As a mom, I try my best to set a good example for my three children when it comes to everything I do. Keeping an eye on what I eat is no exception. I’ve always been the kind of person who prefers carrot sticks over candy bars, but my healthy food preferences haven’t exactly rubbed off on my kids. They will eat fruits and vegetables pretty easily, and love soy milk with a passion, but if given the choice between celery sticks or potato chips – you can probably guess what the outcome will be.
For my family it all boils down to what foods are available for consumption. If my kids see bottles of soda or boxes of frozen pizza in the freezer, that’s what they instinctively go to first. Our solution to the junk food habit has been to leave the processed junk foods at the grocery store, and to make sure we have plenty of quick and easy foods on hand when we get that inevitable snack attack. We do our best to only buy foods that are healthy and nutritious, that fit easily into our busy lifestyle, and that are affordable options for us. The cost of food seems to be rising all the time, and the foods that are readily available have been grown with chemicals and pesticides (so not cool). The organic option is a natural solution to this problem, however, organic can be very cost prohibitive for many people or simply very difficult to find (both of which apply to us). We try to keep up to date with the recommendations put out by the Environmental Working Group, in their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. We try to avoid the “dirty dozen”, and stick to the “clean 15″ when we cannot buy organic.
Making small, consistent lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in overall health and well being. Since becoming more aware of what foods are coming into our home, I have noticed a tremendous difference in the health and happiness of my entire family, including myself. We’re not perfect, and we don’t always make the preferable choice when it comes to eating, but we’re always making an effort to live the healthiest lives we possibly can. For us as a family with a million different things to get done in a day (okay, maybe not literally a million), keeping our food choices simple, quick, and easy is a must. We always stock up on lots of dried fruits and nuts, and keep lots of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand too, fully washed and ready to eat, which keeps everyone happy. Mom and dad are happy because we don’t have to stop what we’re doing to go cut up some carrot sticks or chop up some broccoli, and the kids are happy because they’re satiated and don’t have to beg for food. We also keep lots of sandwich makings in the fridge since they’re quick and easy, yet totally satisfying. And for a quick snack/dessert/breakfast, I keep lots of homemade granola bars on hand (like my chewy peanut butter granola bar recipe). Granola bars are very nutritious, very easy to make, and make a wonderful on-the-go food.
Ditching the junk food really isn’t that hard, it just takes a little planning and a lot of commitment. Take baby steps, and in no time you’ll realize your goal. Peace.