I believe that good nutrition is a vital part of being a motivated homeschooler and I bet you do, too. The problem we typically have is that shopping for and preparing healthy meals is time-consuming. Then there’s the issue of dealing with picky palettes. As a fellow traveler on the road to healthier eating, here are some of my motivators that might help you overcome your good eating obstacles:
- Ditch denial. Just Google the risks of childhood obesity and you should have a harder time pulling into the fast food drive through today. Read up on the health risks of eating too much sugar and fat and too little fiber and you’ll have an easier time making your way to the kitchen.
- Start small. I’ve given extreme eating and cooking a good try and I can tell you it’s not the best approach. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be an all or nothing phenomena. In fact, the most fit and energetic people I know are not food extremists. Making one food from scratch a week that has no preservatives or artificial additives is a great start!
- Take time. I won’t lie to you. Healthier eating DOES take more time. But I think it’s well worth the investment. Consider and pray about which areas you could take time from to allow you to provide better meals for you and your family.
- Add alternates. Rather than clear your pantry of all the unhealthy foods your family loves, introduce alternatives first. Once the good food is accepted, they’ll have an easy time letting the junk food go.
- Request ratings. If you come at your family like a drill sergeant, insisting they give up their favorite foods (or die!), your efforts will be for naught. Instead, help your family feel a part of the process by asking them to rate new recipes. If the majority do not like something, respect them and try something else.
- Try teaching. You already know that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Why not study healthier eating with your kids? Use the opportunity to give your kids an education in health, math (measuring), and practical arts (cooking). My kids studied Eat This, Not That for Kids religiously with no prompting from me.
- Ease expectations. Even starting small, it’s easy to expect that we ought to be making all our own bread, canning our own veggies, and when we really get crazy we think we ought to be making our own cheeses, too! It’s OK to use some packaged foods and even to choose the lesser of two evils when it comes to eating.
- Honor hunger. Because our number one nutritional problem isn’t vitamin deficiency or even pesticide side effects, but being overweight, remember that one of the healthiest things we can do is not overeat. God gave us hunger and satiation so we wouldn’t have to weigh and measure our food. Honor it and you’ll surely be healthier than if you don’t.
- Prepare portions. The easier you make it for you and your family to eat healthy meals, the more likely your nutrition will improve. Consider making breakfast for the next day as you prepare dinner. Cut up fruits and veggies after a grocery trip and consider using a fun presentation to make them more palatable to the kids. Double dinners and freeze one. Prepare what you can in advance. For example, brown all your ground beef and freeze it in dinner-size portions for a quick staple during the week.
- Enjoy esteem. If you’re anything like me, cooking just seems like a lot of work! What I didn’t realize until recently is that it’s also a great way to get the thanks and praise that so seems lacking in our homeschool. My kids and husband have been singing my praises as I’ve been making new, delicious, and healthier recipes.
- Make memories. My mother’s home cooking comprises some of my favorite childhood memories. I doubt that our children will have similar memories of fast food or prepackaged chicken nuggets and fries. As I was writing this post, my son came in and saw my cinnamon rolls and exclaimed, “Those are so awesome!” While they aren’t the healthiest fare (and you wouldn’t want to eat them every day!), they do make wonderful memories.
Want even more healthy eating motivation? Follow me at Wonder Women where I will be regularly posting my food forays.