Where Do I Start?

So many times our intentions to eat healthier never materialize because we just do not know where to begin. This is particularly intimidating when we are talking about someone else’s food habits. Let’s talk about how to get moving without the intimidation.

First, realize that we are not jumping off a cliff. We are walking along a flat surface one step at a time. Look at your children’s food habits and choose the worst one (Ok, maybe choose one of several “worsts.”) Think about what they really like that is healthy and might take the place of that bad habit. Let’s take soft drinks as an example. There is not one good thing about soft drinks so this is a no brainer. Many times reaching for a soda is a reflex. Kids need to learn that water is a beverage. They also need to learn to eat a good portion of their water. Water rich fruits and vegetables come laced with vitamins, minerals and electrolytes necessary to good health. There’s a starting point. Orange sections, grapes, and carrot sticks appeal to most children. Start today and reduce the amount of soda that is available in your home and be sure that two or three healthy food and beverage choices are available, kid size, and VISIBLE. If there are grapes or slim cut carrot sticks in plain sight the odds are pretty good that kids will nibble. Once this habit gets a toe hold, add a new choice, then another and another.

Now let’s provide water. “They don’t like it,” you say. We at PharmFoodie say all taste is acquired and your kids were allowed to develop that taste for soda. You can wean them off. Decrease the available soda (Do I need to say this again? If it’s not there they can’t drink it.) Make ice water attractive, available and visible. Lace a pitcher or cup with a sliced strawberry, orange slice, a couple of blueberries or raspberries. The flavor will develop as it sits. Combine fruits and flavors as taste dictates. Make this the beverage of choice at meals. Some kind of minimum requirement for trying this new method of hydration is reasonable. Even an ounce two to five times a day will get the job done. Fruit teas (no caffeine) are another good choice. Celestial Seasonings and Bigelow (and others) make blueberry, peach, raspberry, and other flavors that are made from fruit only. Here’s your Kool-Aid substitute and another incentive to reach for something other than sodas. The color is beautiful and teas of all kinds are very healthful. A tiny bit of sugar is not a horrible thing, either. Sugarless is best but a tiny bit of sugar is so much better than any soda option.

This is only one idea. Start someplace else if you like. Be creative and be patient. If after 2-3 months you eliminate soda from your home except as an occasional treat and introduce a few fruits and vegetables to your kids diets then you have accomplished much. Give yourself a big pat on the back and move on to step next.