I don’t listen to “experts” when it comes to how to eat healthy. Why? Because if you’re going to listen to experts, how do you know what “expert” to listen to? “Healthy” to one is not “healthy” to another; a “proper diet” to one is not a “proper diet” to another. Some say supplements, others say no diary, and others say nothing but protein.
So what’s a mom to do? I go with common sense.
See, if I just look around me and study creation there are great clues on how our Creator intended us to eat – what I tell my kids is the “food pyramid of common sense”:
1) Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds – these are all in abundance and easy to harvest and eat without any processing or preparation. Therefore, the foundation of our daily diet should be based on these things.
2) Eggs, milk. These are animal products that are abundant and, therefore, are a good source of protein on a daily basis. (I put cheeses and yogurt into this category since processing these items can be homemade without a factory.)
3) Fish and chicken. Easy to catch, easy to prepare… but not so easy that they need to be part of our daily intake.
4) Red meat, pork. Based on how difficult it would be to catch and prepare one of these animals if we had to do it ourself, we eat these things occasionally as a compliment to our overall intake.
What I just laid out is the foundation of how we eat as a family. Whole. Real. As simple as possible as often as possible.
Here are some habits I practice in my home:
About 90% of what we consume is homemade.
Not a lot of salt, rarely, rarely much processed sugar. (Unless, of course, we are making a batch of homemade cookies or fresh whipped cream!)
I buy the highest quality food my budget can afford at any particular time; I buy organic fruits and vegetables as often as possible. (I love frozen organic veggies – a little more cost effective if you buy them in the bulk bags.)
I keep what I want my children to eat the most of in plain view: fruit all over the place, nuts in see-through containers at eye level in the pantry.
What I don’t want them eating without permission is kept in our “naughty cabinet”. The “naughty cabinet” is where we keep crackers, chips, candy (if we have it), cookies… the “treats” in our home. If the kids want any of these things they must get permission first. (I’m a big believer in training kids how to enjoy treats in moderation. So, while we enjoy our “treats”, they are “treats” and not to be consumed without thought.)
Common sense eating has served us well – and it has also helped me to raise a little tribe of kids that truly LOVE good food – all food. We don’t have food fights around here, I don’t make separate meals for people, they eat their veggies as happily as they eat an apple. And, best of all, my kids are healthy, lean, strong, smart.
So be encouraged today. Now that 2012 is here I know many of you are probably trying to kick off better eating habits in your home… but don’t allow all the voices out there overwhelm you! Take a step back, breathe – take cues from nature and let simple common sense be your guide.