Make a Difference Mondays: Choose Food that Makes You Happy

According to a new survey released today by consumer-focused information site BIGinsight, 24% of McDonald’s customers rate themselves as “totally or regularly unhappy.” Another 30% say they do not lead happy lives.

With more and more studies coming out showing exactly how important our diet is our physical, mental and emotional health…  Well, take today to Make A Difference in the way you and your family eat. You might be happily suprised with the results.

Meatless Mondays

Meatless Mondays is an idea/organization that started in 2003 to help  Americans live a more meat free life. With all of the health and social issues tied up in consuming meat (cruelty, health, natural resources use, methane gas issues), there is definitely a reason for anyone to get behind the idea of taking one day a week off from consuming animals. This site is filled with recipes, cookbooks, clubs, and support groups to help you make the switch.

Get Your Day Started with the Right Kind of Carbs

Carbs release a chemical in the brain that helps us produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you relax and cope with daily stress.  Carbs that are high in fiber and whole grains that break down more slowly will help you feel happy and relaxed longer, without causing the big crash associated with refined carbs and sugars. Starting your day with a bowl of Steel Cut Oats topped with warm milk, almonds/walnuts, and some dried cranberries is a sure fire way to have you feeling great all morning long.

Keep Your Kids Interested by Making it Fun

We all know the daily struggle many parents have getting their kids to eat healthier amd finish all their vegetables. One easy way to keep them interested is by packaging their lunches in a fun new way that makes eating veggies into something fun. Multi-compatment “lunchable” style plasticware is now available all over. Make a healthier alternative for you child buy filling them with carrots, “ants on a log” (celery, peanut butter and raisins), nuts, dried fruit, cherry tomatoes, grapes, or a hardboiled egg. If you want to take it up a notch try your hand at some amazing Bento Box creations, many Japanese parents turn healthy food into favorite cartoons, animals, and fantasy characters (see picture). By giving child the healthiest lunch possible in an engaging way, you can rest assured your child is getting the most out of their afternoon classes.

Ask for Feedback, Then Give Them What They Want

Sometimes it’s that simple. We all get stuck in the rut of buying the same shopping list over and over. My parents bought apples every week for years and years, only for them to go spoil. Finally when my Mom asked why I never ate them, I told her simply that I preferred oranges. You might be suprised how much more open your family can be to trying new foods if they feel they got a hand in choosing it.

Fruit of The Week

Growing up in Oklahoma, we didn’t get a chance to really see much specialty or exotic foods around town. One of the things my parents did that really shaped my opinions of foods growing up was to take us to the one Specialty Food Store in town and allow us to pick out an exotic fruit or vegetable or product once a week. We loved these days. Not only was it exciting to try something new, but it was also a privilege to be given a small amount of money ($3 each) and allowed to make our own decisions. Some weeks we had to get a vegetable or a fruit, others we were allowed to get a frozen, boxed or canned product as long as it wasn’t “junk food or candy”.

Spend a Morning at the Farmer’s Market

Taking a trip to the local Farmer’s Market is a great way to feel good about your food. This can also be a great way to get the family out of the house on the weekends without spending a ton of money! Not only can you buy amazing, local, and fresh produce for way less than what you see in the grocery store, but you also get all the added benefits of supporting your local farmers and food artisans. You can try amazing samples and hear stories straight from the farmer’s mouth as well as experience great camaraderie while ogling at eggplants and moaning over mangos with fellow food lovers in your city!