Last week it was my turn to bring snack to an after school program. I asked my daughter what she would like to bring. She sighed in great disappointment, something ‘normal.’ I was a bit shocked. My usual go to snacks of Nourished-Up hemp seed power cookies, cut veggies or a bag of mini-oranges has never been problematic before.
What she really meant was for me to bring what the other parents bring—those nasty mini glazed donuts, orange-and-green iced cookies, some kind of powdery, electric orange cheesy chip, pre-packaged gooey granola bars, etc. You get the idea. But the thing is, this is not normal.
So over dinner conversation last week, we flushed out this idea yet again. Because these food surround our kids everyday pretty much at every meal or snack time, this really has to be an ongoing conversation. We had an extremely powerful connection that helped my kids understand why ‘NORMAL’ just isn’t working.
‘Normal’ or ‘the way everyone else eats’ is not healthy. Government food guides and pyramids are not healthy for everyone. What the FDA says is high in protein, fiber, whole grains is not fact. Labels on packages advertising 0 trans fats and low sugar has no truth. Just because food products are loaded in processed sugars, sky-rocketing high sodium counts, preservatives, fillers, taste enhancing chemicals and colours should not deem them OK and certainly not normal. The majority of what our population eats are foods containing these ‘things’ (for lack of better term). In fact, we are eating food substances in their most abnormal state.
Normal is food that we eat in their whole food state. An apple, not an apple bar. A potato, not a potato chip.
Normal is starting to be children who are are so hooked on high-sugar/salty foods and beverages, that they don’t like fresh fruit and vegetables. One client’s son told me he doesn’t like oranges because he preferred a brighter orange. I was floored. A brighter shade of orange? I think he has had too many variations of the ever so bright cheese puff. Our kids prefer the taste of screaming blue energy drinks to the taste of fresh water. Unfortunately, this normal is starting to look like kids with grown-up diseases being treated in grown up ways. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
This made a big impact on my girls over dinner.
I get that they want to be like everyone else right now. They are impressionable and socially oriented. Yup, since all their friends are eating packaged snack bars on the playground, pulling out homemade muffins with carrots and chia seeds may be ‘embarrassing.’ But the more we talk to our kids about listening to who they are and how to understand their bodies’ signals, the more we are empowering them to make healthier choices that trickle down into absolutely every single aspect of their lives. Mindfulness of the way they eat, awareness of the way they think, judge and yes, behave. The food we eat has the power to nourish or malnourish every single cell in our brains and in our bodies.
So I ask you, is this normal working for you?
I encourage you to forget the normal. Rethink your usual grocery list. Set your own normal. Dam straight it is a challenge, but I have first hand seen the effects of our society’s normal. The more we teach our children to make better food choices on their own, the more healthy food will become just mindset. I don’t think we can ask for more from our little loves.
So lay out your normal snack plate of cucumbers chips, carrot sticks, pepper slices with some hummus; guacamole and corn chips; organic cheese and salsa. Let them load up. Then perhaps once in awhile, perhaps out of the blue, open up a bag of a healthier chip (they do exist). Deprivation doesn’t work, but educating our kids to choose fresh over faux will always reign. No matter what. I promise.