Eating Healthy Is Too Difficult
We lie to ourselves all the time. Most of the time it’s out of habit and we’re totally unaware it’s even happening. Sometimes it shows up in the form of negative self-talk while other times we do it because we believe in something we were told. What I’ve also noticed over the years is that people lie to themselves as a way of talking themselves out of doing something they think will be difficult. Like eating healthy.
I’ve have heard some of the most absurd reasons from clients as to why they don’t eat healthy foods. “It stains my teeth.” “It takes like salty dirt.” And one of my all-time favorites, “It makes me go to the bathroom.” Um, well I should hope so! Newsflash—It wasn’t meant to stay inside you.
I thought I’d share some of the other common excuses I hear from clients and parents when asked about their dietary habits. You may find that you are guilty of having told yourself the same excuse. Well thankfully, becoming aware of the barriers that we create for ourselves is the first step to creating lasting healthy habits. If any of these sound familiar, take note and then throw it out of your mental Rolodex. What doesn’t serve you, distracts you.
Healthy foods don’t taste good.
I’ve had clients tell me this for years. It’s not that healthy food is bland. It’s just that you and your kids are used to tasting synthetic chemicals known as flavoring. Like a connoisseur of fine wines, your kids have become accustomed to and addicted to these chemicals. For example, Flaming Hot Cheetos are a widely popular snack but they are not made with anything that even resembles cheese. There is nothing natural about the product yet there are kids running around this country thinking that’s what cheese should taste like.
If you don’t do much cooking at home or can’t remember the last time you saw your child eat a vegetable, then making the transition to real food will be challenging at first. Your child will have to lose their cravings and basically reset their taste buds. But here’s the good news; kids are far more flexible than adults. I have yet to experience a situation where a kid refused to eat and slowly withered away. They adjust.
My Kids Won’t Eat
I know from experience that what this really means is that as a parent, you don’t like the food in question or you want to avoid the struggle of trying to get your kid to try something new. I have a good friend who swore her daughter hated fish. Then I later discovered that her daughter loved the fish sticks that were served at her school. When I jokingly questioned her about this, she admitted that she hated cooking fish and couldn’t stand the smell it left in the house.
Pediatricians and nutritionists both agree that a child typically needs 6-8 exposures to a new food before they’ll start eating it. I’m also a huge proponent of hiding healthy foods in kid’s favorites. For example: putting kale in smoothies; mixing pureed cauliflower in mash potatoes; and adding ground up veggies to casseroles and sauces.
It’s Too Expensive
This is exactly what the makers of Flaming Hot Cheetos wants you to think. It is one of the greatest lies being told to the American public. The biggest expenses when it comes to groceries tend to be dairy, meat, cereals, and snacks. These are the exact same products you should be trying to limit. Fresh produce, legumes, nuts/seeds, and whole grains are very affordable and a better source of nutrients. You can also buy them in bulk and really save some money.
Organic Produce is No Better Than Commercial Produce
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report stating that children have “unique susceptibilities” to pesticide residues from produce. The organization based this statement on research that linked pesticide exposures in early life and “pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.” The organization advised parents to consult “reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables.”
I know there’s so much confusing and misleading information out there about whether or not organic produce is worth the extra few cents. But the whole point to choosing organic is to reduce the risk of consuming pesticide residue. We live in such a toxic environment. We take toxic drugs, eat toxic foods, put toxins on our skin, drink toxins, and breathe them in all day, every day. Choosing organic is a great way for you and your child to reduce your toxic load.
We Eat Healthy Already
Despite having access to nutritious foods like fruits and veggies, Americans are still reaching for the potato chips. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 61% of the food we consume is highly processed and accounts for about 1,000 calories of our daily intake. That means that more than half of the food we feed our bodies is a poor source of nutrients and energy. Our thousands of body functions that we take for granted (until we get sick) have to run on 1/3 of the nutrients it actually needs. If you want doctors and medicine and sick kids to be a thing of the past, you need to be honest about the effort you are making.
This doesn’t mean that you never get to eat pizza and cake again. What it means is that you recognize that these foods have little to no nutritional value and therefore should not be considered “food” but indulgences. Every time you give your kid a slice of pizza, you need to own the truth that you deprived them of their necessary nutrients. I know that seems harsh but this is the reality: pizza crust has no nutritional value and tomato sauce is not the same as eating a fresh tomato.
Start getting into the habit of acknowledging that processed foods (like pizza, cereal, hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese) essentially means that most of the nutrients have been processed out. Strive to eat “farm to table” meaning cook meals using foods that come straight from the earth or the farm like fresh produce, and organic meats and eggs. Don’t forget the fish!