Happy New Year!
A book that I really enjoy is Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”. Pollan puts forth 64 rules to eat healthier and it is a very quick read. A few of his points can really help us, as parents, revamp the way we feed our children.
Rule 1: Eat food. Entering the grocery store, we encounter food in the produce department, however, the middle aisles offer non-food substances, processed food or food created with chemicals and additives. Food that is processed can decrease the nutritional value of that food.
Rule 7: Avoid food products that have ingredients that a third grader cannot pronounce.
Rule 12: Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle. Characteristically, supermarkets are set up with the produce, deli, bakery and dairy sections on the periphery. Avoiding the central snack aisles will help to prevent temper tantrums at the market. This allows parent to teach children healthy snacks can be a piece of cheese or Clementine.
Rule 19: If it came from a plant eat it, if it was made in a plant, don’t. This goes along with Rule 1 and 7. Many different offerings in the supermarket are created outside of the farm. These are not always the healthiest options.
Rule 25: Eat your colors. Making sure half of our plate at all meals is full of fruits and vegetables will help boost our immune system, increase our fiber intake and fulfill our need for daily antioxidants, which can help to prevent disease.
Rule 27: Eat animals that have eaten well themselves. In a previous article, I discussed organic meats and chicken. We should try to choose meat and poultry that has not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones, but rather animals that have been fed naturally.
Rule 36: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. My kids love Lucky Charms, with those sugary marshmallows and Froot Loops. However, if you read the ingredients, there aren’t many natural occurring ingredients or nutritional value, aside from the milk. A treat is a treat every once in a while, but maybe not to start every morning.
Rule 46: Stop eating before you are full. Growing up, we often were reminded to clean our plates. As parents, it is important to be familiar with the proper portion sizes for our children and to provide them with the appropriate amount of each food group. If a child says that they are full, we should not force them to finish.
Rule 55: Eat meals. Kids love snacks. It is important to have kids sit down to meals and limit snacking in between meals. If kids are hungry in between meals, we should follow above rules and offer them healthy snacks.
Rule 58: Do all your eating at the table. The family table is so important. Sitting in front of the television or computer to eat a meal, can often lead to mindless eating and overeating. Modeling for our children how we eat and choose to eat, can help to lead to healthy children in the future.
Following even a few of these rules will get your children on the healthy track to better eating. Who knows, Mom and Dad may see some benefits as well.