Feeding Our Children Well
Changing a family's diet comes down to gradually serving more of what is healthy, and less of what is not. Change happens more effectively when taken in small steps. No one wants the kids (or the adults!) to freak out with too many changes all at once. At the same time, it doesn't seem very helpful to kids when adults make food choices based on what they think kids will eat, instead of what's healthiest. My dietician friend tells me that it's the adults' job to serve the best meals they can, and the kid's job to eat when she's hungry. Sometimes it takes many exposures (like 8-15) before some kids will like a new food. Hopefully, taking it slow, serving food that really does taste good, and having some adventurous eaters in the group will help those who are a little reluctant.
Putting a little more emphasis on healthy food at home could mean serving more nutritious food (nutrient-dense), or that you serve higher quality food (organic, fresh, not processed) - or both. Here are some ideas for both more nutritious and higher quality foods.
Serve whole grains instead of white
Serve fewer or better processed foods
Bring a few more vegetables into the mix
Organic vs. conventional produce
Organic vs. conventional meat and dairy
Milk and cheese
We try to buy organic cheese, but it is often expensive. Some stores carry some "rBGH free" cheeses, which are kind of a middle ground. They're not organic, but at least there were no growth hormones used on the cows.
Creating your own guidelines
Here is a list of things that you could consider reducing or avoiding - not all at once, and maybe not ever for some of them, depending on your priorities and preferences.
Here's an example of how you might categorize these. You could use something like this in communicating with parents about the changes you're making:
By: Lisa Carey | Aug 28, 2010 08:42 PM | Permalink
Thank you writing this article. This is precisely the direction we are going as a family for all our foods. We sell 100% grass fed beef, so we have had the opportunity to educate ourselves about the quality of pasture raised and finished beef over grain finished and concentrated feed lot operator managed beef. Our next step is to find pasture raised chickens and eggs from pasture raised chickens. Thank you again for your leadership for our children and families!
By: Harlan and Lori Archer | Aug 28, 2010 07:54 PM | Permalink|
Very well-written article. I have been packing lunches for children for 20 + years, because their private school lunchroom had deep-fried junk that was hugely overpriced. We have grown our own vegetables and fruits for the past 17 years and are looking forward to having our own goat and/or Jersey milk in the next few months.
By: Denny Hunt | Aug 27, 2010 09:50 PM | Permalink|
Might be prudent to take one step back and consider the logic of what public schools are in the first place; government schools and thus the fox feeds the hens, but apparently not for health!
John Taylor Gatto's recent article "The Way It Used To Be" on Lew Rockwell's site on Thursday Aug. 26 seems to sum up the problem accurately.
Of course, removing one's child from a government school is no small undertaking, but considering that these schools might be broke beyond repair it is perhaps a reasonable alternative to just make their lunch.
By: Carol A Buck | Aug 27, 2010 08:18 PM | Permalink|
I recently saw a Top Chef episode where the challenge was to serve a high quality, nutricious lunch to a middle school in Washington DC keeping to the school food budget while doing so. Not only was the food great, but the kids seemed to enjoy it and eat it. Other shows have shown that kids are not as particular about food as we think. Several families within mine have fed their kids basically what they eat (good foods too) with little trouble. It worked because they started it at an early age and stayed consistent as to their food rules (such as making sure kids can select from what is offered but must then eat all they take, including kids in the cooking routine, insisting they try at least a bite of something new, etc.).
I know this works because my sister and I were raised that way and all of our children are raising theirs similarly. The biggest problem for them is the school lunch which frequently includes foods that are otherwise not served in the house with an emphasis on protein and fat - often no vegetables included (the school consideres french fies and ketchup vegetable servings). Most of the food is pre-made, low quality, US surplus that need only a deep fryer and a microwave to prepare.
We all really need to get involved with this problem, There are many ways to provide nurticious food for our kids and change an entire generation's appoach to eating. One that will hopefully contue as the model far into the future.
By: | Aug 27, 2010 05:06 PM | Permalink|
Totally awesome article; thank you! Everyone needs to read this. We need to be much more nutrient-conscious in this country. You lay it out so clearly and in an easy-to-understand way. Thanks again.
By: Ann Iijima | Aug 27, 2010 04:30 PM | Permalink|
This was a nice, concise description of what we all should be eating. Thanks! We followed this, more or less, throughout our now 21-year-old son's childhood. It was very interesting to see how much weight he put on as soon as he moved in with friends with a more "conventional" diet. He said that he wants to clean up his eating habits & hopes to convert his friends, as well.
Back to the August 2010 Newsletter