Halloween, huh? Yeah… so much junk filled our home. With the very best motivation- reward coins (that they trade for special things like a movie night or small toy or computer or video game time) the kids did trade in a good number of candies for coins. I just hope they don’t choose to cash them in at once!
So following up the last post about children’s health and supplements, in our home we have been having some talks about responsibility in our own eating. Unfortunately, we do live in a world with highly processed foods and many, many things that are not good for us. My kids are 10 and 11 and I feel that its very important (even much younger than that) to teach our kids to know what they are eating and how that effects their bodies. Inevitably they are not always going to be with me and when they are not, they should be able to look at food, read labels and make choices that are the best for their bodies. I truly believe this is one of our jobs as parents, to educate our children not only in life skills and school based education- but nutrition. If you don’t do it, who will?
Yesterday the hubs and I decided that we were going to take the kids to the grocery store for
a little healthy competition- a Healthy Food Challenge… because it keeps things more interesting, right? Each kid was with one parent and had a shopping list with the rules for the challenge. The criteria for the grocery items had to be: non-GMO, natural/organic, less than five ingredients, no nitrates, gluten and casein-free, no artificial ANYTHING (we talked about food colorings etc.) At the end the winner was to get a special treat.
So I made up the sheets for each kid and had them each read it aloud when we arrived at the grocery store. Each kiddo had a shopping cart and after a few questions we set the clock for 30 minutes and head off to our SUPER MARKET SWEEP! (do you remember that show!? I loved it!)
I was with my son and oldest but not usually most conscious about food choices. I was really interested to see what choices he would make and how well he would read. The first challenge came at actually finding the ingredient label. But once that hurdle
was crossed he was on his way. I casually reminded him to double check the list and the rules to be sure what he was putting in met the criteria. I had specifically put a number of items on the list that were sort of wildcard items, things that they have “natural” versions of, but did not meet the five ingredient rule in the conventional section. After some hard thinking, he got to the items that met the rules.
At the end of the 30 minutes we headed back, only missing two items on his list. Hubs and the daughter were six minutes late but insisted they got everything perfectly. So I grabbed a list and read off each item on the list and had them show me what they got. The girlie got conventional hotdogs that were uncured, kiddo got Applegate Farms. So we read through the ingredient labels to compare each item and I asked the kids “which one is the better choice?” They both agreed that the Applegate Farms was the better. In the rest of the girlie’s basket there were two other items that were conventional, but they said that there was not a natural or organic option. Kiddo grabbed his natural/organic item to show them that it was indeed available.
Since kiddo didn’t have time to grab two items and his sister had three items that did not meet the criteria, they were only 1 item apart but the winner was my son. Of course the girlie called “cheater, cause you were with mom…” but I told her that I simply told him to check the labels and
rules and that was all. After we told them that the prize would actually be for both of them, they felt better after all. We went and chose a movie to watch together from the Red Box since they didn’t have school the next day and they got to choose what movie they wanted.
I think thatwas a great exercise for the kids and something that we will continue to work on in the future. This week we are going to focus on discussion about WHY those rules were the rules, though we do talk about that, to enforce the reason to check for those items on packaging and labels. Educating the kids on foods and teaching them that they DO have a choice in what they eat and how it effects them is something that I hope my kids will take in and carry with them for the rest of their lives.