Balance: it’s what all mothers are frantically trying to achieve in all aspects of their lives, and it’s the one thing that seems to evade us no matter what we do. We try to balance time with family and time alone. We try to balance schoolwork and playtime for our kids. We try to balance child time and grown up time. And we desperately try to give our families a balanced diet menu that will fulfill all of their nutritional needs. We try, but we don’t always succeed.
Balanced Diet Menu
Most Americans have learned, by now, that a balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for your family. Kids, on the other hand, are not thinking about balance. Instead, they are usually thinking about three things: pizza, candy, and sugar. While we won’t deny that a child’s idea of a balanced menu is appealing at times, we mothers know better. How, then can you teach your child the importance of a balanced diet in a way that will actually stick to their brains the way jelly sticks to their faces?
The Food Pyramid Menu
Years ago, the United States government was wrestling with this exact problem, and they came up with a pretty ingenious solution to the dilemma of mothers nationwide: the Food Pyramid Menu. This colorful artistic rendering illustrates to a child, and to a husband, the proper way to balance the foods that you eat. The food pyramid shows exactly how many servings of each food group should be consumed on a daily level. If you need a refresher, here are the levels of the food pyramid:
- Tier 1: Whole Grains. The Food Pyramid recommends six to eleven servings of quality, whole grains every day.
- Tier 2: Vegetables. Fresh, Frozen or Canned, the Food Pyramid recommends between four and seven servings of vegetables daily.
- Tier 2: Fruits. Fruits have higher sugar content, so the recommendation is a little bit lower than vegetables: about three to five servings.
- Tier 3: Meats and Protein. Eggs, Fish, Beef, Poultry, Ham, everyone needs their protein. About two to three servings a day.
- Tier 3: Dairy and Cheese. Dairy products are loaded with calcium and other vitamins. At least two servings a day.
- Tier 4: The no-no Tier. Sweets, Sugar, and Starches. If you must eat from this tier, keep it to a minimum. One serving a day.
Food Pyramid Games
To teach your children about the food pyramid and a balanced diet menu, you can go to a website and let them play food pyramid games. These games will teach them which foods belong to which food groups. They can make up daily meal plans and then check to see if their plan fits into the recommendations of the food pyramid!