All change starts with ourselves, so although this article is intended for families with children, you will also benefit from the information below if you live solo or as a couple.
Let me ask you a few questions. Do you find yourself reaching for chocolate too many times a day? Nibbling off your kid’s plate? Running in the door at 6pm to see the crock-pot didn’t start that morning? Or realizing – “OH, I completely forgot to think about dinner.” If so you are not alone.
As a mom of a 4 year old daughter I know the challenge of juggling your own self care, your work schedule, even if you are a stay at home parent cause there’s a lot to do, with the needs of your children, your entire family and all the conflicting nutritional information.
In this months article I want to share three tips to get started on learning to feed yourself and your family.
#1 Did you know that children’s taste buds are more sensitive then adults? That’s because we start off with over 9,000 taste buds yet as we age they decrease. Now that’s a lot of sensations for a child to manage, which is why they might gravitate towards the “kids menu” which usually includes white flour, chicken nuggets and quesadillas. But let’s face it there’s not a lot of nutrition on that dinner menu.
The fact is we need to train our children to appreciate the finer tastes of life. And in this case I’m not talking fine wines or fancy chocolates, I am talking about the food itself. When you look at what’s in your grocery bags you need to look at the ratio between foods in boxes, foods from the frozen section and foods right off the vine.
Why is that? Because many processed foods (and fast foods and) are loaded with food additives. Therefore if you are eating foods from the box, or feeding them to your children those 9000 taste buds are getting trained to think food tastes like the food additives instead of the actual food itself.
When I first started eating “whole foods” they were dull. Eating a plain carrot or green vegetable was B-O-R-I-N-G. I wanted the bling, the blast, the sizzle. Well in just a short period of time, and commitment to my health, I now do get that bling, blast and sizzle, from a beet, carrot, kale salad. Whole foods are loaded with flavors and if you get “addicted” to those foods you are moving in the right direction.
The other thing to pay attention to when reading the labels is the amount of sugar added to so many food that in my opinion don’t need it.
Start to educate your children about where food comes from and how it works in our bodies. This is the perfect time of year as we are in the middle of spring going to summer. There are tons of fruits available to us now. Start to train those taste buds to appreciate a berry, watermelon or fresh mango. Then move onto veggies. You may even want to visit a farm and go vegetable or berry picking. Remember it doesn’t need to be a lecture. Make it fun.
#2 Modeling. How you eat is how your family eats. Watch yourself. Are you standing up eating? Grabbing and going? Eating in the car? Now I want to add here…no judgment. Really. I have a very clear intention of sitting down at all meals no matter who I am eating with but especially my daughter. Yet on those mornings when I have early clients I find myself standing in the kitchen, eating breakfast while packing lunch and doing dishes. But just as in meditation when you catch your wandering mind you come back to the breath I do the same thing in the kitchen. When I remember I sit down. And sometimes in 1 minute I’m back up multi – tasking. And then again, I remember, I sit back down. This IS yoga off the mat.
But my point is we have to model HOW we eat and we MUST model WHAT we eat.
Here are some practical ways to do that. It’s ok to have some canned or frozen food around. I do. But going back to tip #1 read your labels, get foods with the least amount of ingredients, the most whole and don’t forget organic.
In my own home I have stocked fridge of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. And you will also find organic canned soups, organic canned beans, frozen tamales or corn crusted pizza. Now I’m always going to promote cooking food from scratch first but let’s face it, its a busy life and even busier with kids. So when you reach for the canned or frozen meal here’s what to do. Always add something fresh to it. Meaning adding some fresh kale to the soup and cook it in. Make a salad with the canned beans or add avocado and tomatoes, Serve tamales with some sautéed veggies and with pizza- I love to just buy the crust and add your own toppings.
The more live fresh foods you can get into your body and your children’s the healthier you will all be.
#3 Do you read? Do you read to your children? In addition to the NY Times, the latest novel or books like Curious George, Cat in the Hat and Olivia pull out cooking magazines and cookbooks. And whether it’s with the kids or by yourself I recommend ones with pictures. Rachel Rays Cooking Magazine is excellent because she has pictures for practically every recipe.
I love this activity for a few reasons. First cooking or food books become part of the culture of your family. You are saying with out words (or maybe with words), food is important and what we put into our bodies matters. My daughter and I do this at least once a month together, if not every week. Partially I do it because I have to get my menu planning done and time is limited so I include her in the process for the week. I show her pictures of the foods and I say, what looks good or yummy to eat this week? Inevitably she always chooses the desserts first and we have a good laugh about how all we are going to eat for every meal is dessert. But eventually she starts looking at soups, main courses and even vegetables. When the child is included in the process and then that food shows up on their dinner plate there is a wave of delight. Hey I had power over what mamma or papa gave me to eat. Again this holds true for the adult going solo. I remember the first time I actually cooked something I saw in a cookbook. Astonishment. I DID THAT! It feels good.
And here’s the money saver. Instead of just hitting the library for story time go and check out the cookbook section. The library is loaded with cookbooks and cooking magazines.
These are just 3 simple tips you can do right away to help feed your family and yourself a healthier menu.
For more ideas please join me Saturday June 1, 2013 at YOGA TREE Corte Madera for HEALTHY MOMS, HEALTHY FAMILIES.
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In the meantime please post comments or ask questions in the comment section below. I will reply.
Darshana Weill is a Food Freedom Mentor and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of the Food Freedom Programs, where women learn to feed their bodies and nourish their souls.
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS DARSHANA AT THE YOGA TREE
HEALTHY MOMS, HEALTHY FAMILIES
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Yoga Tree Corte Madera
Treat PMS Naturally through Yoga and Mindful Eating
June 29, 2013
Yoga Tree Hayes
OTHER WORKSHOPS WITH DARSHANA AT YOGA TREE
The Yoga of Food: How is life feeding you?Nutrition 101, Sugar can be Medicine, Yoga and Food For Emotional Eating. 21 Days to Food Freedom, A cleanse for women ready to kick their crazy cravings to the curb.
To contact Darshana directly call 415 637 7222 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org