A Food Revolution for Healthier Kids
May 17, 2013
Today is Food Revolution Day, an international day of action founded by chef Jamie Oliver to spread the word about real food and the skills needed to prepare it. To celebrate, here are some first steps anyone and everyone can take to create healthier food at home.
Food is inextricably linked to our well-being. This goes double for kids, who have large appetites, demanding nutritional needs, and growing bodies that can’t yet fully detoxify pollutants and additives. A diet based on freshly prepared whole foods delivers maximum nutrition and minimum toxicity. Here’s where to start:
1. Eat more produce.
Consider a “flexitarian” diet in which many meals are vegetarian and meat is served only occasionally. Eat a variety of differently colored fresh or frozen produce—the many unique nutrients fruits and vegetables contain are reflected in their color.
2. Prep your produce.
Wash everything (even organics and foods you peel!) thoroughly to remove dirt, pathogens, and pesticides. Use warm water, no soap, and a scrubber for hard-skinned items like potatoes and carrots.
3. Be wary of canned foods.
Canned food linings often leach a chemical called bisphenol-a, which has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and other health issues. Look for fresh, frozen or dried options instead.
4. Avoid food dyes, preservatives, additives and sweeteners.
We like the writer Michael Pollan’s rules: don’t eat anything with more the five ingredients or any ingredients you won’t find in an ordinary pantry.
5. Invest in the best dairy.
Look for rBGH-free products from cows that aren’t fed this unhealthy growth hormone. And choose organic to avoid antibiotics and pesticide-grown feed.
6. Make healthy meat choices.
Many substances and chemicals of concern accumulate in animal fat. Cut down on meat consumption, select organic varieties, and trim off fat for a superior supper.
7. Select safer seafood.
Fish is a leading source of dietary mercury and PCBs. Leave these off your plate by avoiding larger species as well as farmed fish, which are fed and raised like factory farmed animals. Trim the fat and let any remaining drain while cooking.
These ideas will help your family eat better, but they’re just a start. For the complete recipe for healthier food for kids, download our brand new e-book, Easy Steps to Eating Healthy & Safe Foods. Happy Food Revolution Day!