I was fortunate to have a pretty health conscious Mom growing up. I got used to eating healthy foods and learned to love them. Myself and my siblings love to cook healthy foods and are always swapping recipes and ideas. I am so lucky! So... all you Mommies who want to make this change for your kids, it is going to work. Stick with it and your kids will learn your healthy habits. We all did... all 7 of us :) I got the basics from my Mom and then I picked up a lot more in the past 5 years of being passionate about changing our eating habits. Here are some tips I picked up.
- Stay on the edges of the grocery store except for a few canned goods and pastas. Produce and meats are around the outer edge of the store.
- Buy seasonal. It's cheaper and more delicious.
- Cook... you may be bad at it now, but if you start cooking you'll get better and better and suddenly you'll love doing it. You will also get faster and more creative. Good motivation is new knives, pots & pans. It takes a lot of practice, but it's definitely worth it!
- Simple is good! Food doesn't have to be complicated. I can't tell you how many times I've made an incredibly delicious meal with less than 5 ingredients.
- Don't be afraid to eat veggies raw. Vinegar (balsamic is my fave) and olive oil go well on just about every vegetable.
- Fill up on vegetables. Don't eat a small side salad and a huge steak, switch it around. Once you get used to eating vegetables your body will reward you and you'll begin to crave them for how they make you feel and what they do for you. They even begin to taste better. Biology, go figure.
- Protein doesn't have to be the star. I fed 3 adults & 3 children with 2 chicken breasts yesterday. I made potatoes and a salad. No one was still hungry.
- Eat more white meats. They're cheaper and better for you.
- Eat fish. Experiment with different kinds of fish and methods of preparation, find something you like. Countries that consume less fish have more obesity issues, have a higher frequency of heart disease, depression problems, diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins counteract these and guess where they're found... FISH ;) Yes, you could take these in vitamin form, but overdosing is harmful and much easier to do with a pill. The American Heart Association recommends you eat fish twice a week. Learn to love it!
- Homemade... cookies, spaghetti sauce, pizza, fries, mashed potatoes, soups, breads... just try it out! Yes it takes longer to prepare, but you will get far less sodium and no preservatives or additives. They are dangerous chemicals and your liver will be working overtime to filter them from your system. Not good.
- Soda... sorry, but it's just not good for you. Sugar, additives, preservatives. Try going off soda for awhile and then have one a couple weeks later and you'll feel your body reject it. I am not saying NEVER, but definitely not every day. Additives in sodas and candies have been linked to ADHD in children.
- Fast food is bad, mmmkay? We all know this. I am not talking about just a cheap place with a drive-thru. It's any large chain restaurant. Take a closer look at the nutrition facts of their meals. If they seem insanely high in sugars, fats, sodium, calories... it's most likely because they are using processed foods from a major distributor to maintain "flavor consistency". "Fast Food Nation" and "Supersize Me" will help rid your desire for those foods :P I am not saying NEVER, but a whole lot less than we're doing, America. Maaaaaaaybe once a month.
It is difficult at first to live this way, especially in the USA. We are surrounded by cheaper, easier options. I am not trying to get anyone mad. I am not trying to call anyone a bad parent or a bad person. My purpose is to inform, not to judge. I am not an extremist. I go to McDonald's occasionally. I drink soda... with delicious rum. You won't die from eating sweets and fast food, but you'll be healthier if you cut back :) Allrecipes.com is marvelous for finding new recipes. The Food Network can be quite motivating. Aaaaaand... that's it! If anyone has questions I love helping and cooking and swapping recipes.