In the past three months, our household junk food consumption has reduced significantly while eating healthier has noticeably increased. I’ve been making my own snacks like homemade potato chips or crunchy garbanzo beans in an effort to help my kids understand how to make wiser decisions on what goes into their bodies. As their mom, it starts with me leading by example, which means not being hypocritical when they’re not looking. I want my kids to appreciate the taste and quality of homemade food and hope someday they will truly understand the value of eating good foods and the benefit it has on their health.
A few years ago I read a startling article on how food is marketed and packaged to children. I learned that if you could give a child the choice of packaged baby carrots or plated ones then more often than not they will choose the packaged ones. It wouldn’t matter if the carrots came from the same source, were cut the same size, and had no noticeable differences. The subconscious and prejudicial impact glitzy marketing campaigns have on our children make it hard for them to resist. This makes for an uphill battle for parents trying to convince their children to accept the more wholesome and healthier foods we offer them, even if it is better for them and more flavorful. However, when our children’s palates are conditioned to prefer the flavor of certain processed foods, tempting them with real food sometimes backfires to our dismay and can be downright discouraging.
After reading this article on why certain fast food French fries and hamburgers do not decompose over long periods of time, I decided I couldn’t plead ignorance about certain food choices I make, even for convenience sake. I assure you, this doesn’t make me a radical advocate of certain food politics, but instead has me on a personal mission to eat and feed my children more responsibly. The hope is that they will follow down the same path when making decisions apart from me. And when I do crave the occasional fast-food French fries, which I love all too much, I’m so glad for the locally owned drive-in burger place blocks from my house who cut their fries right before your eyes, fry them in vegetable oil and salt them without any chemicals added. But this doesn’t mean I won’t miss my favorite fast-food version I grew up with. To be honest with you, I don’t know if I could commit to not ever eating them again. As you can see I’m still struggling with this. Ultimately I just don’t want my kids to believe eating this kind of food on a regular basis is normal – not that we eat fast food regularly.
I’m not about complete deprivation. I’m just doing the best I can taking small baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle with less processed foods for my children’s sake.
Have you made small healthier changes in the way you feed your children? Are they receptive to these changes? Share your tips and experiences with us in the comments below.
Recipe: Seasoned Baked French Fries
A healthy twist on french fries.
- 3 medium Russet potatoes, washed and dried
- Non-stick canola oil spray
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut each potato in 8 equal wedges. To do this, cut the potato in half, then in quarters, and finishing it off by cutting each quarter in half again. Generously spray them with canola oil.
- In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.
- Place potato wedges in a large freezer bag and add the seasoning mix. Seal the bag and shake it until most of the wedges have absorbed the seasoning.
- Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and place the potato wedges, skin side down on it. Spray a light coating of canola oil on the potatoes one more time.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and lightly season the fries with salt, if necessary. Serve plain or with your favorite dipping sauce.