Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Food Rules

Nate and I have often laughed about how he grew up with a dietitian mom and then went ahead and found himself a dietitian wife. Coincidence, or does he really care so much about his health, not to mention understand so much about the connection between good nutrition and good health, that he wanted to always have a dietitian in the kitchen? Let's go with the latter.

In all seriousness though, I don't think he's missed out on too much good food because of it. I can't comment on where he might have gotten his junk food when he was a kid, but these days I think he's glad to have a job so he can drink Coke and eat Oreos without being judged by me. Although if this post was a conversation around our dinner table, he would quickly jump in a complain that Apple doesn't sell Oreos in their cafeteria and he doesn't have a car so he can't run to the grocery store for lunch (i.e. Ritz crackers and summer sausage) like he did at previous jobs. But of course he does our grocery shopping occasionally, which is how we sometimes end up with Lucky Charms, boxed mac n' cheese, and those massive cartons of Goldfish crackers in our cupboards.

But don't start to assume that I'm some sort of uncompromising food policewoman. After all, I don't immediately donate those over-processed foodstuffs to the nearest collection bin :). It's just that there are certain categories of food that I avoid on principle (i.e. McDonald's, sweet cereals, fruit snacks, any flavor but plain yogurt, juice, packaged cookies…I could go on, but you get the idea). Beyond avoiding foods on principle, I suppose I have some guidelines or rules that I try to live by. Written out, they might look something like this:
  1. Family meals = super important
  2. Eat dessert, not routinely, mostly homemade, but NEVER as a bribe.
  3. Adults decide what to make; each person/kid decides how much they'll eat
  4. Adults also decide when (at what time of the day) to eat 
  5. Vegetables = prominent position on the plate
  6. Meat is fine, but I'd rather it be an added flavor or side dish rather than a main
  7. Kids can/will eat salad (and other "adult" foods) if we make it normal
I'm not being original by articulating these food rules. Authors Michael Pollan and Karen Le Billon did the same thing in their books, and I love their rules. So my list is an attempt to personalize and articulate the eating environment that I envision for my family. To me, it's all about creating a normal and healthy relationship with food.

An example of a healthy relationship with food (dragging a chair and foot stool out to sit next to the peas)

Our neighbor, Pam, gave us some leftover pea seeds for a winter crop

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