How to feed your family – no food required!

Around our place, food rules. What we eat – and how often – are the guiding elements of our day.

If nothing else happens in our day, at least there’s been some food cooked or a meal’s been shared at the table.

(The kid’s table, but still.)

What’s not to love – food’s fantastic, it’s tasty, it’s gives me energy and depending on what I eat, it can help me be – or become – a kinder, gentler mom.

But sometimes it can be a drag to figure out.

My daughter needs to stay away from wheat and dairy. I’ve got to steer clear of all grains, refined sugars and milk. My hubs eats anything, but his preferred meal is cheese toast. (He’s British and this seems to be some genetic life-or-death necessity for him.)

So, food can get kind of…. loaded, tedius, uninspired, tantrum-causing:

“I don’t want these (totally tasty, amazingly gummy, rice) noodles! I want Dada’s bread!”

It can also be just too freakin’ time-consuming (one loaf of nut bread requires two days of prep work: soak nuts for 6-12 hours, toast for 24 hours THEN I can make bread. Eiyiyi.)

Yup, I can get wound up  - or think too much – about food.

Then I remember: food isn’t the only thing that nourishes us.

 

Even when the food is “perfect” and we’ve got family-approved dinner, lunch and snacks galore, if we’re not spending family time together – connecting and playing – we aren’t truly nourished.

 

It’s taken me time to see this.

Because it feels easy for me to manage the food, to escape to the kitchen and feel Very Productive. And it is worthy – enjoyable! – work for me.

And sometimes my daughter just needs a mom who builds block houses with her on the floor. And my husband needs a wife who laughs at his jokes.

 

Food’s important to our growing family – it’s our foundation. It’s the foundation of the work I do with clients and their families.

 

But it’s not the only thing.

To truly nourish our families, instead of focusing on the food, we need to focus on the connection. {tweet this}

 

When I’m lucky and the stars align, the two can come together in the kitchen – playfully prepping soup (or these primal chocolate chips cookies!) with my daughter or chopping veggies for the frittata my husband makes on Saturday mornings.

This is how my family is nourished – belly and heart.

I’d love to hear about your families. What nourishes you? How do you nourish your family’s bellies and hearts?

I can’t wait to hear. We help one another when we share our stories.

Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Feeding Your Family

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared recipes, stories, and advice about food and eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon November 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Nut Free Desserts for the Holidays — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama will be talking about navigating the holidays with peanut allergies in the family.
  • Making Peace with My Picky Eater — Once upon a time, there was a boy who would try anything. And then he turned 3. Thus began the dinner chronicles at Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s house.
  • Foodie Morphed by Motherhood — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis reflects on the changes of her family’s food culture since becoming a mother, and shares a snapshot of their current food rhythm.
  • Introducing First Foods — Wondering what your little one should take a bite of first? That Mama Gretchen explains baby-led weaning/baby self-feeding and answers a number of questions that may come to mind!
  • Feeding Your Family — Coconut Oil!!! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama is a coconut oil devotee. In this post, she shares her favorite ways to include coconut oil in her family’s diet as well as why she feels it is important to do so.
  • We Thank the Earth for its Food! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle spends hours in the kitchen each day trying to make medicine in the form of food.
  • Focusing on Healthy, Gluten-Free Foods for My Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what her family is doing to eat healthily along with her recipe for gluten-free peanut butter oat bran muffins.
  • Intolerancesustainablemum laments the misunderstanding surrounding food intolerances.
  • Don’t Let Food Sensitivities Ruin Your Holidays! — Rachel, the Titus 2 Homemaker, talks about ways to enjoy the holidays even if you wrestle with food sensitivities.
  • Losing grains, keeping empathy: Paleo and fat acceptance — Lauren at Hobo Mama vlogs about her family’s decision to cut grains to improve health — and hopes she can retain her position as a proponent of size acceptance even as she loses weight.
  • Easy Homemade Crockpot Mac & Cheese — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work, shakes off the blue-box blues with an easy crockpot mac-and-cheese recipe with no artificial dyes or excessive preservatives … just creamy, delicious, comfort-food goodness.
  • Extended Family Dinners — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about sharing family dinners with housemates and why it works for her.
  • Five Suggestions for Eating Healthy During the Holidays — No need to feel powerless when it comes to our highly sugared/processed food culture during the holidays &emdash; Andrea at It Takes Time offers tips to stay on track.
  • How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen.
  • Food as family medicine: living gluten-free and beyond — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama sticks to her gluten-free guns but sees room for improvement in her pursuit of a real-food family table.
  • Feeding My Family — Challenges and Growth — Susan at Together Walking shares what has been most challenging about feeding her two kids and how she has grown in the kitchen since becoming a mother.
  • How I Lost 75 Lbs — What I Eat & My Top 5 Tips — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how she and her family became healthy, happy and active.
  • The Weight of Motherhood — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution rethinks her relationship with food after struggling with post-pregnancy weight gain.
  • Geek Food: Pumpkin Pasties — While Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and family might have food sensitivities, their geekery knows no limits. So, when faced with a desire to recreate Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter, they do not shy away!
  • Pumpkin Harvest Muffins — This summer Mama is Inspired and family grew pumpkins, and this autumn they are baking scrumptious, healthy muffins out of those pumpkins.
  • Reintroducing Meat to the Vegetarian Tummy — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares some of the considerations she explored before transitioning from a vegetarian diet to reintroducing meat as a protein source and a few tips on making it an easy one.
  • Thanksgiving Meal, Thankful? — Jorje of Momma Jorje has never felt terribly thankful for Thanksgiving itself. Perhaps that could change if she’s a little more invested?
  • 5 Ways to Use Healing Bone Broth — It’s that time of year again, when unpleasant little bugs make their way into our homes. For Megan of The Boho Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, homemade stock or bone broth is a natural remedy.

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Comments

  1. This is so important! As someone who’s long recognized the connection between food and love, it’s crucial to remember love can be apart from food just as easily, and it doesn’t mean you don’t love someone if you don’t eat together a certain way.

    • “…it doesn’t mean you don’t love someone if you don’t eat together a certain way.”

      That’s so true, Lauren. Food + love have always been intricately connected to me. It took me a long time to disconnect the two and not feel offended if my hubs says “no, thank you” to something I cook. And on the other hand, when I have to say “no, thank you” to food at family gatherings (because of the no grains / sugar thang), I’m learning to express my love and appreciation for them in other non-food ways.

  2. I read an idea recently to simply ask each family member – what are some of your favorite family memories? Often, the answers are much more simple than what we anticipate – and then you can make more of those memories to nourish you :)
    Great post!!

  3. Now ya got me really thinking…this post + your last and the light bulbs going off about the current state of my parenting because of my health. Woosah! We will talk about that in our next Skype session. Privately.

    What I do want to share with everyone is what nourishes my family. Never thought about this question before but now that you’ve asked I do notice a strong pattern towards us being closer when we are active. Snowboarding, ice skating, roller skating, bike rides, hiking, body boarding – days spent doing those things really make us happy, help us bond and even relieve stress which equal a nourished connected family.

    • Lidia, so glad light bulbs are going off. I can’t wait to talk more about this. :)

      You’ve figured out a great formula: being active + being with family = winning connection combination! (stress relief is an added bonus.) That’s a great idea for us all to try.

  4. This is a great reminder. Thank you!

  5. Such a good reminder. Thank you for sharing!

  6. This is an amazing reflection on food, family, health, and connection. While i have some strong memories tied to food and family, it really is about the CONNECTION when it comes to having a healthy family. Thanks for this post! I’m tweeting your line on nourishing families :)

    • Thanks, Amy! I love all my family food memories. The memories are wrapped up in all these feelings of love, connection and belonging. Those are the feelings I want to pass on – at or away from the dinner table. And double-thanks for the tweeting love. I’ll see you there. :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen. […]

  2. […] How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen. […]

  3. […] How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen. […]

  4. […] How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen. […]

  5. […] How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen. […]

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