1. Involve the kids in gardening. It's totally easier to get stuff done in the yard when the kids AREN'T around. Particularly the little one. Our older girl goes to school, Girl Scouts, piano lessons, and more, so while she's a good helper in the garden, she has no time. But I think it's more important to have the kids participate than it is to be productive (to a certain extent). There's a balancing act to be done there because I also want to actually grow food in the garden so the kids can pick it and taste it and observe how food grows. But I want them to be involved enough so they at least understand the process, that we DID SOMETHING (planted seeds, watered, weeded, composted) to make that food appear in our yard.
2. Involve the kids in cooking. Not just regular meals too, but also kitchen "experiments" like making sprouts, cheese, yogurt, sauerkrat, bread, etc.
3. Don't eat out when I've got food at home in the fridge. This costs money and wastes food, and usually it results in a less healthy meal. Yet I do it more often than I should.
4. Drink more tea. A ridiculous amount of cabinet space is taken up by various teas I've collected over the years, and I just got a new kettle for Christmas. Better use it!
5. Eat less added sugar. This could also be phrased as "eat less junk." I've got a sweet tooth, plain and simple. I think I eat more sugar than I'm supposed to. Well, we probably all do. But that doesn't make it right.
6. Pack food with me if I'm going somewhere that doesn't have healthy food. This always gets me. You end up somewhere, you're hungry, and the best thing you can find to eat is a pastry at Starbucks. I don't even LIKE the pastries at Starbucks... but I eat 'em.
7. Make the kids eat BEFORE they go somewhere with junk food. The "pack healthy food" idea totally dies when the kids come along. They don't want that boring old sandwich you brought for them. They want a "treat." Better to fill 'em up beforehand. (However, packing food is still a good contingency, so you have a good reason to say NO to McDonalds.)
8. Teach our older daughter a little bit about food. This is kind of tricky as I don't want to totally wreck her innocence. But she lives with us only half the time and she's old enough that she can speak up when she's not with us to say "That has HFCS and I don't want to eat it" or "Here's a type of tuna that has less mercury," etc. IF she's so inclined, that is. Thus far I haven't seen any evidence that she cares about that sort of thing, but she also doesn't know much about it.
What are your resolutions?
Here are some ideas:
- Give up some of the worst seafoods (swordfish, bluefin tuna, shark, etc.)
- Eat less meat. Define this however it works best for you, whether it's no meat for breakfast, meatless Mondays, one meat meal a week, vegan before 6pm, or even going vegetarian. Even one less meal of meat per week makes a difference.
- NO MORE HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Now the science is REALLY in. It's bad stuff, plain and simple.
- Skip on the sodas. They aren't good for you and they make you gain weight. If you have to have 'em (even once in a while as a treat) go for the ones with pure cane sugar instead of HFCS. (Even I can't resist a VERY occasional rootbeer float... it's like a once a year treat for me but oh I love them!)
- Get to know a farmer. Visit their farm. Learn about what they care about. Are they seeing impacts of global warming? Are they frustrated with government policies? Do they have a hard time making a profit? And if they are profitable, how are they doing it?
- Start a worm bin or a compost bin.
- Get involved in local politics to change a law that makes no sense. For example, try to legalize backyard chickens. Or reform the local policy about community gardens.
- Eat local, heritage breed meats for your big holiday meals in 2010. You might not be able to afford this on a regular basis, but for a holiday it might be worth the splurge.