I’ll admit, planning menus, cooking, shopping, being organized more than four hours in advance is HARD! And when you have kids, it gets even harder. So, I understand. Here’s some things that have helped me look at cooking and food differently:
- Cooking and eating the right foods is a gift you give yourself. A gift you give your family.
- Cooking and eating healthy is an insurance policy to ward off medical problems.
- Cooking healthy allows your children to develop good habits. Yes, they may still beg to go to fast food places (my kids stopped eating fast food after they watched “Super-size Me”, especially the DVD special features), but once they become young adults, they will start remembering what you taught them, and they will be healthier adults for it.
- Yes, eating some organic and buying fresh is sometimes more expensive. Do you put the right kind of gas in your car? Even if it costs more? Do the same with your body. We think nothing of spending $8-10 on a movie (ok, that’s $16 for two of you), $25-40 on dinner out… what if you took that money, just once/month, and used it to buy things that were more expensive but healthier? Are you worth it? We can justify spending money on cigarettes and booze, but not our food? How screwed up is that?
- Don’t think of cooking as a chore. Read cookbooks, ask your spouse to go through and pick out things that sound good. Make dinner a family event, something that brings peace and happiness to your day. Yes, kids will refuse to try stuff, but eventually they surprise you, especially if you and your spouse are setting examples.
- Get kids involved in cooking. Watch the Food Network, or other cooking programs together. It’s amazing what kids can do if you treat them as team members.
- Educate yourself. It is far easier for me to skip going out when I realize I can do it healthier and better than most restaurants. Stop eating out 4/week. Learn to love your crock pot. And sit down with your spouse and say “Eating healthier is a priority for me as a parent and I think our kids will benefit. How can we work as a team to do this? How can you help me?” Can your spouse shop, help prep, set table, clean up, do a few meals a week? All those things make it more “bearable” to cook healthy.
- And finally, if you’re ready to point out the most recent research that organic food is not any more nutritious than regular, that may be correct, but what they do not dispute is the lack of CHEMICALS in organic food. The jury is out on that, simply because we don’t have a huge understanding yet of the roles pesticides and chemicals play in the breakdown of our health. And we don’t understand the cumulative effect they have on our immune systems. I’d rather err on the side of caution!
Now, share with me what things have helped you. I look forward to even more ideas!