Having eaten 100% raw vegan for about two years a few years back, I know what it feels like to be at the top of my health game.
I also know what it feels like to watch a child struggle with their digestion, skin and behavior. I know what it feels like to have every doctor suggest Mirolax, cream, and a therapist. And thank god, I know what it feels like to get it all under control by changing her diet.
Yet having had these two experiences, I still don’t always make the right choices.
Saturday night was one of those moments.
Let me explain…
We went to school for the eighth grade play. Our school is one whose philosophy really supports alternative approaches to health, but sugar, gluten and dairy are everywhere, and I should know better…
At intermission, I found myself, with three sets of eager eyes, in front of a huge spread of cupcakes, brownies, cookies, chips, and soda.
I know better, I always bring things in my purse, but this evening was kind of a last minute call…. So I started by saying “no, our family does not eat these things.”
But fast forward five minutes and eight dollars later, the two who can tolerate gluten and dairy had ice cream bars, and my gluten-free gal had convinced me to get her chips and soda… The soda was the Whole Foods real fruit juice kind, but that is still soda!
So this really got me reflecting…
Why did I do this? Why do we feed our kids crap, even in a school community of 100s of parents who know better?
And I listen to enough parents that I am sure it’s not just me…
I hear things like, “we eat well at home, so I just let my kids get whatever is at school for lunch,” or “I can’t fight my parents, so we have our rules and grandma has hers and that seems to be working,” or “we keep it pretty healthy, but I don’t want my kids to feel left out around holidays or at birthday parties.”
But here is what hit me really hard after the eighth grade intermission spread…
The choice I made had nothing to do with what I want for my family, and it had nothing to do with the well being of my kids.
At the bake table, part of me just wanted to please those beautiful fluttering eyelashes of my daughter that were asking me for soda; part of me didn’t want to deal with the whining that I know follows a “no”; but the clincher was really when she said, “but mama, my friend was allowed to have it!”
That was the moment when my answer had nothing to do with what was best for my daughter, and it had nothing to do with the food choices I make on a daily basis. It only had to do with what my third grade self thought she wanted… to fit in.
And this my friends, is why we all need a plan, myself very much included.
If we want the food we eat to serve us and our kids, we need a plan. I know I do.
And the plan has to be much bigger than the food.
So what does such a plan look like? It is like a business plan but for how your family eats. It takes into consideration those moments at the bake sale table, so you know just what to do.
I have created a whole program for busy moms to create such a plan, but here is how you can start today that will lead you to make good choices 90% of the time…
Now it is time for you to take action!
Take out a piece of paper. On one side write where you get tripped up with food and on the other side write your action plan step by step.
So I may write on the left side, “Bake Sales” and here is what I would write on the right side….
- Clearly talk about our family rules on bake sales with my kids at a moment when we are all relaxed and at home. If there are exceptions, tell them what they might be at that moment very clearly. Make them repeat back so we are all on the same page.
- Make a commitment to have healthy sweet treats on hand for such situations.
- Make healthy sweet treats regularly with my kids, so they know what goes into them.
- Start talking openly with extended family about the effects of gluten and sugar on my kids’ health.
- When I can help a situation, volunteer. For example, always bring healthy, gluten free baked goods to a school sale. Follow-up with the principal or teachers when the food is out of control.
- Kindly and compassionately be the change I want to see.
- When life does not go according to plan, because it will, let go of the guilt and talk about it with the kids the next day…
What are some things you struggle with? Snacks? Little League practice? Birthday parties? Family dinner? A picky toddler?
As my business mentor Marie Forleo says, they are all “figureoutable.”
Sure of your problems but not of the solution? Join us over at The Healthy Moms Meetup and talk with other moms in the same place,