New Year’s healthy food resolutions: some are here to be stay and some are already forgotten. If your resolution is “healthier eating for my family” it sounds wonderful, but huge. Where do you begin? Do you start off being all vegan and then get really hungry by January 10th, buy a box of candy with hydrogenated corn syrup and eat yourself into oblivion?
Try these easy healthy changes in your family’s eating this year: they are not hard to implement, yet their results will last for a very long time if not forever!
1. Add vegetables to every dinner you make. Making mac and cheese? Add shredded cauliflower. Making burgers? Blend some carrots and celery and add to your patties. Making a casserole ? Stick a bunch of veggies in there! Making an omelet? Saute some kale leaves. Pizza? If your family is picky, make your own tomato sauce and blend a bunch of vegetables in there. If they are not picky, just add vegetables on top. Every dish can have a side salad or some vegetables blended in there. Here’s more suggestions of how to make your kids eat more vegetables . Try my pumpkin mac and cheese , too.
2. Replace breakfast cereal with something more health-conducive. Breakfast cereals, even the organic ones are made of processed grain with added vitamins: your kids are not getting any healthier eating this stuff. Maybe because of all of these “dead” calories most kids need a snack 2 hours after their breakfast. Make your kids some eggs, or try a bowl of steel-cut oats with almond milk; feed them leftovers from last night’s dinner. For the more adventurous among us, there is chia porridge . Apple pie-baked oatmeal is nice for special occasions. Read this post about why breakfast cereal is junk.
3. Remove food coloring from your menu. Yes, I know. It’s just one cookie for her birthday and just two cupcakes for the nephew’s birthday and a few pieces of candy here and there. Food coloring is poison. It’s been scientifically linked to cancers, tumors, hyperactivity and ADD. It can ruin the child’s health even when taken in small doses. Read more about the dangers of food coloring here. Learn how to make your own natural food coloring here.
5. Make real food. I have tons of recipes on this site of how to do this in under 20 minutes! There is no reason to buy boxed food with additives and GMOS and there is no reason to buy organic frozen food, as it is a more expensive version of junk. Fresh food is full of life, full of energy. Try this rule 3 times a week at first and see how your family reacts.
6. If you eat meat, try very hard to find a local supplier of clean meat. Commercially raised meat is full of hormones, antibiotics and can only make your family sick over time. Commercially raised cattle eats a blend of genetically modified soy and wheat; it does not graze on grass and hardly moves a muscle, until it’s slaughtered. Commercially raised chickens and turkeys eat the same GMO- laden diet and can’t move even an inch, before they are slaughtered. To keep animals disease-free in these conditions, they are fed massive doses of antibiotics, which are later going into your kids, who eat this “food.” These animals are also fed growth hormones to make them grow faster than they are naturally supposed to.
Your local farmer will probably proudly show you their grazing cattle and their chickens, running all over the farm. They will tell you ( and show you) what their animals eat. Organic meats are a better alternative to commercially produced meats, but local is fresher and usually less expensive. Plus, you have a chance to see with your own eyes what are you actually eating.
7. Try to find a source for wild-caught fish, if you eat fish. Commercially raised fish is raised in pens close to the sea. They put too many fish in these pens. In order to prevent disease and to combat the unsanitary conditions, they put a lot of antibiotics in these pens. Commercially raised fish is fed “fish meal” that can be polluted with toxic PCB chemicals and awash in excrement flushed out to sea. A 2003 report by the EWG showed that farmed salmon in the U.S. has the highest levels of PCBs, toxic man-made chemicals.
8. Try to find a source for local free-range eggs, if you eat eggs. A truly “free range egg” is an egg that came from a free-roaming hen. Large commercial egg facilities usually house tens of thousands of hens and can even go up to hundreds of thousands of hens. These facilities cannot let their hens roam free. Hens are raised in inhumane conditions, debeaked and fed a terrible diet of genetically modified food, mixed with antibiotics. Do you want to feed this stuff to your family?
Mother Earth News recently finished their egg-testing project, which confirmed their earlier 2005 test results that showed true free-range eggs are far more nutritious than commercially raised eggs. “True free range” means “eggs from hens that can run free on good-sized chunks of land, find bugs and grains to eat.” Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on this type of pasture usually contain:
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
5 times more Vitamin D
7 times more beta carotene
A lot of eggs labeled “free range” at the supermarket are not actually free range. The United States Department of Agriculture defines “free-range” as hens that have “access to the outside.” However, it does not say anything about their diets, and what this “outside” really means. It can be a 1 square foot chunk of concrete the hens are allowed to walk on once a day for 15 minutes.
What about your organic eggs from the supermarket? To qualify as organic, eggs must come from chickens that are fed only organic feed, which is a feed that is free of animal by-products, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or other chemical additives. No genetically modified foods can be used. Organic eggs must come from chickens that are given antibiotics only in the event of an infection.Organic eggs must come from chickens that live in a cage-free environment and have access to the outdoors.Their outdoor area, however, can be a small pen or an enclosed yard.
Your local free-range hen spends her time eating real healthy food and exercising. You organic hen from the supermarket eats ok food without GMOs and is allowed to walk a little. Which hen would lay a healthier egg?
If you are having trouble answering this question, cook both types of eggs and see how their taste is completely different. See how your local egg yolk is bright and orange and your organic yolk from the supermarket is dull and yellow.
Are local free-range eggs more expensive? Yes, but they are worth it. You need to eat 5 regular eggs to get the vitamin D of just one local free-range egg!
To locate a free-range pasture farm, try web search, ask health-conscious friends or check out the these listings: