I mentioned before that I love reading everything I can get my hands on. One of the simplest to follow and easy to read books I have been given was "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan.
His Rule #7: "Avoid Food products containing ingredients that a third grader can't pronounce."
I was able to practice this first hand on Monday when I took my third grader shopping for Daddy's birthday treats. We were going to buy Daddy's favorite ice cream (which happens to be of the all natural ingredient variety).
My daughter wanted to get a big bucket of the plastic stuff with bright colors and nastiness. We normally don't buy ice cream and have it sitting around in our house. But this is a special occasion so, YES, I do eat Ice cream occasionally - just not daily or even weekly.
I took the opportunity to show my daughter the difference between ice creams and grabbed the all natural brand first and asked her to read the ingredient list to me. It had like 5 ingredients and she could pronounce all of them. Then I grabbed the kind she thought I should buy because it was bigger and the same price and asked her to read the ingredients. She started to and then stopped. "MOM, the list is too long and I don't know those words. those are some long words!"
I took it as an opportunity to teach her about real food versus fake food and the cancer causing additives put into all the food in the store. we talked about treating our bodies as temples and being a little more cautious about what we put into it.
Ice Cream is a treat - not a snack. It DID cost us a little more than the crappy ingredient kind and we did NOT get a HUGE amount for a cheap price. But then again, we don't NEED a huge amount. It's a TREAT NOT A MEAL!
Meals should give you the majority of nutrient rich calorie intake you need to sustain life. They should be well thought out and have a variety of healthy foods. Although you should watch portion sizes, these meals tend to be larger than a snack.
Snack - are supposed to tie you over between meals. These should also be well planned and healthy. Not chips and soda and brownies. More like nuts, cheese, fruit, veggies etc... not as big as an entire meal. watch serving sizes. YOU SHOULD have regular snacks daily (not treats)
Treats - these should be consumed a maximum of once a week or fewer is even better. These are potato chips, soda, Hot Dogs, cake and ice Cream, etc.. anything that is NOT FOOD! I personally Don't like to keep Treats around the house on a regular basis since the kids (and me in the past) tend to eat these things before food and they call it a snack. DO NOT keep these things around. this is what is making us sick! imagine keeping the Halloween Candy Bowl on the counter all year round...? (I hope you can't) Buy treats when you have a rare special occasion. I have actually started putting all processed foods into this list (hamburger helper, pizza, fast food, frozen meals - these are all RARE "treats" in my house consumed once a week to once a month. I try to avoid these "food like substances" completely like cookies and ice cream so I put them in the treat category.
I guess this turned into 2 topics in one...
watch the ingredient list and imagine a 3rd grader reading it to you... can they pronounce the words?
treats are NOT snacks! Treat them like treats and CUT WAY BACK on the frequency of consumption.
That's your tip of the day - see what you can do with it.
- Michelle Ennis