eating to nourish a growing family

Food…  With it we live and thrive and give energy and warmth to our bodies.  Its presence joins us together for nourishment and sweet fellowship.  Around the table we share our lives and hearts and it’s in these everyday moments our lives are lived out.  What kinds of foods we consume and how they affect our bodies has held my interest for a long time.  I believe it is so important the things we take into our bodies.  What we eat will bring out the life in us, or slowly steal it away.

As wives and mothers we have so much influence over our husbands and children in the health of their bodies.  As meal planners and cooks we can breathe life into our family’s bodies by what we prepare for them to eat, especially if it is purchased or grown and made with a grateful loving heart.  On the other hand, we have the opportunity to sap life and energy from our family if we prepare our meals with strife or without understanding the nutrient needs of the people we cook for.

mixing ingredients for homemade bread

My husband and I could not be more different.  We are always telling each other that.  He is a pizza and soda, meat and potatoes, cheese and bread kind of guy.  And I am the whole grain, no sugar added, water please, there needs to be vegetables on my pizza kind of girl.  We have learned so much from each other, at least I know I have.  As his wife, I have had to humbly learn to put my husband’s tastes over my selfish need to have everything as healthy as possible.  When I examined myself, I found that I was afraid of somehow getting cancer, a devastating disease I watched my father get.  I have learned to relax more and understand that a loving dish made with a grateful heart shared with my husband is much more beneficial than a meal that is nutritionally perfect but devoid of a thankful spirit.  What I’ve learned is to make simple, comforting, but creatively healthful dishes that my husband and I will both enjoy.

Mmm homemade white bread

As a nursing mom and knowing we will continue to grow our family, I want to be in the best health I can be.  Nourishing little ones is no easy task!  My goal now is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables everyday, and to try and incorporate more of those nutritious foods into the meals I cook for my husband as well.  My husband even agreed to giving up sodas (except for one a week).  God has given me a wonderful, challenging job!  To meet my family’s needs, their nutritional needs and to make satisfying meals that will bring us together at least once a day to enjoy food and each other.  This is by no means an effortless job, but as you thoughtfully do this ask God to help you prepare quality inexpensive meals and He will help you!

delicious carrot, apple and oat muffins

Here are just a few eating and grocery shopping rules I live by here at the gentle home:

No sodas (or limit the amount).  We also do not drink any coffee, tea or juice cocktails (they are mostly artificial flavoring and corn syrup).  We drink mostly water, but I also drink 100% juices, almond milk or sometimes cow’s milk.

No trans fat.  That means reading the ingredient list and looking for hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil.  Do not assume it does not have any trans fat just because the food label says 0g trans fat.  They are misleading.  Watch for them especially in peanut butter, margarine and baked goods.

Make homemade as much as I can.  Homemade obviously won’t include preservatives, dyes and food additives.

Cook a large meal and have leftovers and a meatless dish night at least once a week.  It saves money!

Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into breakfast and lunch too.  I’ll make spinach quiche for breakfast to eat all week or muffins with carrots and apples hidden in the batter (see photo above- recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld). 

spinach quiche with bacon and cheese

Check out some of my favorite recipes under “the recipe box” tab!

oat and berry bars- more like dessert! Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook

What are some of your tried and true meals and tips for feeding your family?

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 18:11:09

    All of those meals look great! I have been having a rather difficult time with meal planning and cooking lately. My husband and I are opposites also. I never eat red meat. The only kind of chicken he wants is fried. He won’t eat most vegetables! Your salad reminded me that I could make more salads. He will eat those. Not with all of the different lettuces that are good for you though. He asks if I picked those from the yard!


  2. Kristy
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 20:29:50

    Yummy! Can I come over and eat with you. All the homemade goodies sound great!


  3. Mea
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 23:24:27

    Homemade is the best! Those recipes look SOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.


  4. Jessica
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 16:26:35

    This sounds a lot like me and my husband – for a while I was on a kick of all organic and as much alkalizing food as possible, while my hubby is very much a meat-and-potatoes guy with a fetish for Dr. Pepper. 🙂 We have both learned to compromise – I’ve decided that a meal truly enjoyed together can be good for the health, regardless of nutritional content, and he has expanded his palette to include an appreciation for a number of veggies. Thank God! That’s made meal planning so much easier.

    We use an online meal plan, which I usually alter a little depending on our tastes, schedule, and what we have around the house. I really like the idea of eating meatless at least once a week. And we also try to cook large meals and have leftovers for lunches throughout the week. Huge moneysaver! While our schedules and living arrangements right now make cooking from scratch a challenge, I look for the healthiest “convenient” options available – fruit cups (packed in natural juices or water) instead of pudding cups, cottage cheese or oatmeal for breakfast instead of sugary cereals, frozen vegetables instead of canned, etc. Thanks for sharing your ideas! I’m re-inspired to truly pour joy into the job of feeding my family. 🙂


    • thegentlehome
      Oct 14, 2011 @ 21:42:40

      Thanks! It sounds like you are off to a great start! Yes, there really are many convenient options available that can be made healthy, it takes a little work, but worth it when you know your family is healthy!


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