When your children become grown-ups, they will not willingly eat what they were not offered as youngsters. Studies show eight to fifteen exposures are needed to gain acceptance of new foods.
Recently I saw a 30-something Mom and her three-year-old shopping the produce section. Instinctively, the little child was attracted by artfully arranged, colorful mountains of nature’s generous nurturing harvest. Focused on quarts of blueberries, she tugged mom’s shorts, pointing in curiosity at the blue orbs.
“Mommy, I wanna see bwuberry’s” was the perfect opportunity to cultivate responsible eating habits that set the foundation for future mental and physical health. My heart sank as Mom gently pushed down her daughter’s pointing hand, discouraging her child’s inborn interest,
“Oh, honey, you wouldn’t like those, we have Pop Tarts at home.”
Another nutritionally illiterate parent projecting their silly fears of fresh produce upon impressionable minds.
Unless you live buried under a pile of ‘Poop’ Tarts, we can all agree science says eating more plant foods has seriously groovy health benefits. Reduce your family’s intake of animal foods. Eating super-sized quantities of dead animals is linked to chronic diseases colonizing your holy temple.
Add a variety of fresh taste, texture, excitement and color to your loving tribe’s food fare by encouraging everyone to experiment with new foods and new combinations. Aesthetically arranged fruit and vegetable trays, turkey breast with arugula on wheat wraps, and low-fat bean chips are several ways to add health to a celebration. Produce provides key vitamins and pleasantly surprising taste experiences.
Try fresh avocado and tomato on your turkey burger or sub, or assemble a pretty bowl of vanilla yogurt, garnish it with local fresh fruit and walnuts, then serve it over whole wheat pancakes with Maple syrup. What ever happened to popping popcorn from scratch?
Parents, you’re missing the opportunity to create a memory and share a legacy of togetherness. I remember my siblings and me standing at the stove, each excitedly taking his turn shaking the popcorn popper until the last kernel exploded before dousing the hot corn with gobs of butter and hunkering down in front of the TV to watch Ed Sullivan, with all of us nibbling out of the same wooden bowl together. Not Ed, just us. Do you remember doing things like that?
Revisit your childhood with your own children. Not only will you help them make new discoveries, but you’ll also increase their motivation by realizing that celebratory meals can be adventurous, fun, healing, and delicious. (Of course, replace the butter on the popcorn with olive oil or a non-trans fat margarine, please!)
Add power foods to the family menu such as organic PBJ sammies with organic peanut butter, grain bread. Consider no-sugar-added jams, bean dips, wraps with shredded veggies, reduced-fat cheese, sorbet, watermelon wedges, blueberries in low-fat sour cream, apples slices spread with peanut butter, white-meat turkey chili, and deviled eggs made with reduced-fat mayonnaise. Or how about hummus with whole wheat pita bread, homemade whole wheat mini-pizza, and brown rice cakes with Galaxy Soy cheese topped with salsa? Think smaller and kick the vending machine mentality. You’re smarter than that.
Instead of trying to win the family popularity contest, why not use the shopping experience and dinner table to lovingly educate and teach respect for the Great Creator’s gifts rather than reinforcing destructive behavior to themselves as well as our earth..
Tradition, thy name is stubbornness. It’s got to change someday— but it has to begin at home, where the heart is. Maybe before couples are allowed to procreate, they must first take and pass a nutritional literacy exam, be given a house plant and a dog.
If both are still thriving after 6 weeks, then they can birth children.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
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