Eat real food.
Sounds simple. Right? But, is it? Where’s the “real food”? Diet crazes, demands for convenience foods, and industrial/agricultural innovations have left grocery stores packed with anything but. Our great grandparents probably wouldn’t recognize most of what’s on the shelves these days as food! There seems to be a low fat, baked or “healthier” version of everything but, are they really healthier? Or, are they just a more processed, chemically laden version of the original?
Food labels and packages are no help, and can be very misleading. Most fruit snacks that tout they are 100% real fruit are really just repackaged sugar. An average 14 gram serving contains 11 grams of sugar and pretty much nothing else. Parents end up buying them for kid’s lunches thinking they are doing something good for their kids. Or what about a product like Sunny D that contains almost no real juice and the second ingredient is corn syrup! The commercial implies it will help our children grow up “happy, healthy and successful” when it’s really just sugar water full of emulsifiers, dies, gums and even oil….yuch!!! What kind of juice contains oil?
So what’s my advice?
- Eat real food. Or, as Michael Pollan would say “Eat food. Not too much, Mostly Plants.”
- Become a “qualitarian”, make every bite a quality bite!
- Get a variety of foods from all 4 food groups and don’t limit any particular group, they are all important for a balanced diet.
- Share food with friends and family. Multiple studies have shown that this has huge social benefits and fosters healthy relationships with food, especially for children.
- Check out those ingredient labels – they should be short and pronounceable. Or better yet try incorporating more foods without ingredient labels into your diet, as these are usually minimally processed, real foods!
- Focus on eating food, not nutrients.
- Buy food from farmers markets when possible, and support your local economy!
Try getting your kids in the kitchen too, this is a great environment for learning and bonding. I have amazing memories of being in the kitchen with my sister and grandma rolling out pastry for pies or making cookies for grandpa. This website has great kid-friendly recipes –> bettertogetherbc.ca.
When all else fails just stick to the basics, and enjoy good food and traditions with friends and family!
Do you have real food experiences or memories you would like to share? Leave a comment below!