Last year, during Lent, I challenged my son to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables every day. It was wonderfully successful. I saw visible improvements to his health (which had been of the sniffy nose variety for weeks), and even after we stopped, he continued to make healthier choices.
But as the year has come and gone, his diet has been gravitating back to the starches with fewer fresh foods, so I decided to make a new challenge. If he eats 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables every day of the week, on Sunday we will have a sweet breakfast.
Our favorite sweet breakfast include sticky buns (made with whole wheat flour and maple syrup), coffee cake (I use whole wheat again and leave the sugar out of the bread part and just use it for the topping. I also use a different topping recipe because the one with the vegan coffee cake recipe that I linked to isn’t very good), donuts (whole wheat, sweetened with maple syrup), raspberry whole wheat sweet rolls (I just use my regular bread recipe with a cream cheese icing), and that’s about all I can think of at the moment.
Our Sunday sweet breakfast include real food that must be eaten before the junk food, and I try to make my versions of these as healthy as possible.
My main reason for doing these challenges is to obvious get him to eat healthier, but it’s also to change his food preferences. What we eat is largely a matter of habit. If we can trick ourselves into changes our habits, our food preferences will change. We will come to enjoy our new foods.
That is also the reason why I never buy white bread or bake with white flour. People that are raised on white bread (or white rice) end up preferring these bland, fluffy counterparts of the real food. My mother always gave us whole grains and baked whole wheat muffins. My dad made whole grain pancakes with seeds and a variety of flours, and all of us loved them.
White bread and white sugar foods will always be appealing to our tastes, no matter what we are raised on. But if you raise a kid on whole foods, they will keep a taste for them their whole lives, regardless of how they change their diet when they are grown.
So, who wants to join the challenge? How many fruits and vegetables do your kids eat on a daily basis? How many fruits and vegetables do YOU eat on a daily basis? Odds are both could be improved. It’s getting into farmer’s market season. We’ll get our first CSA box next week courtesy of Amish farmers plowing with draft horses (how cool is that?).