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As I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt at Meijer this evening, I overheard the cashier ask the customer in front of me, “How did you get him to eat so healthy?” (speaking of the customer’s 4-yr old son). Somehow, this suddenly seemed to be such an odd question to me.
Years ago, before all the “convenience” foods, all anyone ever knew were whole, healthy, good-for-you foods. It just seems so wrong to me now that suddenly whole fruits and veggies are looked at as a challenge. Why do we assume it is so difficult to get our kids to eat actual, real food?!
Now, don’t get me wrong. My children have had their fair share of junk foods. In fact, my soon-to-be 3yr old daughter, who would eat nearly any healthy food we put in front of her now cries for M&Ms and Kool-aid instead. ::insert shameful face here:: How did it get to be like this?!
For me, there are three basic reasons I can think of right away:
1. My personality. I have trouble seeing consequences past today. Did they have a bad day in school? Take them out for ice cream! Were they particularly well-behaved today? Great! Gift them a candy bar! When it makes my kids happy that I have allowed them a “special treat” in the checkout line, it makes me happy & I don’t see the long-lasting repercussions that are just around the corner. In turn, I “give in” to those pleas for sweets way too often and even initiate the giving without even being asked.
2. Time & convenience. Somehow, unwrapping a chemically-processed frozen meal seems much easier and less time consuming than peeling and chopping an apple. I’m sure the apple would likely be less time consuming but it just SEEMS like more work, doesn’t it?
3. Cost. Isn’t it kind of backwards that the more chemicals and processing a food gets, the LESS it costs? Shouldn’t the foods that DON’T have costly ingredients added to them be the foods that are cheaper? I’m sure there is someone out there who could explain this in a way that makes sense – probably something to do with the number of farmers diminishing or whatever but seriously, it just really irks me that I have to pay MORE for something that comes just the way God made it. No chemicals. No special processing. No giant factory with tons of overhead to account for.
On the flipside of that last point, “cost”: I turn and think of cost, not in a monetary sense but in the frame of what is it really costing my family in terms of health, energy, life-expectancy and so on.
So…. ::deep breath:: from this moment on, I am going to pay those extra few pennies and I am going to spend those (what only seems to be) extra few minutes on preparing fresh, natural and whole foods. I have NO clue what I’ll be serving for breakfast or lunch or dinner tomorrow (feel free to leave me some suggestions or recipes! LOL)… I may be jumping in too deeply too quickly but I’m going to try to really stick with it this time and not to let myself get too overwhelmed. Hopefully soon, knowing what foods to choose and how to prepare them will become second nature. I am sure my kids won’t appreciate the sudden change – at least not yet! But, I know that being a good mom doesn’t mean giving them a chocolate covered smile to soothe every heartache and to celebrate every moment (though I so wish it did! hehe); It means being strong and making the right choices for them. I am going to look at those extra pennies and minutes as time & money invested in to my family’s future. And, THAT is priceless.
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