Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Food Revolution

Yesterday Julie almost skipped out on a field trip with her Daisy troop. The troop had planned an end of the year party at Build-a-Bear with lunch afterwards at McDonald's. To most kids this sounds like a perfect day. My 7-year-old health nut was hung up on the stop at McDonald's.
A year ago she would have been jumping with glee to eat McNuggets and fries. This year she's my super healthy eater. "McDonald's is so bad for you Mommy. I just really don't want to go," she explained.
I swear there was no coaxing from me at all. Obviously we want our kids to eat healthy, and I was kind of glad she had the willpower to resist McDonald's when all her friends would be going. But, I kind of felt bad. I don't want our kids to think any food is off-limits all the time. I really think there are sometimes foods like cookies and cake at a party, or chips at a picnic, or McDonald's with friends.
It's all about being balanced. I convinced Julie to go to the field trip. We had a great time and the kids ate cheeseburgers for the first time in probably six months. All was good.

The irony is later that day we went to a Food Revolution picnic organized by a friend of mine here in the Chicago suburbs. Lindsey has this awesome story about changing her family's eating habits completely and focusing on real, whole foods. They were a nugget family before, and now she's cooking up kale smoothies for breakfast. In her quest to make food changes, she became a food ambassador for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and hosted the picnic yesterday, which was awesome.
She is truly an inspiration.
Eating healthy has always been important in our house. I have never been a short-order cook mom---you know the ones who cook nuggets for one kid, hot dogs for another, and a completely different meal for the adults. I cook a meal and everyone eats it and that's it.
The  meal, I thought was always nutritious since I always cooked with vegetables and never served pre-packaged junk. Lindsey, however, really got me looking at labels and thinking about organic and whole foods. There are truly so many foods that you think might be OK but really aren't.
Instead of just worrying about fat content and calories, I'm really thinking about what's in the food and how that can affect our bodies.
One of the meals I used to serve sometimes, maybe once a month, was fat-free hot dogs and mac n cheese. I knew that was not the healthiest meal, but in actuality, it was low in fat and calories. After really looking at the ingredients, I really don't think I will ever serve that again. The other thing is we used to on occasion take the kids to McDonald's for a special treat. This was really rare, but it did happen. Now we literally never go and the kids never ask. And, in Julie's case, she shuns fast food.

I'm so happy we're raising healthy eaters, but I also don't want to raise kids who obsess about food like I always did. I want food to be a natural, fun part of our lives---not something to be afraid of or worried about. The Food Revolution picnic yesterday is a testament to how families can have fun with healthy food. Everyone packed up a nutritious picnic dinner. There were fruit and veggies to grab on every table. The kids ran around like crazy while the adults chased after them or schmoozed and ate in the pavilion. Food is fun!

Johnny and Lindsey's son Tommy munching on fruit

1 comment:

  1. so so so happy you could be a part of the picnic! i simply loved your post today. you perfectly articulated the challenges of being a mom and sorting through buying food, preparing food and raising kids that have a healthy relationship with their food. i couldn't have said it better girl! xoxo