The transition from the American diet to real foods can be difficult especially when kids are involved. Some families can just make the jump cold turkey, but not us. We prefer the evolution method.
And according to the dictionary, evolution is “A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. The process of developing. Gradual development.”
I am going to take you through our family’s evolution of the waffle so that you can see the different steps it can take to get to healthy foods. Hopefully, you will be able to apply this very specific example to your general menu.
Not so long ago, I bought frozen Eggo waffles for my kids. I would pop them in the toaster and we would put Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup on them. That would be their breakfast.
As I moved away from white flour to wheat flour, I switched to the whole wheat or high fiber frozen Eggos. I figured that was better than the enriched white flour at least. We still topped our wheat waffles with Mrs. Butterworth or Aunt Jamima (one of those ladies).
Somewhere on the road to health, I convinced some of the kids to try peanut butter on their waffles. I figured at least peanut butter had protein and fiber in it. But our peanut butter was just good old Skippy- hydrogentated vegetable oils and all.
Then I started reading about processed foods and realized that it was time for me to make a whole wheat waffle from scratch instead of the processed versions I was buying. The frozen quickies at the store just had too many ingredients in them.
I found a recipe that had all real ingredients and looked good, but I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients and tools. So I had to go buy myself some coconut oil and a waffle iron.
The first week with the homemade whole wheat waffle Crew’s response was, “I just want my Eggos back.”
After cooking for 30 minutes in the kitchen and a huge mess to clean up, I responded back, “I want your Eggos back too, buddy.” Popping those babies in the toaster 4 at a time is a heck of lot faster than tackling the sticky honey and measuring out cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder and waiting for the red light to turn green.
But I carried on.
It took about 3 weeks of the kids’ complaining about the taste and me figuring out the recipe and my kitchen zones before Wednesday mornings perked up again.
After we were all comfortable with the homemade whole wheat waffle, we moved to the half and half method with our peanut butter. (Unless, of course, you are Chad who keeps his jar of Skippy hidden in the deep recesses of the pantry.)
The kids now actually like the waffles. I may have even heard “Yum! These are so good” once. The next step in our evolution of the waffle is the conversion to pure peanut butter.
See where we have been and how far we have come!
I didn’t outline the evolution of the waffle to bore you with intricate details of our waffle life, rather I outlined the evolution so that you can see the baby steps you can take to improving your family’s nutrition. I don’t think my kids would have gone right from frozen Eggos to homemade whole wheat waffles without some of the intermediary steps. I slowly lured them away from the processed junk we were used to and allowed time for their taste buds to adapt.
But perhaps the real reason for the slow evolution is that I needed to get comfortable with the ideas as well. I needed to adapt to the taste of whole wheat myself; I needed to ease into baking from scratch in the mornings; I needed to adapt my schedule to the extra time real foods take. For me, if I change everything too quickly, I get overwhelmed and regress or give up.
I prefer to make steady, slow, sustainable changes.
With those changes more than just our waffles have evolved. Our pizza, our spaghetti, our smoothies, our eggs, our macaroni, our banana bread, our bread, our yogurt, our snacks, our breakfasts, our lunches, our dinners, etc. etc. have all progressed. Some were quick, easy transitions and some took longer like our waffles. We are in the “process of developing to a better form” and we will continue that evolution.