Purposeful Parent Tip: Food is supposed to nourish you, not stress you out. Keep it simple.
I am not the greatest example of a person who always eats healthy. While I do my best to make good choices, especially in front of my kids, my friends and family can attest to my obsession with salty snacks. I know many women who are chocoholics and swoon over those sweet concoctions dripping in chocolate and other sugary coverings. These have no appeal to me whatsoever. For me, hell is a land with no Fritos.
Given that, meals in our house, (when I do cook) are generally made up of a solid protein (yes, usually meat – apologies to the vegetarians out there), a carb of some sort, and vegetables or fruit. It’s what I grew up eating every night before food pyramids and our culture’s obsession with a healthy diet came to be. I don’t knock nutritional guidelines but in my opinion, it’s the constant barrage of information about food that is stressing out every man, woman and child in this country and has led to our obesity problem.
Who knows what to eat these days? Carbs are good. Carbs are bad. Soy is good. Soy is bad. A glass of wine is good. A glass of wine is bad. I’m convinced the increased levels of cortisol and belly fat are not due to overindulging or a poor diet, but in the stress most people have about what to eat.
My mother never worried about these things. She served a home-made balanced meal every night. Meat, potatoes, vegetable and to drink – milk or water. There was no soda, no juice. That was for special occasions or holidays. Once in a while we’d have snacks or treats in the house, but again, those were a treat.
Perhaps she cooked this way because she grew up in the Depression or maybe it’s because that is how her mother cooked. Either way, she was not influenced by government guidelines or the latest facts from Dr. Oz on the benefits of God-knows-what-kind of unpronounce-able, never-heard-of-in-my-life food from a country I can’t place on a map. (P.S. – I LOVE Dr. Oz. Anyone who can talk as fast as me or faster is A-Ok in my book.)
Simple is better. Always has been. Always will be.
A friend of mine posted a note on Facebook recently about how she puts spinach in her smoothies. Ewww. I thought. (For the record, I do like spinach, but in a smoothie? Double Ewww.) She stated that while the color was a bit off-putting, it gave the smoothie a sweet taste and complimented the fruit. She said even her kids liked it.
Hmmmm… yeah, right. Her kids liked it. You know as well as me that the appearance of any green food to any child is likely to send them running for the nearest ice-cream store.
But, I have respect for my friend’s knowledge and so I tried it. Believe me, I was nervous. I hate to waste food and the thought of having to throw out a smoothie made of organic (translation – expensive) ingredients was not appealing. My kids happened to be in the kitchen when I was making this new concoction. I did not let on about the “eww-ness” factor but rather said “I’m going to try it”. Well, my friend was right. My strawberry, banana, spinach smoothie was delicious!
When my kids saw me ‘yummying’ it up, they wanted to try it. No arm-twisting, no bribing, no cajoling, no “but it’s good for you” dissertations. Both of them tried it without reservation. Yes, they were a bit reluctant but they did it. They loved it!
Today, my daughter made her own smoothie with…bananas, strawberries…and yes, spinach. I didn’t have to say a word. She knew exactly what to do. She did not make this smoothie because it was “good for her” or because her mother told her to or because Dr. Oz said it was the right thing to do.
She made it because it tasted good.
Simple is best. Always has been. Always will be.