Food diary - Meals start to be more structured

June 25, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series about three Washington County families participating in a food diary program created by The Herald-Mail and Washington County Health Department.

WILLIAMSPORT - Two weeks ago the Michael family went to a restaurant, where Lisa Michael got a surprise thanks to her husband.

"I looked over and I was in shock that he had water. I've never ever since I've known him seen him with water at a restaurant. He's always had Dr. Pepper," she said of her husband, Brian, 31, whom she's known for six years.

The Michaels, who live in Williamsport, are one of three Washington County families participating in a food diary project created by The Herald-Mail and the Washington County Health Department. The families are keeping track of their food consumption and exercise for about three weeks. Then they will have food and exercise plans developed for them and will continue to track their food consumption and exercise for a month. The other participants are Kellee Smith of Hagerstown and the Sargents, who live near Funkstown.


One of the first things Tammy Thornton, nutrition/wellness services coordinator for the health department, tried to do with the Michaels was ask them to cut the amount of soda they were drinking. Before June, Brian Michael was drinking four sodas a day, and his wife wasn't far behind.

She began drinking more water, and he tried diet soda but couldn't stand the taste, hence the water and sugar-free Crystal Light.

Before leaving on a camping trip June 15, the family prepared to try another recommendation of Thornton's, eating more structured meals in a home setting with the help of a crockpot.

The family eats out a lot because, well, neither wife nor husband likes to cook.

Lisa Michael, 38, figured she'd start a meal in the crockpot in the camper when the three kids were eating breakfast.

She got some crockpot recipes, such as spareribs and white chili with chicken, from Thornton.

The plan worked, though she thinks she cooked the chili too long. Michael also tried a chicken Alfredo with corn recipe she found online.

Michael said she expects to continue using the crockpot at home.

"That was easy to do," she said.

Thornton said a future step will be to talk to the Michaels about buying leaner cuts of meat to help them eat healthier.

The lack of soda also has affected the kids, who didn't seem to mind, Lisa Michael said.

"Since it's not in the whole house, (soda's) not an option anymore," Lisa Michael said.

While camping the family of five split a soda a few times.

And the changes are not simply about taking in fewer calories. Lisa Michael also has been getting more exercise.

When they vacationed at the beach earlier this month, Lisa Michael walked every day on the boardwalk. While camping, the family rode bikes and walked around the campground.

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