Not only do we have chickens but I try to teach my kids life lessons about everything including nutrition and a healthy diet. I am a HUGE Jamie Oliver fan – my kids and I have learned so much from him, his magazine (if you haven’t read it you simply must), and his shows. Education is the key to making things better. Here are some thoughts on teaching my kids while they’re young.
I was talking with my 6 kids yesterday over our Fourth of July holiday dinner. We had spare ribs, mussels, clams, corn on the cob, cole slaw and raw carrots. Enough to fill us up, not enough to make us stuffed.
Missing were the chips, dips, soda, and sugary sides so commonly found at holiday BBQ’s along with the the unlimited amounts of food. We were each served a reasonable portion which we enjoyed while having family discussions. Those who wanted more served themselves, those who didn’t finished and stayed around for the company and conversation.
At one point the talk turned to our diets. Since we first saw “Super-size Me” we haven’t stepped foot in a fast food restaurant. My kids asked me why it took a movie for me to move them away from fast food. My answer was that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just hadn’t known how dangerous pre-processed food like that could be (I had trusted the food industry) and once I learned otherwise I changed my ways.
The same goes with their school lunches. I made all of my kids watch Jamie’s first Food Revolution show. Because of the show we started having conversations about school lunches and for the first time I started to really look at what my kids were being served. As a result my kids started to pack their own lunches to take to school.
My kids wanted to know why I hadn’t made them do this earlier and why it took a TV show for me to change. My answer was that again, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had trusted other people to tell me (sell me) what I should feed my kids. Shame on me.
It’s not that I’m stupid, or wasn’t paying attention, it’s that I thought that others were holding up their end of the bargain with regard to safety and nutrition for children. It hadn’t occurred to me to doubt what others were feeding my kids at school (after all, one of the major rules at any school is to make sure that everyone is safe – right?).
Since Food Revolution we’ve tried many of the recipes in Jamie’s cookbook. It turns out my kids love food made with fresh ingredients. They love the addition of herbs from our garden. They don’t miss pre-processed food a bit (in fact, over the years they have slowly lost their taste for it completely).
We’ve even started to raise chickens in our backyard and now have a never-ending supply of fresh, clean eggs. My kids are learning about the value of food in our diets and lives.
Little by little as we learn more and more we are changing.
As a parent I’ve realized that the best gifts I can give my children are not the latest fashion accessories or even new electronic toys, it’s the ability to learn and adapt – the skill to challenge what they’ve previously held as a belief to see if it holds up. If it does then bravo, continue, but if it doesn’t then change what you are doing to something that is better.
Shows like Jamie’s Food Revolution does just that by giving us the opportunity to educate ourselves, challenge our beliefs, and to grow as we make changes to the way we do things and not continuing just because “that the way it’s always been done.” Shows like Food Revolution allows us to learn what it is we don’t know so that now we can know and move forward.