When it comes to food choices, I tend to follow my gut (no pun intended!). I’m naturally drawn to healthy options … give me sushi over McDonalds any day. I do take my role as Guardian of the Pantry for my family quite seriously as I want to raise an active and healthy family. I did think I was doing really well with my ‘everything in moderation’ approach until that was blown out of the water recently with a lot of media attention to the sugar debate. This really prompted some thinking and a bit of research from me.
So this post is about my thoughts on food. As I’m aiming for a Foodie Friday post each fortnight, it’s probably really important that you know my overall philosophy.
I’m not going to quote facts and statistics back to you. I’m not good at remembering that stuff anyway. But I do know when I read/hear something and it feels right for me and my family. I get that everyone has opinions and philosophy of their own. I respect that and am grateful daily that there are really not dietary restrictions in my home.
I generally make good choices for my family in terms of nutrition. I make sure everyone has a good breakfast, lunch boxes are full of variety, and dinner is pretty much made from scratch. We eat a lot of meat (helps that my husband hunts and we have access to home-kill beef from time to time). I do have a zero tolerance to fizzy and fruit juice, except for special occasions (moderation!). So I’m not doing too bad am I?
There’s been a media storm around sugar here lately. I was already aware of the risks and
limited negative benefits of a high sugar diet but had no idea how much sugar there really was in our diet. Some things I thought were good foods, actually really are not – like white rice and couscous!
As I write this I’m stirring half a teaspoon of raw sugar into my flat white. I’m human! But that is, I think, an example that perfectly reflects my approach. I’m not going on a complete sugar ban, I do still believe that all things in moderation is a healthy approach. That’s tempered now with a healthy dose of education which allows me to give my family better options. For example, instead of loading breakfast cereal with brown sugar, most of us now opt for fruit and homemade Greek yoghurt as toppings. I also make my own muesli from fresh/raw sources (and it’s yummy!). There’s still sweetness to suit our palettes but it is now coming from less refined sources.
I know that if I ban anything completely, my kids are old enough to get it themselves and will binge – they love sweet snacks and convenience food…they are kids. I want to encourage a healthy relationship with food so make a point of talking to them about nutrition. The two oldest boys pack their own lunch and I love to hear “I’ve got hockey today I better have some extra protein”. On the other hand I also had “oh mum, enough with the sugar already” as I stopped a third helping of tomato sauce at the dinner table (do you have any idea how much sugar in that stuff!).
Balance is key. I won’t deny, but I will offer ‘better’ alternatives and ‘sometimes’ foods.
So what do I teach my kids:
- Protein – good! There’s plenty of ways to get it and I make sure these are readily available.
- Sugar – we love the sweet stuff but we need to get it from natural sources as much as possible (fruit and honey are great in my eyes). Sugar in fruit is fructose (a simple sugar) and it’s packaged with water, minerals, vitamins and fibre – the fibre that slows the sugar absorption by our bodies so we don’t get those highs and lows as blood-glucose levels fluctuate (I think that’s right?!).
- Carbs – yep, love ’em too! There are good carbs and bad carbs – we aim for carbs that are full of fibre to minimise the negative effects. Brown rice is better than white, wholemeal bread better than white, whole-grains, veges, fruit and beans are best choices. We love kumara, chickpeas, lentils and quinoa, How lucky am I not to have fussy kids?
So here it is, the food philosophy of Abbie:
Wow, that was really great to actually put on paper. I’m a lot clearer now, hope you can all see where I’m coming from?
Next time I’ll write about some of the changes I’ve made to my family’s diet so far … and how they have been received (which is not all good, even for me!).
Is there anything there that you can relate to? Or disagree with? Please correct me if I’m wrong on any of the factual stuff too! Do you have a food philosophy?