Each season offers a bounty of new produce and clean living topics, but over the past weeks of promoting my new book, one topic in particular has been on everyone’s minds – clean food kids. Children especially, learn much more from what we do than what we say. So, as every flight attendant instructs, “Place the mask on yourself first before helping others”…and apply some of these other techniques to achieve even greater success for yourself and your children, too. Be forewarned – these approaches may work on more than just your children!
1. Set ground rules: Eating all the colors of the rainbow, all 5 tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent) and foods that are minimally processed. Read labels together, skipping the marketing on the front and going straight to the ingredient list. And remember, if it reads like Greek, chances are you body can’t translate it either.
2. Talk about your choices: The more children know about healthy food and nutrition, the more empowered they will be to make healthy choices for themselves.
3. Move foods closer to the source: Moving just one step closer to the source can make a big difference to your health, wether you’re switching from packaged cereal to whole grains, or giving up packaged foods with ingredients that read like formulas and not food.
4. Imagine how it grows: Fill your plate with foods that you can imagine growing from a green plant, not those that come from a processing plant.
5. Add new foods to recipes they already love. One leaf of kale added to a favorite soup is a much less intimidating way to develop a taste for kale than sitting down to a big platter of sautéed kale for the first time.
6. Set-up your home for success: Make hard choices once at the grocery store and fill your pantry with healthy options so you and your children aren’t faced with temptation every time you want something to eat.
7. Teach, don’t enforce: If you’re home is set up for success (see #6), you can play the role of cruise director, guiding your children to healthy choices, and not the food police!
8. Get everyone involved: Lighten your load and make it fun by giving everyone a voice and a role in everything from meal planning to shopping, cooking, serving and even clean up.
9. Turn snacks into mini-meals…and mini-meals into snacks: “Snack food” is nearly synonymous with junk food, so avoid the snack aisle altogether and make every meal fun and delicious. Make-your-own burritos, tacos, wraps, sushi rolls and salads – all featuring that rainbow of color!
10. Take is slowly: If you and your children try one new clean food per week and only like half of them, at the end of a year you’ll have 26 new healthy foods in your repertoire! Everything changes slowly, from taste buds to habits to digestion, and your good health will be the reward.
I hope you’ll enjoy this fun segment from my Lunchbreak appearance on the WGN-TV MidDay News in Chicago where we talked about turning a kids favorite (Mac and Cheese) into a healthy, vegan, gluten-free clean food recipe that all kids are sure to love! Click here for the EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL recipe featured in the segment.
And remember, focus on bringing in and not deprivation; honor each child’s individuality; enjoy each bite and the journey to discovering delicious clean food together with your children; and…
Eat Clean Live Well!