Clean Eating food doesn’t need to taste crappy. When we started eating clean, I was sucked into the idea that in order to get it right, my kids needed to eat buckwheat/wholewheat/argave nectar and every other [fill in another must have health ingredient]. When …. surprise, surprise … they didnt eat it (even after I had spent hours making it), I felt as if I was the worst mother ever – yes, Ever. I almost went back to serving up the crap. But I didn’t. I decided instead to set our own rules, take it slow and make healthy changes that mattered most.
As humans, food is pretty important to us. Yes, it’s priority is to nourish our body, but it should taste good too. It’s hard enough getting kids to eat the good stuff, but trying to sell it to them when it tastes like cardboard … well that’s setting yourself up for failure and war. Even as adults, we like our food to taste good – why would we think it’s any different for our children.
When I made the decision to get my family eating clean, I had this picture in my head of green juices and buckwheat cakes. Well… that’s didn’t happen. What did happen was that my children learnt to recognise good and bad foods, they now eat their vegetables and we all make (mostly) healthy choices. We do not have preservatives or chemical foods in our home and even my little ones know how to read food labels (generally if they can’t read it, put it back). Those are all big wins, considering where we started.
Here are a few things our family has learnt along the way.
You don’t have to be perfect
If you are making a chocolate cake and it calls for sugar. Add the sugar. Just make sure that it’s organic and not full of preservatives. I would rather my children have a spoon full of 100% raw sugar from my kitchen than some unknown chemical concoction (had to check the spelling on that one) in a box. As parents, we need to find a set of rules that suit our own family. Don’t let a spoon full of sugar be the reason you stop feeding your family real foods.
You can put Lipstick on a Pig, but it’s still a Pig
Just because it looks like a treat, doesn’t mean it is a treat. I was browsing the Internet … as you do … and came across yet another healthy recipe that we should feed our kids. I felt compelled to write about this pretty popular little recipe: Two ingredient pancakes: banana and egg. Have you ever tasted two ingredient pancakes? They are horrible, soggy wannabe pancakes that feel slimy when you put them in your mouth. Seriously. Give it a go, I dare you. But, if you add two tablespoons of flour then the magic happens … OK, so flour isn’t a popular at the moment. Who cares? If it works for your family, use it. Just be aware of the type of flour you use. Aim for organic and avoid the chemical additives.
Beware of fad diets and Expert Opinions
Since forever, experts have had contradicting opinions on what we should be eating. An idea that is written in stone one decade is laughed at the next. You don’t need a degree in nutrition to eat. You never did. We all have an inherent knowledge of what is good for us and what is not. We know that sweet food is a treat, not a meal and that Nature doesn’t grow bags of lollies in neat little rows. It’s when we ignore our own common sense that we get sick.
Decide on your own Musts & Set Real Life Goals
My #1 MUST is to feed my family food without preservatives or chemical additives. It keeps it simple and generally keeps our diet pretty close to Clean without over thinking it. I aim to include more wholegrains and limit the sugar, but I don’t beat myself if we didn’t meet our vegetable intake for the day. I’m in it for the long run. My goal is to teach my children to eat whole foods for the rest of their lives, so I need to be real about it.
Sometimes crappy food happens. Ignore the Judgement.
People like to give their opinion. Ha, I’ve got a whole blog about my opinion 🙂 When you start eating clean, your neighbours, family and friends will begin to watch you closely. Very closely. They will notice (and feel the need to comment) if you allow you kids to put something ‘less than clean” in their mouths. IGNORE IT and pat yourself on the back that you are confident enough to know that the odd crappy meal doesn’t mean an end to a healthy diet. Your kids know that this is a treat/no alternative available/less than perfect choice – and that’s all that matters.