Think about all the ways we think about food and how we talk about it. If we have unhealthy attitudes and problems with food, we often pass them on without meaning to. I recently read something that a young mother posted. She struggles with food and her perception of herself based on the numbers on the scale. She feels she has had breakthrough in that are this summer. I am thrilled she is moving beyond that. There are many prejudices you hear about these days. However, prejudice is not just about what color tone your skin is. There are all sorts of them around. People are prejudice against fat people. No all people, but there is a large segment that is and they may not even know it. This post is not about how people need to not be prejudice, but on how we allow their prejudice to affect us, specifically in the weight category.
The picture above is often talked about. “How to get your kids to eat vegetables”. “Why kids hate vegetables”. “How to sneak vegetables into your children’s diet”. When you hear people talk about children and vegetables, it is not usually a positive thing. This next picture is the opposite.
Now, lets talk about sweets, sugar, cakes and ice cream and children. “If you are good, you can have a doughnut”. Eat one more bite of those veggies and you can have dessert”. “You have been so good, would you like a treat?” Do you see the difference? Just in the way that we talk about food, we are sending messages to our children.
My niece and I were talking about this whole subject and I was relating a story to her. Someone was trying to tell me where a specific business was. I wanted to go there, but was not sure where on the long street FULL of businesses it was. They would ask me if I knew where this certain business is or that certain business. I did not know where any of them were. Then they asked if I knew where Sonny’s BBQ was. Now, THAT I did know!! Well, this place I wanted to go to was between Sonny’s and Burger King on that same side of the road. Now, I could drive right to the place. If we go on vacation to places we have been before, we often remind each other what places we want to eat at while we are there. Food plays a bigger part in our lives than we give it credit for.
We need to swap all of the above around. You are at the fair and you know your senses of smell and sight will be assaulted with all those foods that we look at as treats. How about before we get there, we decide, we will have one item of junk food or even two items. Then when we talk about them, especially to children, we can say, “We have been really good about eating healthy, so we will allow one unhealthy thing today.” Tell them that up front and let them choose their one unhealthy thing. We could even follow up with how we will have to drink some extra water when we get home and the next day to help wash the junk through. Don’t make the dessert a treat. On the other hand don’t use the withholding of it, as a punishment. “If you don’t finish your food, you won’t get dessert”.
Make dessert the rare thing. Make yummy healthy snacks together. Make fruit leather with a dehydrator. It is simple and easy and kids love it. Plus, if they get to help make it, they will love it even more. Dry apple rings and pieces. They taste good and are easy to grab and go. What about fruit and yogurt. It tastes good and if we talk about it like a treat, then it is special and they will want it. I love to cut up an apple and dip the pieces into peanut butter. I saw the cutest idea for Autumn. Someone took peeled oranges (they actually looked like little tangerines), and stuck a piece of celery in the middle and it looked like little pumpkins. Look on pinterest for healthy, but fun and cute ideas.
How about adult treats. Make a trail mix with healthy items like nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and some raisins. Apple rings cut into smaller pieces work well in trail mix. Apple rings make a good snack for adults as well as children. Make chocolate coconut bark. It tastes delicious and you are getting healthy fat into your diet. Break it into bite size pieces or I have been making mine in these. They easily push out and I can open the fridge and grab one and pop it in my mouth.
Plan ahead. Think before you speak. Try and change the way we talk. Lets talk about all those wonderful summer veggies we can eat right out of the garden and how good they taste. I am always thrilled to be able to buy local produce and try new things. Try some new ways to cook them that will be fun. Make a fire in the back yard and cook over the fire. Talk about how they did things in the old days. Maybe dry some apple rings on a string in your kitchen. Find an orchard that doesn’t spray toxins all over the apples. Go and pick apples. That is so fun and then make applesauce (it is a breeze to make applesauce using one of these). Make dried apples, dip apples in homemade caramel sauce or peanut butter. What a treat and a fun one!!
What are some ways you can think of to change the way we look at and talk about foods?