Blog Of The Month: Teach Eat LoveThu 27 Jun 2013
Story by Anne Myer
I vividly remember thinking something had to change when I was stuck in rush hour traffic for the sole purpose of buying cheddar crackers, one of the few things that my picky toddler would eat. From then on, I started limiting snacks as a reward or when my little girl was fussy. I began reading about how to help my daughter move from processed snack foods to real, whole foods and quickly realized that we needed to make some changes.
This happened a little less than a year ago, but the results have been profound. We cut out almost all processed foods. I discovered that my daughter is happy with one snack a day – and she eats at meal times now. We avoid on-the-go munching, and I stopped using food as a pacifier.
Developing New Habits
We also developed new habits. Our Saturday morning ritual includes shopping at the farmers' market. Instead of shooing my daughter out of the kitchen, I find ways to involve her in meal preparation. As a result, she will try almost anything I put in front of her because she helped prepare it. She doesn't always like it, but she's learning. This new approach to food has made dinner time my favorite time of the day; I love sitting at the table enjoying my family and good food.
I started blogging to share what I have learned. Picky eating is a problem that many parents assume is just part of having kids. We spend countless hours ensuring our children's success in reading or playing a musical instrument, but we cave when our kids express their preference for candy over broccoli.
I hope that my blog encourages parents to cut out processed "kid food" and gives them ideas about how to prepare local, seasonal foods.
Some of my favorite posts take junky "kid" favorites and give them a real food makeover: California pizza with jack cheese, avocado, and a sourdough crust; New Mexican Mac & Cheese with green chilies; and easy Unjunked Peanut Butter Cups. I have also found inspiration in simple French dishes like Salade de Carottes Râpées and a vanilla yogurt cake that's easy enough for my toddler to make. My processed food exposés show what is really lurking in the packaged foods we feed our children. Three of my most popular posts have covered boxed cake mix, what various egg labels mean, and what GMOs are.
Both my recipes and exposés stem from an idea expressed by Alice Waters: "good cooking mean[s] having the freshest ingredients you could find, and then doing as little as possible to them."
When we slow down enough to teach our children how to tell when blueberries are ready to pick, to knead dough for fresh bread, to savor the smell of a perfectly ripe tomato, and where to place dishes on the table for a family meal, then we teach them to love what they eat.
About the author: During her childhood, Anne’s family spent time each summer on her grandparents' farm where we enjoyed helping in the garden, fishing, climbing trees, and learning how to cook and preserve foods. These memories of fresh, whole foods - simply prepared - have always been a source of inspiration for her in the kitchen. Besides her grandmother, the greatest influences in Anne’s cooking are Julia Child, Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver, Frank Stitt, and Karen Lebillon. When she’s not cooking, photographing, or writing, Anne might be found working on a modern quilt, teaching literature, or enjoying the outdoors with her wonderful husband and daughter.
Check out the blog and all the posts mentioned here.
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