Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Mom's Food Manifesto: Ten Simple Ways We Can Change the Food System

Not to get all “Gloria Steinem” on you all here, but women pretty well hold the power to changing the world, or at least our food system.

Whenever I am stunned by some appalling childhood obesity statistic, or food access issue, or even the mind-boggling sum that is spent annually marketing junk food to our kids, I take a deep breath. And I remember a few helpful things:

I remember that we women rock a few impressive numbers ourselves.

We make 93 percent of food purchase decisions for our families (meaning the foods we purchase to serve at home). Yep, even with the kids nagging us, it’s still our decision.

As nutritional gatekeepers, we control at least 70 percent of the foods our families eat. While our kids may make other choices at school lunch, or out with friends, or by other parents after a soccer game, our share ends up being nearly three-quarters of the food choices.

I remember that all those companies are nothing without our consumer dollars.

While “vote with your fork” is probably one of the least democratic polls we can have in our country due to economics and food access, for those of us who can choose our foods, it is a pretty amazing power. The hope is that we choose wisely and the food system as a whole becomes healthier for all.

I also remember, that its not easy to know which choices are best.

This is deliberate, too. Labels are confusing and misleading. Things that are NOT labeled (and should be) are confusing. After over a decade of trying to figure out the food system, I basically have arrived at Ten Simple Rules — A Mom’s Food Manifesto — for making good food choices.

Here it is. Please share it, at will, with others if you like them. And go wield your awesome powers, Moms. We can win this war.

As far as the rest of our superpowers go? We can take on the rest of the world once we know our kids are eating healthy.

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