We binged on junk food when we got back from our trip to New Zealand and Australia. It was a good and terrible thing. I was bloated and lethargic after one night of joyous gluttony.
Normally, we don’t eat this way as a family. Growing up, I didn’t either. My mom fed us raisins, home made popcorn, and fruit for snacks. We hardly drank fruit juices, too. It was basically water. So I never acquired an appetite for coffee, tea, soft drinks or juice.
I am a water girl and I drink chlorophyll powder and turmeric. That’s about it. But once in a while I will eat a piece of cake, gobble down M&Ms, and Jalapeño Cheetos. Yet I try to avoid doing this on a regular basis, especially because I am aging. It’s doubly hard to get rid of fat and build muscle.
The challenge is training our kids to eat nutritiously and make wise choices when it comes to taking care of their bodies. At the beginning it’s about teaching them to obey, which includes finishing what is on their plate. By the age of 4 (I wish it was earlier), our kids eat what we give them and ask them to. Praise God. That’s His grace.
Another aspect is setting boundaries and being a positive example as parents. If we don’t make healthy choices we can’t expect our kids to do the same. It’s a family thing. Our kids are what we eat becauase they tend to eat what we eat.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or unrealistic either. I am not vegan or someone who eats only organic food. Sometimes I wish I was, and I applaud those who are this disciplined. But it’s not that easy to be organic about everything in the Philippines. Plus, focusing too much on what we can and can’t eat can cause our children to be paranoid and legalistic. Our kids pick up on what Edric and I talk about so quickly, so the older ones get overly concerned about their sugar intake and they look at labels for preservatives in food because they hear us converse about these things.
However, there are some non-negotiable about our diet. First, minimal refined sugar. Take soft drinks for instance. Soft drinks are hands down bad for your body. So we don’t let our kids develop a palate for it. They don’t see Edric and I drinking it either. Sometimes Edric will buy a Coke when we are at a Chinese resto but that’s about it. And the kids will give him a hard time and say, “Why is dad drinking a Coke?!” Like its a mortal sin!
Thankfully, because we talked to them about the badness of soft drinks early, they have no liking for it. Even when they go to other people’s homes or parties where pop is served, they avoid it on their own.
With the exception of my chocolate chip cookies, we use honey, muscovado or coconut sugar to sweeten food. And we don’t do powdered juice drinks either.
Secondly, we look at labels when it comes to the food we eat. Anything with preservatives like sodium nitrate and MSG are red flags. Unfortunately, this means that we can’t eat yummy stuff like corned beef and Spam. I miss those days! Although I am ashamed to admit we haven’t quit the bacon yet (this is a tough one for Edric and our kids) and Knorr Sinigang Mix, for the most part, we avoid canned goods and the anything with a label that sounds too technical to understand.
Once again, we aren’t dogmatic. Sometimes I serve hotdogs to guests. But they won’t be the red ones!
Third, we don’t like to eat a lot of fast food. It’s a last option for our family. Like…when we are desperately hungry. Otherwise, it’s home cooked meals for us. Brown rice, fish, and veggies are a favorite combination for my kids and me. With Edric we have to give him more options but we tend to veer away, in general, from pork.
When it comes to snacks, I have to improve on the selection I provide for my kids. Thankfully, there are amazing options for healthy snacks these days. I am also writing this so I can think through a better plan for the snacking part of our day.
I was thrilled to be sent samples from a company called The Honest Crop.
My kids consumed these in one day! Now they are asking for more! Look at how pretty the chips are! I ate an entire bag of these myself. They also have Taro Chips and Sweet Potato Chips. Both so delicious!
Here is The Honest Crop’s price list: