Meal Time – Nourishment and Nurturing

 

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. . . 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.) 🙂

 

 

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Exercise With Your Child

…for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
1 Cor. 6:20

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Have you ever been given a flower picked by a child?  We say ‘Aww, thank you’, then we lay it down and forget about it.  But the child will come back later to see if you still have the flower –  to see if you valued the gift enough to care for it.

In the same way, God has given us our bodies and He wants to see that we value the gift enough to care for it.  Eric Velazquez aptly puts it this way: Our bodies are exquisite and unparalleled works of art. Formed from the dirt in His own garden, each for a unique purpose. And like flowers handed to you by a child, they were given to us with an expectation of continued care. How we express gratitude for our bodies doesn’t just matter to us. It matters, perhaps more than we’ll ever know, to the One who gifted them in the first place.”

Let’s be examples to our children of valuing the bodies that God has given us and training our children to value theirs as well.   One way to do that is to exercise and  I have found that children love to exercise with you.  Here’s an idea to get yall going:

Make a simple cube out of card stock and write different movements on each side such as jumping jacks, hop on one foot, touch your toes, march like a soldier, hop like a bunny, crawl like a bug, etc.  Take turns throwing the cube and doing the movement that is showing.

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(Click Cube pattern then print, cut on solid lines, fold on dotted lines, and tape together)

This is a simple way for you and your children to have fun exercising together.  Be sure to share the verse as you explain that by exercising you honor God by caring for the bodies He has given you. 

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Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Positive Effects of Thankfulness

How’s your thank you list going?  Regularly writing down what you are thankful for can increase your level of happiness by at least 25%.   I have always believed that an attitude of gratitude is vital to your happiness and your health because of what Scripture indicates. Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” is just one example.

However, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier offers scientific evidence of this and that a grateful spirit actually improves your health: “The person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress  . . . recover more quickly from illness, and benefit from greater physical health.”   I haven’t read the book yet, but I am always thrilled when scientists discover the reality of what Scripture has always said.  Read more of the research results here.

I read Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy two years ago as I was going through a difficult time in my life.   The book was a fresh reminder to concentrate on being thankful, which did tremendously help me cope with my circumstances at the time.   God doesn’t just tell us to do something for no reason.  He has our best interest in mind when He says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:18

Let’s teach our children early to have an attitude of gratitude, not just at Thanksgiving and not so we look good when they utter an unsolicited thank you to others, but so that throughout their lives they will experience all the positive effects of thankfulness that God intends for them.

 

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Nutrition – God Style

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth,
and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed;
to you it shall be for meat [food].”
Genesis 1:29

This is the basic nutrition plan that God laid out for us in the very beginning.  The sooner we realize that God who made the body has a plan for taking care of the body, the healthier we will be.  And the sooner we start feeding our children according to God’s plan, the easier it will be to train them for a lifetime of eating healthy.

The first book I read on this subject was What the Bible Has to Say About Healthy Living.  I highly recommend it.

Check here for other books and ideas on nutrition.

Go here for recommended books for children about healthy eating.

 

Other posts on this site about nutrition:

Teach Children to Eat Healthy

Ideas for Healthy Eating

Have Trouble Getting Your Children to Eat Their Veggies?

New Children’s Book About Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating


 

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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.

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