A Quick Way To Simplify Nutrition
When our boys started having opinions about what they wanted to eat (so, just about as long as they’ve been alive, lol), we started categorizing food to make it super simple and easy for them to understand why each type is important. It all began after overhearing a mom at the playground giving her kids lunch and calling their fruits and veggies “grow food.”
I loved that! Not just in the sense that fruits and veggies help us “grow big and strong” but it brought an earthy connection to what we were eating – nutrition-packed plants that grow from the ground.
The term “grow food” stuck and has become part of our everyday language! A Grow Food each meal is pretty non-negotiable at our house but having the freedom to choose which one makes it fun and gives them practice at picking healthy options. And, as we often say: practice makes permanent.
We’ve since created Luepke Family nomenclature for other types of foods to help our boys understand the good things these foods are doing in their body:
Muscle Food = Proteins (meat, eggs, fish, beans/legumes, some cheese, greek yogurt, jerky, protein smoothies, etc)
Brain Food = Healthy Fats (nuts, nut butters, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, salmon, seeds and seed butters like chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin)
Energy Food = ‘Smart’ Carbs like whole grains and starchy veggies.
Each meal we try to get a Grow Food, a Muscle Food, a Brain Food and an Energy Food.
Building my kid’s meals this way shows up in the way I feed myself, too! In a world where food and nutrition can get really complex, simple is key. And, as we teach in Valeo / Nutrition, simple habits mean more consistent habits.
When putting together a plate, do a quick run-through:
Fruit/Veg Grow Food(s): check
Lean Protein Muscle Food: check
Healthy Fat Brain Food: check
Smart Carb Energy Food: check
How will you simplify your meal-making this week?
Jess + Team Valeo
Example Lunch (5-min prep)
Pre-made Shredded Chicken (muscle food) leftovers from a batch in the instapot mixed with a spice blend from The Seasoned Home, a Sweet Potato (smart carb), one of a bunch roasted a few days ago in the oven and some Spinach (grow food) with dressing and mixed Nuts (brain food). This will taste so good after my lift today!