Hi everyone and please click on the title of this post to read more. Well, I had some food experiences this week that made me realize how much my own thinking regarding healthy eating and healthy modeling has been affected by the lousy economy. I started off the weekend feeling all virtuous about the fact that I brought my older daughter and some friends to my favorite Thai restaurant for the Thai new year celebration with live Thai dancing (including dancing by my former au pair, seen in the video below).
It pleases me to no end that my daughter can enjoy relatively healthy and reasonably priced chicken satay, that she was being exposed to her friend who tried most of the other Thai dishes, and that we were able to combine a cultural experience with a dinner outing. All good things, right?
Well, fast forward to the next day when the entire family went to the City (the REAL City, Manhattan) where we went to a kid’s play. At the end, as we were departing the theater, I saw a sign that said if we brought our ticket stubs to the McDonalds across the street, we could get free ice cream sundaes.
What a dilemma! Typically, I would have been on my high-anti-McDonalds-campaign-horse and would have snubbed the offer for some other semi-healthier treat. During these tough cash times, however, I calculated, roughly, what it would cost to take 5 kids (we had a friend with us) to go out to ice cream. Needless to say, we opted for the free garbage food and let me tell you, I am glad my kids are not old enough to call me a hypocrite.
Yes, I sold my soul to the devil but also learned a good lesson; My kids did not have a coronary from eating Satan’s food one time. Instead of feeling guilty, I rationalized the situation and do believe that we don’t have to necessarily have an “all or nothing” attitude about the evils of processed or artificial foods. If we do, we could have our well intentioned hard work backfire on us, like my friend Sarah’s experience: Her mother never let her have sugar and she spends her life seeking it out, having felt deprived as a child. She even named her dog “Sugar” for Pete’s sake.
So, yes, it is important to instill good eating habits, to expose kids to different cultures and their foods to broaden their culinary horizons, but it is also not the end of the world if, once in a while, we stray from the vegetables, fruits and whole grains and eat some nasty trans fat, sugary garbage food. Varying it up once in a while can teach our kids about balancing the healthy with the not-so-healthy, with the emphasis on the healthy.
Enjoy the following healthy recipe that was a collaboration between myself and my friend, Linda, who is a great model to her kids in more ways than just eating ;-):
Linda and Alma’s Mango, Avocado Jicama salad:
1/2 large jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4″ cubes (pronounced “hi-ca-MA” and can be bought at Whole Foods or most Asian or Latin food stores)
1 avocado, peeled and cubed into 1/4″ cubes
1 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 to 1 1/2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional-more or less than I used)
olive oil to taste
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and stir together very gently so that the avocado does not get mushy. Enjoy alone or as a side dish for fish or anything from quesadillas to an omelette.