When there are cookies around, getting kids to eat well is a challenge. Studies of medical students getting chocolate chip cookies are proof. But more on that in a minute. First, we must address why it is so complex and why it is crucial to eat well. As difficult as it is to compete with the modified flavors today, strategy is critical. A new study reveals evaluations are significantly better when teachers provide cookies(1). Therefore, we must find clever ways to make healthy food look, taste, and be more inviting!
Raising a family and eating good food is the easiest way to go, but if health is discovered along the way- changing habits is hard. It is certainly do-able, but it takes work and removing processed foods(2) will help bunches. Here are some of the reasons:
- Ultra-processed foods have chemicals that supply the brain with instant gratification
- Ultra-processed foods have more flavor than foods in nature and whole form
- Ultra-processed foods have a lot more sugar and salt than we would add to a dish
These qualities and more cause foods to be addictive. These foods are empty calories because they do not sustain, satiate, or nourish. With obesity at an all-time high and Americans leading the charts as 2 out of 3 people are overweight or obese, these processed foods are a root cause. We are overeating to help the body get satisfied, but it is physiologically complex because nutrients are missing.
This challenge to eat well is demonstrated, especially in foster group homes and orphanages. Volunteers feel sorry for these kids and bring cakes, pizzas, and treats that a Mom of a family only occasionally gives her children. Additionally, major grocery and convenience stores donate bags of leftover bread and treats from the bakery department.
Teaching kids the importance and power of food is a successful approach. Changing the taste buds takes about two weeks, and the lifestyle change becomes much more manageable. Brain fog subsides, depression wanes, behavior improves, pains slowly disappear, and the need for prescription medicines diminishes.
The real challenge to eat well is at the beginning of change. No one wants to choose a healthy salad when chocolate chip cookies are available. And in medical school, students given an unlimited supply of chocolate cookies gave better evaluations to those teachers. So we have to be fun and creative alongside educational empowerment if we want to have a chance with ourselves and our kids.
- Make fun shapes, stories, and faces with food on the plate
- Make substitute healthy versions like nut balls that taste like cookies
- Have fun and be silly when eating healthy food
- Associate good things, good stories, with good food
- Teach the value of what nutrients do to the body
- Conversely, teach what non-nutritive foods do to the body
Good luck, Moms and Dads! We are all in and know the challenge, but keep trying for the health of yourself and your loved ones. And maybe making it fun will help our kids see the value of our teaching and training them well for life.
If you would like some creative recipes towards health, please consider ordering one of our cookbooks where 100% of the proceeds go to help kids at risk! Link.
2. Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Brychta R, et al. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. Cell Metabolism. 2019;30(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008