“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
... Or, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi:
You must eat the foods you want to see your kids eat.
Let me explain why I think this, (while not enough) is a powerful force of change.
Let’s take two families. In both, the children eat a diet which consists of nothing but processed, denatured and generally unhealthy food, such as sugary boxed cereal, chicken nuggets, ketchup, potato chips, soft drinks, and a variety of takeout fast foods.
In family #1, the parents eat the same food as the kids.
In family #2, the parents eat real, home cooked foods made with good quality ingredients.
Family #1 The children growing up in family #1 never see either of their parents cook. They aren’t exposed to different tastes and other ways to think about food. To them, the processed food they eat is simply food – it’s the norm. Sure they know it’s theoretically possible to cook something fresh, but it’s some vague concept – something that someone else does.
Family #2 Remember, the kids in this family are eating processed foods, just like the kids in family #1, but in this case, the parents are eating real food.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that the parents of family #2 never once offer this food to their children. Watching the parents eat real food would influence the kids in the following ways:
The kids in family #2 are aware that there are both ready-made processed food and homemade food. They grow up watching people do actual cooking, like chopping and roasting and stuff. Not just nuking. That may not sound like much, but it’s a start. If you don’t think so, just imagine how difficult it is for a young adult first out on his own to start eating right if he or she has no concept of cooking, never having seen such a thing at home.
The kids in family #2 will know the names of actual real food products, not like the six-year-old kids in this video who didn’t even know what a potato or a tomato was.
Family #2’s kids may not immediately start fighting each other to get the biggest piece of liver, but we can be pretty certain that at least some of the time, they’ll ask for a piece of roast chicken or a serving of the nice beef stir fry with rice that the parents are having. After all, real foods taste good. I dare those kids not to ask for a bite of your delicious meals. Yes… these real food tastes do take time to get used to if all you know is food filled with chemicals, but it’s also hard to resist the smells of great food.
Information trickles into kids’ consciousness. You never know how long it will take… but your kids will eventually start to eat foods they’re exposed to. I’ll give you an example from my (formerly) very picky daughter.
Growing up, she only saw beets once in a while. She wouldn’t be seen dead in the company of a beet salad. Then, when I started getting a weekly CSA box of vegetables from Chubeza http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2011/10/visit-to-chubeza.html I was getting beets all the time. It became a staple in my diet. Never once did I try to serve them to my 25-year-old daughter (hey, I know my limitations) but lo and behold, one historic evening, (cue the dramatic 2001: A Space Odyssey theme music) she slowly extended her fork across the table to the beet salad bowl sitting on the dinner-table, picked up a tiny beet morsel… and ate it. Truly one of the more shocking moments in my life. Her conclusion? “It’s not great, but it’s not too bad”. I’ve since witnessed her eat a small portion of beet salad with dinner on many occasions. Truth is, she’s started to eat many things I never thought she’d touch.
|Real Food swoops in for the kill!|
Want your kids to eat real food? If you do nothing else: be the change you want to see at your dinner-table.
Have you already read the other tips?