We live In a health and fitness infatuated culture. In recent years, there has been an explosion of fitness centers, exercise clothing, specialized foods and nutritional supplements. Billions are being made off the modern quest for a fountain of youth and beauty.
Dr. Leila Denmark, the world's longest practicing physician, lived to be 114 years. She definitely believed in healthy eating and lifestyle, but would caution against being seduced by marketing techniques which promote expensive, complicated and ever-changing menus.
Instead, Denmark would recommend that you K.I.S.S. and be consistent.
Keep-It-Simple-Silly... with Denmark menus for everyday.
Hi, I’m Madia. I have eleven children and one of the greatest privileges of my life was to know Dr. Leila Denmark. She practiced pediatrics for over 75 years and was my mentor for 32 years.
I can hardly express how much she helped me, both with the children’s medical issues and family life challenges. I would love to share what she taught me with you.
14 Guidelines for Everyday Menus
1) If possible, implement your K.I.S.S. meal plan when your children are young. It's much easier if children grow up with a particular routine rather than trying to change things later on, so start early, if possible.
2) Don't be a "short-order cook". At mealtime, it’s best not to discuss the food (personal likes and dislikes). You needn’t ask the children what they want or don’t want. Plates should be served with sensible portions of everything and placed in front of each child.
3) Reserve gourmet meals for special occasions. A busy mom should focus on simplicity and good nutrition. There’s nothing wrong with cooking more than enough for supper and having the rest for lunch the following day. It’s fine to eat the same, simple dishes often.
4) Meals should be spaced 5-1/2 hours apart, allowing time for the stomach to empty. Even nutritious snacks should not be permitted between meals. The stomach will not release undigested food other than sugar, so a child's body is unable to make use of what he eats if he is snacking, and he is constantly hungry.
5) Don't neglect breakfast.
"Your great-grandma awakened and served breakfast at daylight.There was no refrigeration, and no one ate anything else until lunchat midday; likewise, supper. Those old people who were reared onthree meals a day have tried dying at nursing homes. They built suchgood bodies they keep on living. Today we eat all day long, so kidsare anemic and don’t develop mentally as they should. Mother aftermother tells me her family never eats in the morning. I can’t imaginechildren getting up and not having breakfast with Mama and Papabefore going off to school. Breakfast is the most important meal ofthe day." Dr. Leila Denmark
6) Each meal should contain a high-quality protein. The best sources are lean meat, eggs, and black-eyed peas. All legumes have protein, but black-eyed peas have the most. Other legumes may be interspersed with meat and black-eyed peas. Lean red meat is healthful because of its high iron content.
7) Every meal should contain a good carbohydrate. Whole grains and potatoes are the best sources. Homemade whole grain breads and cereals are a great addition to any family’s diet.
8) At both lunch and supper, a child needs a serving of vegetables, especially green and leafy ones that contain iron. Spinach, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and romaine lettuce are some good choices. Alternate with yellow vegetables like carrots and squash.
9) Limit fats. Avoid cooking with fat and cholesterol-laden oils, but a little
vegetable oil for flavoring or even some bacon cooked with beans, soups, or greens isn’t harmful. The key is moderation.
10) Don’t drink anything but water, and drink when you’re thirsty. Forget the caffeinated or carbonated drinks, milk, protein shakes, herb teas and juice. Juices should be eliminated because of their concentrated fructose content. It’s preferable to give a child fruit rather than juice. Fiber and protein in the pulp provide a much more balanced food. Juice stresses the kidneys and produces highly alkaline urine that can cause burning, itching, diaper rash and even urinary-tract infections.
11) Fruit is not vital to nutrition. When a family is limited in its food budget, bananas and apples may be the best choices. Citrus tends to be overrated in its nutritional value.
12) Guard against regular consumption of dairy products in general. They are much overrated in the American diet and should never be a meal’s main ingredient. Cheese isn’t a good meat substitute; yogurt and cottage cheese are not much better. Most foods contain plenty of calcium and regular dairy consumption can produce anemia.
13) A sweet dessert once or twice a week won’t hurt, but children should not expect to have them every day. Dessert on Friday night or for Sunday dinner makes the meal special and gives children something to look forward to.
14) Train your children early on to help you in the kitchen. Training takes time, but in the end, helpers really make things simpler for you and there are no better skills for them to learn.
Breakfast (should include a protein and a starch)
•Boiled egg, oatmeal
•French toast with honey
•Fried egg, toast, banana
Note: It’s best not to use milk in preparing French toast. Place a
piece of whole wheat bread in a saucer and pour a beaten egg over
it. Allow the bread to soak up all the egg. Fry it on both sides in a
Lunch (should include a protein, starch and vegetable)
•Chicken sandwiches, green salad, apple*
•Black-eyed peas, brown rice, cabbage
•Lentil soup with vegetables, muffins
Supper (should include a protein, starch, and vegetable)
•Lean beef, potatoes, broccoli
•Baked beans, corn bread, yellow squash
•Beef stew, fruit salad*
* Fruits are the least important ingredient for a good daily diet.
When our children were young, I would often assign three to dinner duty: one to prepare the protein dish, one for the carbohydrate and a third to fix vegetables. All of our recipes are super simple to save on time and to accommodate young children.
We also serve a lot of one-dish meals. One-dish meals are also time efficient to prepare and easy to serve. From a nutritional standpoint, they are excellent as long as they contain the important food categories Dr. Denmark emphasized. The following is one of our favorites:
Easy Brunswick Stew
2 lb ground beef
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups water
1 large can diced tomatoes or Pomi pack
1/4 head cabbage, sliced
4 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 medium green peppers, chopped (optional)
2 large onions, diced
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 TB vinegar
8 drops Tabasco
2 cans whole corn, drained
Brown beef, salt and pepper together, drain
Add the rest of ingredients in large pot except corn, simmer 45 min.