Help with breaking Junk-Food dependency
If our children become accustomed to the strong flavours and high calories in heavily processed junk-foods then it often becomes more difficult for them to appreciate the subtle flavours of homemade plant foods. If we limit their access to overly sweetened, salted or fatty foods, their palate quickly adjusts, and other foods soon taste better. Junk food also takes up the limited space in our children's stomachs, space which could be used to provide nourishment through wholesome whole foods. Junk food could also be adding lots of undesirable ingredients into our children's bellies with junk food often being ridden with unhealthy fats, preservatives, and refined sugar. It is for this, amongst other reasons that treats should be limited to a once in a while affair (if at all), instead of a frequent snack.
Make a list of the junk foods that your children love to eat. For each junk-food, list what healthy food you can replace it with. Raisins for chewy sweets? Date and nut balls for sweets? Smoothies for milkshakes? Nut butter and banana crackers for chocolate? Salted nuts and seeds for chips? Refer to the recipe section for more ideas such as chocolate mousse etc.
Don't keep junk snacks within access of your child (or better yet, don't keep a junk food stash at all) - then you can control when your children have access to these foods. Most of us would not choose a fruit over a chocolate bar, so it is unlikely that our children would be able to exercise the discipline needed to make that choice too - so you, with your superior knowledge and reasoning, can go ahead and make that choice for them.
When leaving the house, always pack healthy snacks or a meal for your children. Nuts, bananas, apples, berries or other fruits are perfect on the go snacks.
Feed your children a nutrient-dense, fibre-rich, balanced diet, which will help to curb cravings for calorie-dense junk food.
Cook more often. Cooking from scratch enables us to control the ingredients that fill up our children's bellies. Have simple back-up meals planned (such as avocado on toast) for those times that cooking is not possible.
Cutting out junk food shouldn't have to mean never indulging in take-out or a restaurant meal; it may just mean choosing healthier meals when we are eating out. There are many health food outlets popping up, catering to the health conscious consumer.
By experience, many of us know sugar to be addictive. The effects of addictions are more severe than regular dependencies; you may notice that your children are craving sugar and are depressive when it is withheld. This may mean cutting down sugar gradually. To do this effectively, try the following steps:
Step 1: Cut down processed foods that contain added sugar, and prepare home-made substitutes.
Step 2: Use unrefined sugar in your home-made foods instead of the heavily processed and refined equivalents. Demarara sugar and Jaggery are examples of unrefined sugar.
Step 3: Incrementally reduce the amount of sugar used. It helps to add sweet fruits to baked goods and breakfasts to increase sweetness naturally (refer to the recipe section for ideas).
Step 4: The sugar cravings should subside in time if you stick to the incremental decrease till only a minimal amount of sugar is used per day.
Written by Natasha Subbiah
Happiness Through Spirituality
When you need to make sense of your world and how you fit into it, when your happiness becomes your priority, Unity Mama can assist you with an philosophy that stitches together the pieces of the puzzle, from several major religions of our world - to map the highest path to the highest goal - happiness!