Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Basic Nutrition - The 3 Gs

Who can hold the nutrition chart in their head and then carefully and dutifully count the number of servings of this and that each day? I certainly can’t and I study this stuff! Nor can I count for my kid (and how is a serving of grains for a child different than for an adult?) because there is almost always lots going on here and likely I am busy answering a question about the functionality of hydraulic pistons for the four-year old, balancing the one-year old on my hip, and trying to answer the phone, while pulling together a lunch that will suit us. Things get busy and complicated and most of us just don’t have good time or knowledge to go that in-depth with our daily food consumption. Now, if Nutrition and A Balanced Diet is complicated for me - educated in nutrition and herbalism - to follow and understand, how the heck do I explain it to my four-year old? I have talked with plenty of adults, parents and not-parents, who quail at the mention of Nutrition and A Balanced Diet. This stuff can be crazy technical. Or is it??

Enter the “3 Gs”. I must admit, this is not my own idea. Once upon a time I overheard some parents use this concept to explain to their preschooler why it’s important to eat the salad. I was struck by the simplicity and elegance of this idea. But what are The 3 Gs?

The basic idea is that your body needs
Proteins for Growing,
Carbohydrates for Going,
Vegetables/Fruits for Glowing.

That’s it. In a nutshell. You can explain that to anyone from about 18-months up. I’ve explained this to adults and often see the relief at the simplicity of feeding themselves a well balanced meal. The important thing is to simply make sure that the plate you serve yourself has a component of each G on it, or that you get some of each G throughout the day. You can tinker with how much your body/your kid’s body needs and to with what you learn from your own response. For example, kids need a heck of a lot of protein and fat to grow their busy brains and bodies, so you can adjust accordingly.

Of course, there is a caveat. A Big Mac does, technically, have all 3 Gs on it – meat for a protein, bun for carbs, and iceberg lettuce and tomato for fruit/veggie. But that doesn’t count. Most school lunches do, technically, have all 3 Gs included, but that doesn’t speak to either the quality or what the kids choose to eat. Using this method assumes we also use intelligence about the quality of foods we put in our bodies. The same rules of food consumption apply – eat whole foods, eat fresh foods when possible, eat a diversity of foods, and enjoy your food.

But now you can toss that nutrition chart. It’s a pile of lobbied in c**p mostly, anyway. But that’s a rant for a different time.

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