With m getting older and wiser, and more and more people asking “how are you planning on keeping your kids from eating sugar for ever?” I realized that as strong as my convictions are to raise a healthy family, it was important to me help my children understand “why” as part of that foundation. I am not so concerned about the “others” asking about my convictions. It humors me that they find it confusing, or amusing, or whatever prompts them to question me with a smirk on their faces. We cut processed sugar because of how bad it is for our health. It adds no nutritional value. It has no health benefits.
We were sort of fortunate that m has allergies. With her allergies we were hyper aware of ingredients and she has never been able to eat foods at will when we are out. No birthday party pizza, no birthday cake, and no miscellaneous candy. We have thus far successfully substituted all of these things almost exclusively with a variety of fresh and frozen fruits. I love delicious foods and treats, I just believe that mother nature kind of has the game locked up. Peaches, cherries, strawberries, blueberries…fruits are Mother Nature’s treats.
We strive to keep a variety of plant based options available year round whether frozen or fresh and slowly increasing the foods we add to our garden (strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, snap peas, a variety of herbs and three varieties of tomatoes). In addition to having healthy options we keep a running dialogue with m about “fueling” our bodies. So far we have made it by unscathed and even though m is only a ripe, old age of 4, so far she is very excited about being healthy and learning about nutrition. I have no idea what she will do as she gains more autonomy and freedom, but I know that she will have a solid foundation both of knowledge and nutrition.
In a recent conversation with a fellow mom, she shared that her adult daughter who was raised on a “healthy diet” proclaimed that she had become a vegan and that “oreos are vegan.” The point that this stranger was making to me was that you cannot assume that because you feed your children healthy foods that they will automatically continue that path into adulthood. I agree. However, it opened my eyes to the missing piece…education. The vegan-raising mama may have put the right options in front of her kids, but she left out the training of why. I recently read an article discussing how wheat pasta was better for you than spaghetti squash. What they failed to address is that the pasta is enriched, with synthetic nutrients, that are harder for your body to absorb…I would take the spaghetti squash, nutrient dense by nature (literally) and supplement with other whole foods rather than dine on synthetics. Facts like these are discussions that I want to have with my kids.
They will choose their own paths as they mature, but they will do it with eyes wide open, and full of information…and organic, nutrient dense foods…