Meal Time – Nourishment and Nurturing



. . . And look at all those children! There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.
Psalm 128:3

I love it when research actually validates what God has said! This verse indicates that children are healthy when they sit around your table and now a recent research reveals that children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together.  And this article points out the multiple advantages to family meals together.

Simplify your life – cut out an extracurricular activity if you have to – but make meals together a family tradition that your children will remember long after they have left home.  Meal time is important, not just for the physical nourishment your children need, but also for the mental, emotional, and spiritual nurturing they need.  

Here are some suggestions to help you meet those needs around your table:

Conversation starters during the meal:

  • What did you enjoy doing today?
  • What did you enjoy learning?
  • Who did you enjoy being with today?
  • Did you do something kind today?
  • What was your high today?
  • What was your low?

After the meal:

Do a short devotional, read a Bible story,  or spend time memorizing a verse together.
Our family’s favorite thing was Playdough Devotionals.  Each person would make something out of their playdough and the rest of the family would guess what part of the story they were illustrating.

Have prayer time, but before you do, ask:

  • What happened today you are thankful for?
  • Who did you talk to, or see, or hear about that we should pray for?
  • What happened or is going to happen that we need to pray about for you?

Try to relax and enjoy time together eating a nourishing meal, talking with your children, and growing closer to God as a family.  Then you can truly say, ‘Look at my healthy children around the table.’

(Oh –  and don’t forget to talk about 1 Cor. 3:9 ‘We work together as partners who belong to God’ as everyone helps to clean up the kitchen when it’s all over so Mom can enjoy the time without thinking about what needs to be done afterwards.) 🙂




Teach Children to Eat Healthy

I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon last week – at age 60 this was my first!!!!  It was so much fun and so rewarding to know that I had disciplined my body to run 13.1 miles by exercising and eating healthy.   Emphasize these disciplines in your children while their beliefs and habits are being formed. Teach them that our bodies belong to God who made us and we are to honor God in the way we take care of them.  (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

During training I could definitely tell a difference in running on the day following a day I had not made wise food choices. What you eat does make a difference!  Green Smoothie Revolution and Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko have greatly influenced my diet.

Victoria has now written books for children to help reinforce good eating habits.  Below are two of them and another, Green Smoothie Magic, will be available soon.

A Gift From Little Bear is such a cute little story that teaches a couple of lessons. The bear takes unhealthy food from the children and gets a tummy ache. He learns from his mommy that bear’s ‘berry’ food is good for everyone and he decides to share his good food with the children. This is a wonderful, subtle way of teaching better eating habits – and sharing!!

Buy some berries and pretend to be the little bear sharing with the children.  As yall eat the delicious berries share  ‘God satisfies your mouth with good things,” (Psalm 103:5)


Fruits I Love is a great way to introduce children to a variety of fruits. The book’s colorful pictures are visually inviting to children, and what child doesn’t enjoy a rhyming book! I appreciate the fact that in reading this book to a child, you are doing more than just reading words or looking at pictures, but you are actually making fruit very appealing to them.

After reading this book with your children, purchase each of the fruits depicted in the book and have your children actually examine, smell, taste, find the seeds, and rate the fruits according to which they like best. This is a delicious way to begin a love for fruits! Again emphasize Psalm 103:5.


Ideas for Healthy Eating

I recently had the privilege of meeting Lisa Giordano.  She is the leader of a MOPS group in Burbank California and is a very proactive mom in caring for her family spiritually and nutritionally.  I am happy to have her  share some of what she does to help her family eat healthy:

One easy way to share with my child about healthy eating is the traffic light concept. This is taken from the pediatrician Dr. William Sears. If a food is a “green light” food, it is healthy to eat or a “go for it” food. Examples of this are breads made with sprouted grains, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fish, and lean meats such as white meat chicken and turkey. The more we can make fresh fruits and veggies desirable the better. To do this, moms may need to use a low fat dip for little ones or sneak them into a shake with some fruit like your daughter-in-law Becca does (green smoothies).

“Yellow light” foods are “think about it” foods. They are okay in moderation, but should be reserved for treats and only eaten occasionally. Examples of this would be butter, cakes, candy, cookies, and white bread.

“Red light” foods are “stop, say no, bad for you” foods. Examples of these foods would be nitrate-containing meats, packaged foods with “hydrogenated oils, drinks made with food coloring, and doughnuts. One of the downfalls of “yellow and red light” foods is sugar.

Foods with complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains, and fruits are good for you. The simple sugars found in soda, candies, frostings, and packaged treats can do harm.Dr. Sears states these five reasons why they are harmful:
(It is helpful for me to remember these facts before I reach for a candy bar!)

– sugar depresses immunity
– it sours behavior, attention, and learning
– it promotes sugar highs
– it promotes sugar cravings
– it promotes heart disease


It is helpful for me to have weekly lists made for meals and snacks so that our family will be healthy. Fast food is something that is purchased if I don’t plan well. If I grocery shop and start meal prep early in the day, it is less likely for us to make bad food choices.

Blessings to you and your readers,
Lisa Giordano

Thanks to Lisa for this very helpful information.  Click to order the book she mentioned, The Family Nutrition Book: Everything You Need to Know About Feeding Your Children – From Birth through Adolescence

We are building temples for God to live in.  We must train our children spiritually to create a desire in them to be a temple; we must train them nutritionally and physically to keep that temple healthy.


Have trouble getting your children to eat their veggies?

Sure, we all do.  So try these suggestions:

First pray this verse and help your children memorize it.  Tell them this is what Jesus told his disciples: 

Luke 10:8 “. . . eat whatever is set before you”

Click here for some creative ways to get vegetables into your children.

Another suggestion is to make a smoothie out of the veggies.  Find out about green smoothies here.  Our grandson, Grant won’t eat his veggies, but he loves his green smoothies!

Here are some books with recipes that hide the veggies in foods your kids already like! (Hey, I’m not above resorting to subterfuge to get healthy kids ;-))

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals


New Children’s Book About Healthy Eating

Have you heard of SAD? It is the Standard American Diet made up of processed, nutrient-deficient, fast foods that are not supplying what is needed to stay healthy and be successful.  The Bible has something to say about that:  Why spend money on what is not bread,  and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.(Isaiah 55:2)

If the eating habits of you and your children are ‘SAD’, you will want to check out this new children’s book that addresses the issue in such a way anyone can begin making wise choices in eating.   I’m excited to recommend The Adventures of Junk Food Dude by Robyn Openshaw.   Robyn writes a blog ( with a passion to help others achieve fantastic health and energy eating whole foods .

Her new book expresses her passion in an interesting story of two little boys and how the differences in their food choices affect their lives. Your child will learn about healthy eating without the feeling of having sat through a lesson on Nutrition.  The illustrations by Lori Sume make the book very inviting to children.

If you are looking for a good children’s book to help reinforce healthy eating habits, you will love this book!! There’s even a fun  quiz at the end that has you sorting nutritious food and junk food.  And the story not only teaches healthy eating, it teaches care and concern for friends!  This is an excellent product to help you Train Up the Child!!!