Know how to make kids disappear? Tell them there's a new food documentary you want them to watch.
Know how to make kids eat better? Make them actually watch the food documentary.
That and consistently modeling better eating habits for them. And that is the tricky part. Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You get to a point where your weight and your energy levels are way off, so you vow to eat better. You binge eat the last of the "bad" food (because you can't waste anything) and then you restock the fridge and cupboards with everything green. You begin to obsessively measure all of your ingredients and make everything from scratch. One day, you're late making dinner, so you say, "Okay kids... how about drive-thru?" Your kids scream and cheer and celebrate their reprieve. The next day, you wake up a little bloated, but you think, "It was just one day... we'll make up for it today." That week, is crazy busy and you end up serving a few more last minute meals, either store bought pre-packaged heat-and-eat or back to the drive-thru. Pretty soon, you're off the greens and lean meats and back to the "bad" food.
Merry-Go-Rounds are fun the first few spins around... until you start to feel a little sick. Going around and around on these good-food-bad-food spins will make you sick, too. Either sick of the bad food or sick of trying. But you have to try because you have little ones watching you and mirroring your behaviors. You also have that vessel you're walking around in and you might want to be good to it so that you can live a long healthy life. So how do you stay on the path of making better choices for yourself and being a better example for your family?
Feed yourself more information.
I have a library of movies that I watch over and over to remind me why I need to stay away from the quick fix, and just added a new one to the mix. These films help keep me in check. It's a lot easier to maintain a better way of eating if the whole family buys into the process, so I make the kids watch the documentaries with me, at least once. They're getting older, and they're finally starting to grasp the concepts and really understand why it is I say no to a lot of the tempting treats marketed to us. They don't like it, but they don't whine about it quite so much anymore. They know what's at stake.
A couple of weeks ago, we were watching the new food doc, "Fed Up" on Netflix. The film goes into the reasons behind our obesity epidemic and why it isn't just about calories-in-calories-out anymore. There's a lot more going on in our processed foods than most people understand. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend you do. At one point in the film, someone was explaining why it's important to fill half a plate up with greens. My daughter looked up and said, "Mom, you do that." I smiled with pride...
But then I remembered how recently we had fallen off the good-eating wagon, and my hand came back down to earth before patting myself on my own back.
I have to feed myself with information all the time to keep from making bad decisions in the grocery aisles or to make sure I guard myself with a meal plan so that I'm not making a $5 Pizza Pizza run. The closer I am to watching a food doc, the less likely I am to make a bad decision so that I can keep nourishing myself and my family with good calories. Want to know my not-so-secret weapons?
Here's my arsenal:
Hungry for Change
Filmmakers James Colquhoun, Laurentine Ten Bosch and Carlo Ledesma expose the diet industry's deceptive strategies designed to keep people from losing and keeping off weight. This film follows several people, including my favorite juice evangelist, Kris Carr.
This is one of my favorites. Authors Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan offer insight into the food industry in America, including how food is produced. The film really blows the lid off of anything you ever thought you knew about the food industry. You'll find yourself being a lot pickier about where and from whom you buy your food.
My new favorite. Filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and journalist Katie Couric investigate how the American food industry may be responsible for more sickness than previously realized. They pose a great question: If more people are working out, how are we more obese? You'll be fed up by the end of this movie, trust me.
Chew on This
This one's not a film, but a collection of 14 TED Talks, one as short as four minutes, most 15 minutes or so. Think of them as food shorts. My favorite one is Jamie Oliver (Food Revolution) and his visual aid on how much sugar a kids consumes in a year. Watch it. You'll be shocked.
This one is more political than nutritional. If you want to support companies that treat their people well, this one's a good one to watch.
Of course, all of these can be found streaming on Netflix. So next time you reach for the phone to order a pizza, reach for the remote instead. Feed yourself with information and go forth to make better decisions for yourself and your family.