I’d like to begin by sharing with you a very interesting and inspiring fact about my children. One is twenty; the other is twenty one, and if you were to ask them right now what their favorite foods are you’d get the same answer they’ve given since they were in high school. Can you guess? They’d say their favorite foods are salads! Pretty impressive don’t you think? Interesting and unusual because that’s sure not the answer you’d get from most of their friends. They love fresh, organic and local fruits and veggies. They thrive on the eggs we get from a local farm. They’ve always eaten close to the earth and almost no boxed, canned or packaged foods. You might be thinking it’s much more expensive to eat this way and who but the wealthy can afford this way of eating especially in these times of recession. We’ll get to that, and you’ll be surprised at how your perception might shift when you hear some very cool facts.
Our kids were home schooled for many years because we believed little kids naturally want to move, play, learn all day from the time they wake up till the time their little heads hit the pillow in a heap of joyful exhaustion. This felt more normal than having them ‘need’ to sit still, stop squirming, pay attention with their minds only, and learn academics only one way ~ at a desk, in a stuffy classroom where no fresh air was allowed in, and for hours and hours every day. There’s no judgment, just observation and opinion. They later chose to enter the public school system and there they stayed until high school graduation. They observed a change in their study habits, mid afternoon energy levels, and love of learning based on foods and drinks offered in the vending machines and cafeteria, and the way they were made to learn. Who better to understand the co relation between nutrition and education than our kids themselves! Listen and learn. It’s simple and easy if you allow your kids to guide you in these very important areas, especially from a very early age once you’ve chosen to introduce them to healthy choices and they don’t know any different. If you’re reading this and your kids are older, middle school or high school age, changes are still able to be made, and need to be made if they’re not feeling their best, operating on a full tank of energy, or calm and alert in their minds. It’ll just be a little trickier and you and they need to be more patient while the body adjusts slowly to healthier choices. Also for the mind to accept a better way is a more consistent way of perceiving food as medicine and medicine as food.
You’ve heard all the data and evidence about healthy eating and the relationship between good nutrition and a focused mind. You’ve read articles, books and magazines about how our schools are feeding your kids nutrient deficient foods laden with hidden fats, sugars and chemicals. You know it’s not their fault that they may be overweight, more sedentary than ever before because of the time spent in front of electronics rather than playing outdoors. So let’s get to these secrets! They all have one thing in common: they appeal to the senses which makes it easy to eat right pretty much all the time!
Secret Number 1: only stock your fridge and cupboards with healthy stuff!
Keep the fridge full of color, so when everyone in your home opens the door their sense of sight is delighted! To see a bowl of apples, one of oranges, lemons, and berries is enticing. A small bowl you’ve filled with water and have cut up carrot and celery sticks is available for an immediate hunger burst. Healthy little baby bell and laughing cow cheeses, fun to unwrap and a low calorie nibble of protein satisfies quickly. Some other form of lean protein like chicken fingers you’ve made yourself from an easy recipe using a lean organic chicken breast cut into stirps, dipped in an egg wash, a whole wheat flour/parmesean cheese and panko breadcrumb mixture and lightly fried in canola oil offers another quick and easy nutritious gift for you and your family. (I’ve got many recipes coming soon on my website to help you with quick and simple healthy meals you can make once a week to have on hand).
Fill a platter that has separate compartments or areas with various nuts and dried fruit ~keep it on the counter, again for a quick healthy snack, because in our society everything is wanted now and needs to be quick to satisfy ~ these suggestions pack a great nutritional punch for sustained energy releases and forget the bagged chips, creamy dips, frozen boxes of stuff with pink dipping sauces, and go for the good stuff that regulates emotions and keeps you and your loved ones in perfect health.
As for drinks, considering the majority of the world is in water crises, we’re so fortunate and blessed to be able to turn on our taps and drink pure water ~ water is the most thirst quenching liquid you can drink, and is by far our family’s best choice. Sometimes a little juice we mix one quarter orange, grapefruit, pommegranete or other dark juice with three quarters water. Usually that’s with a salad, or on it’s own. Get an eco friendly cool looking little re usable water bottle for each member of the family and keep it filled with cool water in the fridge ~ kids love something of their very own and will find it an easy and fun responsibility to keep their bottle full of water! I plan on writing an article specifically on the amazing benefits of water so trust me, it’s the most wonderful choice you can offer your kids for bathing all their trillions of cells in a hydrated powerful way!
This secret alone has the potential to create a lifelong love of preventative health through nutrition, and costs much less than lack of ease that develops in the body through poor food and drink choices; and resulting in sicknesses, illnesses and discomforts of all sorts.
Lastly on secret number one is that you can go to a store like Trader Joes and pick up a bag or two of all these foods for an incredibly low price. Much less so than you’d think! Organic meats, chickens, and fish; fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, tasty little treats like frozen mocha balls which kids find fun to eat and have far less sugar than other typical ice cream treats.
Secret Number 2: Instill in your kids a love of learning! Education isn’t just experienced in a classroom, and home work a necessary addition to that. Encourage them to question everything. To ask after all the things they’re curious about, and to keep on being curious about anything and everything. It’s not always a popular way to be because most kids just follow what they’re told, and get along just fine. For a lifetime of success, defining success as a happy wholesome balanced self referred way to live through the ebbs and flow of life with grace, dignity and kindness, get your kids use to the love of learning about their inner and outer worlds. Do this by talking about their dreams together; by encouraging them to try things they’re interested in without forcing a commitment for lengthy periods of time; by adjusting and tweeking schedules to make room for the unusual; allow them to be kids and no matter what they’re living situations let them ask you about it, and answer simply, rather than saying something like, ‘because I said so’… watch and witness the joy in their eyes and let that inspire and inform your own life! Listen actively to them.