When your child is placed in your arms for the first time, everything changes. Life isn’t just about you anymore. Life becomes this precious child that you would move Heaven and Earth for. You’d do anything to ensure that your child is happy and healthy. The trivial things vanish and your priorities become so clear. Food is a priority for me and my family. Good health starts with healthy food. What I feed my children will impact every area of their life; overall health, education, happiness, etc. For me, food is what I MOST care about with my family.
When I look at my kids, I see three amazing individuals, each with their own personalities, quirks, and interests. They are all involved in sports and enjoy being active with our family and with friends. They are healthy and most importantly, happy. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for anything else. All of this wouldn’t be possible without a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is a balanced diet with a variety of real foods; vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, etc. It’s essential for good health. It makes being active possible, reduces illness and the possibility of chronic diseases, and is important for proper development. This is how we make food a priority in our house.
Ways to make healthy food a priority
Make Good Food Choices
We are teaching our children to make healthy food choices. Reading food labels and cooking with whole ingredients (not processed) are a big part of that. These two things make a huge difference.
As a parent, I lead my example and keep healthy food options in the house. The fridge is full of fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks and meals. There is a snack box in the pantry that the kids can grab from. The box usually contains raw nuts, granola, fruit leather, whole wheat crackers, dried fruit, etc.
It’s really easy to get busy with all the different activities the kids have. Swinging through the drive thru and picking up something sounds so much easier. But we limit the amount we go out to eat and when we do, it’s a restaurant that offers healthier food options.
Cook at Home
It order to eat healthy, you have to be cook. Everyone in our family cooks. We started teaching the kids how to cook around the age of 4. It was simple things at first and has progressed as they have gotten older. My 9 year old daughter is an amazing baker and her skill has surpassed my own. She made a fresh pear cake that was nothing short of amazing!
Even if the week is busy, we make time for cooking. Meal planning gives us a plan for the week and takes the guesswork out of what to make each night. The crock pot and wok are life savers on busy weeknights. They make it possible to create healthy meals without spending hours in the kitchen.
Avoid artificial and highly processed foods
Artificial is fake. Why would I want to be fake or eat something fake? I’ll take the real thing over fake any day. Wouldn’t you?
We avoid artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and ingredients. Artificial colors may be linked to hyperactivity in children. My youngest is active enough and doesn’t need any help in this area. There are other health concerns with artificial ingredients too. So if a product has anything artificial, it goes back on the shelf.
Highly processed foods aren’t healthy. Period! You won’t find a Twinkie that’s shelf stable (I’m talking stable for 45 days… yuck) in our house or anything else like it. Ants won’t touch margarine and neither will I.
This goes back to making good food choices. We’re not depriving our family of delicious food, just the ingredients that aren’t good for them.
Understand what’s in our food
I want to make the best informed decisions I can regarding the foods my family eats. Reading labels is part of knowing what’s in our food. I look for ingredients lists that include real food ingredients, typically 5 or less. Ingredients I can’t pronounce, i.e. butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT), are avoided.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are purchased, organic or conventional, based on the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Food lists. These lists help limit my family’s exposure to pesticides and GMOs. We buy whole milk dairy, often organic, and whole wheat grain products that contain whole food ingredients.
I support mandatory GMO labeling. There is research both for and against the harm/benefits of modifying food at a genetic level. I run a healthy food blog and am an ambassador for Just Label It’s Conceal or Reveal Campaign supporting mandatory GMO labeling. I have read compelling arguments against the consumption and use of GMOs. Many developed countries, including all of the European Union, require GMO labeling. It’s about time the US does the same. I want to avoid GMO ingredients because I’m not convinced that there are unforeseen side effects and repercussions down the road. Labeling would allow me to make an informed choice for my family.
Unfortunately, the Dark Act may make my ability to choose impossible. The anti-consumer bill passed in the House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate. If this dangerous bill is passed into law, it will make it even harder for consumers to get the transparent labeling they deserve.
Our kids deserve the best
The choices we make now and in the future mold them into the person they are and the adult we hope they will one day be. By making the food they eat a priority, they can grow up healthy, free of illness, have the energy to get up and go, do well in school, and do the things they want to. With a healthy diet, all other things are possible. It’s one small way that I can give my children the world.
You can learn more about the topics mentioned in this article at the following sites:
The link between a healthy diet and education from the National Agricultural Library, CDC (Center for Disease Control), and this study between brain function and diet.
Link between diet and ADHD, Additude Mag can 2 great article on the subject:
The Sugar Wars and Can Diet Ease Symptoms.
Information on GMOs – Just Label It, the NonGMO Project and GMO Awareness.
What matters most to you when it comes to your children?