So I just finished a rather interesting book called, The Pizza Trap, by Gabrielle Welch. Throughout her book she discusses a lot of the same concepts we, here at Super Healthy Kids teach. Some being more fruits and vegetables, offering a variety of all foods in general and keeping overly processed foods away from your pantry as much as possible. Even as a big advocate of these concepts I sometimes find myself wondering, “are there too many food rules?”
- Bring real food back to the dinner table – My personal motto that simply means to offer natures gifts. Grow your gardens, large or small. Go to your local farmers market. Go to supermarkets that make their focal point the produce section as well as shopping the perimeter. And please, bring your children with you at least once per month if not more. We should be educating more than just what is taught in the classroom.
- Learn proper portion sizes – Although there may be good, wholesome, food on the table, we still need to practice proper portion sizes. Let’s leave the larger plates for platters to serve finger foods at parties and begin using smaller plates. Did you know that dinner plates in the 60’s were 9 inches and would typically hold 800 calories worth of food? It has increased drasitcally since then. Today we are using plates that are closer to 12 inches and can hold food that is more in the ranges of 1,900 calories which could be an average amount of calories for the whole day! Fun thought, why not use our plates? They are perfect in size and make for a great conversational piece.
- Do not leave your kids in the dark – Gabrielle explains how it is perfectly ok to talk to our children about drugs, alcohol, strangers and sex, so why is it not ok to talk to them about the consequences of making bad food choices? Talk to them about what happens when we make too many bad choices such as failing heart, obesity and achy muscles and joints. Or when commercials for games come on the television portraying how it may be fun to stuff someones mouth with a large number of hamburgers, listen to what they have to say and allow them to question it. Then, offer them your thoughts in terms they will understand.
- Make meal times fun and engaging – Use things such as dinner table converstation starters to make meal times less stressful. A less stressed atmosphere makes it easier for such things such as bringing a new food to the table to try. Gabrielle states in her book, “Feeling stressed and anxious leads to more mealtime battles, more arguing, less patience, less focus and less concentration on homework and classwork.” There is so much negativity in the world, lets keep the table the one place we can all go to for comfort and peace. If your child does not want to try the Brussels sprouts today, just take a deep breath and offer it on a different day during a different time.
- Find your way into the system – We as parents cannot only be well educated regarding what foods are the best to serve our children. We also need to be aware of what is going on the food industry. Talk to your local farmers, grocers and learn who in your local government stands agrees. If you are an advocate for non-GMO labeling you need to know how to work towards this at a local level first. If there are food additives you feel strongly about removing from our food; learn more about it by finding out how other countries have been successful in removing it and find other advocates who feel the same way as you do.
- start a moms group that focuses on your concerns for foods served
- send a positive email to the newspaper sharing your thoughts on positive ways to change the types of foods served
- bring a speaker to your school to talk about healthy food choices
- arrange for a speaker to come to your church, someones home or other community meeting