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Friday, April 20, 2012

Do you think there is good food & bad food?

To rephrase the old line, I might ask if you agree that "there is no bad food, only bad eaters."
Sweet, sweet honey sticks!
In general we eat pretty healthy. We take our kids to farmer's markets and recently ate our way through Pittsburgh's Farm to Table Conference.  

They chomped down on vinegar candy, pickled turnips and beets, organic apples and milk, and of course enjoyed more than a few honey sticks. 

This conference was chock-full of healthy choices for our family to explore.  A week or so later our first box from Penn's Corner CSA arrived. Although we are attempting to cultivate an adventurous attitude in our boys they wouldn't try the bok choy even though the recipe my husband picked was killer good! They complained slightly about the smell of ramps with fried potatoes. I'm waiting to hear their objections to the mashed turnips that will soon appear on the menu. 

My husband and I know the local, fresh food is so much better for all of us, so we get both a gastronomical and theoretical satisfaction out of these choices. But as Richard Placentini, director of Let's Move Pittsburgh! said to me a few weeks ago,"there’s a whole industry dedicated to figuring out what additives to spray on food to stimulate taste buds. It’s so hard for good food to compete with that engineered food."

That's what I'm up against as a mom...and as a Doritos-lover.

How do I teach my kids (and myself) to seek out the healthy food and choose it over the processed food?

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to interview Richard, who is based out of  Phipps Conservatory

Let's Move Pittsburgh! focuses on kids ages birth to age 8 in Allegheny County and hopes to work with key influencers to educate parents, childcare providers and kids about healthy and not-so-healthy choices. They even mention being aware of screen time, a challenge for our entire family

Grow to love fresh produce!
"Everybody’s totally confused about what’s good and not good," said Richard. 

I can sympathize with that statement. Do you know the difference between whole grain and whole wheat? Should you choose foods with reduced sugar if it means the company has used a sugar substitute? 

Richard knows they can't just go around telling people what to eat or what not to eat. But Let's Move Pittsburgh! is trying to provide people with a reliable source of good information. Phipps is a perfect home base for this project since it provide fun, pleasant experiences for kids in their vegetable garden and play farmer's market. The hope is that kids will try more fruits and vegetables if they are familiar with them.

At a recent hog butchering at Cure, I made myself a promise to find and support more local food options. I'm doing ok so far.

We've always taken our kids to farmer's markets.
We're doing our second summer CSA, this time with Penn's Corner.
We're finally starting a garden in our third summer at this house.

This actions all make me feel really good, like I'm living up to my commitment to provide my family with good food.

But I'm not going to lie - I'm not perfect. Because even when I get excited  that  my four year old asked "can we buy eggplant?" I still tear through a bag of Fritos and snarl when my kids ask for one.

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