It’s been 12 days since I announced to my household that we are ALL supporting Produce for Kids in embracing healthier eating habits. I’ve been referring to this mission as Ditch the ‘Fish (Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, that is) because we have been focusing on replacing processed crackers and pretzels with healthy snacks in addition to our already healthy meals.
That’s not to say we have been completely deprived though—nor did I want this to become a 100%, 24/7-type deal. We went to a cookout at our friends’ house this past gorgeous weekend, and enjoyed some potato chips. And that’s okay! My ultimate goal is to ease my kids in to the 80/20 eat clean lifestyle that I follow; meaning, daily choices are wholesome, but there are certainly room for treats and enjoyment during special occasions. This is realistic, not deprivation. I am also teaching them the difference between “can’t have” and “don’t have.” When it’s not in the pantry or available as a frequent food choice in your own home, you think “we don’t have Goldfish” instead of “we can’t have Goldfish.” With this way of thinking, there is no guilt eating a handful of Goldfish if you’re served some at a friend’s house.
The BEST part of this entire experience so far is how my 5 year old has not only shifted his preferences, but has changed his vernacular too. No longer am I hearing the dreaded “frozen pancakes” replied to my question of what he wants for breakfast. Just this morning when I asked what he wanted he said, “something healthy!” We settled on an omelet with cheddar. His 18 mos old brother ate the same AND a banana. Even better, now when I ask what my 5 year old wants for a snack, Goldfish aren’t even mentioned or requested! We’ve been enjoying more nuts, fruit, popcorn, and sweet potato chips. Most interestingly, the request for snack after snack after snack has completely diminished. (This follows my theory that crap like Diet Coke and Goldfish actually increases our hunger and causes us to overeat, but that’s a whole other blog post!) We still struggle with him actually eating dinner, but now that I know he’s having a wholesome breakfast, lunch, and snacks, I am more relaxed about negotiations at dinner. I’m hoping that ultimately his palate will change and he’ll want to eat all the fresh produce and lean meats on his dinner plate.
In my previous post last week, I made a joke about the Berenstain Bears and Papa Bear’s typical reluctance to get on board at first, and that has turned out to be true. A secret stash of Fishies at work was admitted last night! For the man who runs 20+ miles per week, I’ll give him a free pass, but I have made other small tweaks to our food that will hopefully balance this out, including: buying Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain bread; having either leftovers or chicken salad made with yogurt in lieu of deli lunchmeats; stocking the pantry with wholesome snacks; buying enough KIND bars that we all can share (totally guilty of previously buying just enough for me); switching to La Croix sparkling water; and adding more produce to our meals.
It’s much easier as a mom of little ones to make grand changes to their lifestyle and/or diet because you’re in full control (well, short of them actually eating it.) Our pantry and refrigerator is where we take responsibility for our contribution to childhood obesity. However, when it comes to changes as an adult, it’s much more difficult because you’re trying to break habits that have existed for decades. We know this, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Making small changes, such as completely removing one bad food (just one food, not a food group!) can be what you need to get the ball rolling on significant changes that will completely ratify your health.
What small change can you make today? Will you Ditch the ‘Fish with us?