The Quintanas, Week 3: The Food (and Candy) Confessional

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

david quintana picture

David and his big, blue cereal bowl. Credit: Victoria Michelle Quintana

Had the nutritionist shown up two weeks ago, she would have found the kitchen of a typical Miami family, complete with a 20-pound bag of rice, lots of beans, and a fridge full of fried and fatty foods.

Which is why, as I understand it, my cleaning house last week was not a good idea.

Thanks to the Healthy Families Challenge, we are working with dietitian Su-Nui Escobar, MS, RD/LD, also known as a what-you-should-eat expert, based out of Miami. Su-Nui, who has a masters degree from Florida International University, also consults hospitals on providing healthy diets for patients, and even weighed in on the Got Milk? campaign.

Inviting Su-Nui to visit our home is what set off my food-cleaning frenzy last week. I have thus far managed to get away with eating an entire king-size bag of Reese's Pieces without anybody telling me it was wrong, but something told me that was coming to an end. While I do desire a healthier lifestyle for my family and myself, I was unsure how I felt about somebody seeing the skeletons, or, well, candy bars, in my pantry.

Su-Nui informed me that in order to accurately assess what we needed to change, she had to see what we'd been eating.


I was honest, though. We sat down and I gave her a list. I didn't leave out the fatty fried stuff. Or the Double Stuffed Oreos.

David, my husband, confessed next -- among other bad habits, that he ate his Frosted Flakes out of a large blue mixing bowl, sprinkled with Nestle Quik and drenched in whole milk. Slap on the wrist number one -- okay, she didn't really smack him -- went straight to David. Yes!

Then Su-Nui's gaze shifted to me.

I told all, namely that I have a horrible sweet tooth and am, most likely, the worst practicing vegan on the planet, as I'm not too keen on vegetables. I eat veggie patties, sure, but more often I survive on pasta and homemade vegan chocolate-chip cookies. I said before that I was educated, and that's true. I know what I should eat. I just don't eat it as often as I should.

Su-Nui listened without judgment, taking notes as David and I purged our sins. (The children were off the hook as, in this meeting, she wanted to hear from the adults who'd created this lifestyle.) She made a list of all of the things we told her we like to eat, but she didn't cross off any no-nos.

Instead, Su-Nui began another list -- of things we should eat. In a positive tone, she suggested that, until she got back to us with our eating plan, I should eat fruits when I crave sweets. She also encouraged David to wean his way towards 2% milk. We liked her approach. See, like most people, we'd cringed at the thought that she might tell us we'd have to give up things.

Over the coming months, Su-Nui will be participating in an array of activities with our family in order to teach us to make educated decisions, adding and substituting foods that will nourish our bodies correctly. She promised to help us all understand what our bodies need, and how we can enjoy more foods that are good for us. She will not put us on a diet, she said, but will promote a lifestyle of consciousness to our bodies. She pledged to make the experience fun and positive.

Yeah, I know, the Reese's Pieces probably won't make the final cut. But I can have hope, can't I?

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.

How is the Quintana family doing? Check in on their progress!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.