits. She has a robust site that offers solid tips and tricks on modifying your existing food choices and creating a better diet for your family. I would encourage you to visit Grow Your Family Strong.
I will admit I was a little overwhelmed at first and thought I just can't do this, but as I started to read her blogs and pick one or two recipes to make for my family, the task of changing my family's diet didn't seem so daunting. Baby steps everyone, baby steps. One small change is better than abandoning the challenge altogether.
All of Monique's information is listed at the bottom of the blog. Here is to healthy and happy eating for your whole family!
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