If you can't get past the field step—and my suspicion is that you won't—perhaps the unknown of how your food was created will make you stop and put something fresh and original together. Put your own spin on it. Know where each ingredient came from, why you selected it and how you are going to use it. Chances are it will be cheaper, too, especially when produced in bulk. The more reason we give food suppliers to make healthful food available to us at affordable prices, the more incentive they'll have to make it happen.
Get your kids involved too! Summer is just around the corner, and one of our favorite family traditions in every season is to visit pick-your-own farms. There are four kids in my family, and we all love to be able to spend a couple hours in the field, next to the dirt and earth, collecting bushels of fresh strawberries (probably as many eaten as picked, in my case—I'm a total fiend), blueberries, corn, potatoes, squash, sweet peas, tomatoes, apples...the list goes on and on. Kids experience such a special feeling when they know not only where their food comes from, but how much better the freshness tastes. And, again, picking your own cuts out labor and transportation costs, meaning less expense to you.
Oftentimes, we'll plan a menu as a family. My brother might plan the appetizer while my sisters and I get started on side dishes and my mom does the main (my dad pours water very well). It's not only a really fun way to spend time together, it also lets us each feel involved in the process of choosing foods that feed our bodies the valuable nutrients so many prepackaged meals leave out. Getting to experiment with new cuisines taught us each from a young age how to make even the blandest vegetables taste good. Give them responsibility, and your children will impress you (I think that rule applies to more than just eating well, by the way).
Next, it's time to impress yourself: You have the responsibility and the power to make a change for the better. Let's spread the word!
Share your ideas on consumer power below!
Daphne Oz is the author of the national best-seller The Dorm Room Diet—which will be expanded and republished in July 2010—and The Dorm Room Diet Planner and creator of the Dorm Room Diet Workout DVD.
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