I refuse to go into this without first saying, “Yes, I eat chips & chocolate AND no, I don’t think you are a ‘bad’ mother if you buy your kid a Happy Meal.”
In addition to those confessions, I don’t claim to be an expert on this particular subject. I am a mother of two young sons who is simply making a mindful effort to choose wisely in the food department, and educate my children on how to make careful food choices as well. Now that my skeletons are out of the closet, let’s talk about eating:
In other words, eat fresh, straight from the ground food, and avoid processed food when possible. Not only are whole foods rich in color, texture, and taste, they are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. All these things aid in a healthy immune system, digestive health, and energy. Our diets should consist mostly of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (although, I’m aware that opinions vary on this particular subject & no I’m not a vegetarian). The sad and unfortunate truth is that in most American homes this is not the case.
Every Mother would love to feed their children only whole foods, untainted by preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils but it is often inconvenient! We find ourselves choosing quick foods devoid of nutrients, preservative packed, high in damaged fat and sugar because we are busy people and our lives are cluttered with appointments, classes, work, housekeeping, sporting events, and a variety of other activities.
As an active & involved Mother myself my advice is to start small. Make one or two dietary changes and add to those after you feel comfortable. Don't overwhelm yourself. Just take one step at a time.
I started my first change in August: Do not purchase food that contains high fructose corn syrup (although sugar of any kind should be moderated) or hydrogenated oil (this one can be tough b/c both ingredients are in practically every packaged good in regular grocery stores—minus stores like Trader Joes, AJ’s, Sunflower Market, Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc). I have read up on these two evils and found that they are used purely for preservation. Extended shelf life = More money to the food companies that prepare and package all those convenience foods. Neither ingredient has any nutritional value and many, many studies have shown they are harmful to the body. My second change came in September: Bake whole wheat bread weekly and try to only buy whole wheat pasta and brown rice rather than white flour products. The third & fourth came this month: Always have fruit in the house (when my kids want a snack—I offer them fruit) AND use fresh Spinach whenever possible—you can tear it up into tiny pieces in pasta, rice, soups, or sauces and hardly notice it is there. I even add it to my children’s cheese quesadillas or sandwiches. It is a simple way to add dark, leafy greens to our diets.
I have noticed with these small changes that the children do less snacking and more eating during meal times. Over-eating is not as great a temptation (for me) when you are eating brown rice and vegetables for dinner. Not that our meals are flavorless and unexciting…it’s just that when we eat fresh, whole foods we tend to eat in moderation. I am more motivated to exercise when I eat well, my mood is better, my children are happier & less inclined to get sick, I have more energy…the list goes on and on and on. Each positive change breeds more good change and the cycle continues.
Remember, my health modifications may not be suitable or appropriate for you or your family. Find what works for you, where your priorities are, and go from there.
My goal with this post was to motivate healthy dietary changes in your home; not to overwhelm—but to engage your minds, inspire you to change, and ultimately elevate your quality of life.
Best wishes to you, friends, for a happier, healthier life!