Once upon a time, when we roamed the earth as cave men and women we would have discovered sugar cane. Back then we would have dug the plant from the ground and sucked on the roots for an energy boost. Otherwise if we wanted sweetness in our foods we would have eaten fruit. For thousands of years we would have survived quite happily this way.
In the early 1950s after the second world war, package foods started to become more readily available and our eating habits began to change a lot. People no longer had to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. Many foods became products like sauces, stocks, biscuits, cakes and there were more tinned foods. Packet foods were easily accessible for a lot more people.
Although, it’s great that more people are able to spend less time in the kitchen, the invention of packet foods has meant more sugar has been used in our foods to preserve them. Refined sugar and salt act as preservatives for many of the processed foods that are on our supermarket shelves.
However, excess sugar and salt can be very harmful not only to ourselves but to our children as well. Many studies now suggest that excess sugar can contribute to attention deficit disorder (ADD), difficulty concentrating, tooth decay, obesity and strange behaviour. Sugar can also weaken the immune system. It can act like poison and it can deplete the body of essential vitamins and minerals it needs to function.
Since becoming a mother over four years ago I have wanted nothing more than for my child to grow up big and strong. In a world where we are surrounded by packet food I have found this increasingly difficult. It’s not easy to navigate your way around a supermarket when there is temptation on every isle end or so it seems. I don’t want to stop taking my child shopping because this is where he will learn where we get our food from. Also that it’s a household chore that needs to be done like the washing and the ironing.
So I continue to take him as I want to learn from these experiences. Nowadays I have discovered ways to ensure we don’t walk from the till with excess foods in our trolley. The first thing I do is make a menu for the week ahead. So I plan the meals and then make a shopping list from the menu. It means we don’t spend hours wandering round the supermarket thinking about what to eat. Instead we go to the supermarket with a list of what is needed.
Occasionally we will stray from the list, especially if my husband is with us but most of the time we only buy what we need for the week. As I no longer eat processed foods and I try to make everything from scratch. It means we don’t tend to go down the isle with biscuits and cakes in. I try to skip past these as I have noticed the bright colours on the packets grab my son Ted’s attention. If we have to go down these isles for any reason I try to explain to him why these products may not be the best for our bodies.
We also try not to have sweet sugary treats in the house. I make my own treats with lots of healthy ingredients. I still use sugar but I choose to use less processed sugar like maple syrup or honey when I’m making them. When Ted comes home from school with a bag of sweets I don’t ban him from having them. I let him eat the sweets but I wouldn’t buy them as a treat for the family.
When shopping I always get the healthier options for his treats. So the products that don’t have any chemical nasties or refined sugars in. I have noticed that if he is offered commercial cakes or biscuits then he will eat them but he won’t eat lots of it. He tends to always leave a bit of the cake or biscuit he’s been offered. I feel as Ted does not have these products on a daily basis he realises they aren’t great for his body.
As a stay at home mum, I realise that I’m lucky to be able to cook my son home cooked meals every day. I know there are people who don’t have the time to cook everything from scratch. So therefore, tend to rely on processed and package foods from the supermarket. However, I find that when I’m prepared for meal times I’m much better able to cope with any situation that may arise. For me nothing beats home cooking to make sure my son grow up big and strong.