Words to Eat By

Giving credit where it’s due. . . first, I must acknowledge: 
  • The website:  wordstoeatby.blogspot.com, hundreds of recipes, links and discussion of food as it relates to parenting. . . by Debbie Koenig (author of “Parents Need to Eat, too”)   Available January 2012. 
  • The book: Words to Eat By,  Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language, by Ina Lipkowitz.  Tasty tidbits about food and cultural heritage.
  • The article: Michael Pollan’s “Rules to Eat By” in the New York Times Magazine, Oct. 2009.  

Eating my words and digesting them . . . I was cleaning out my electronic files at work the other day.   Rummaging through research for a project to write the exhibit content for a children’s “Nutrition Kitchen” at the Detroit Science Center, I opened a file I had long forgotten -- "Words to Eat By.  Worth Sharing."   

I can’t attest to the originality, nor can I document the source of each “rule” below,  so please take all with a grain of  . . . salt. 
  • Calories count.  But don’t count them.  (This is one of life's most delicious paradoxes, go figure.)  
  • Everything in moderation. Including moderation.   (Oscar Wilde
  • Don't skip (or skimp on) breakfast.  (It's scientifically proven that breakfast is the meal that wakes up your brain, kicks up your metabolism, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.)

7th graders sampling fruits and veggies in the Nutrition Kitchen
 at the Detroit Science Center

  • Never eat anything bigger than your head.  (Bernard Kliban)  Sounds like good advice to me.  

    My concept, now a reality: a kitchen classroom offering a taste of food science 
    and "edutainment" for school groups and families -  at the Detroit Science Center.  

    • No seconds.  No, really. 
    • Make half your grains whole.

    • In matters of diet there’s no “one size fits all.” So don’t harass someone who hasn’t asked for your advice.
    • If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” (Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.  "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' )

    • Eat at a table.  Not at the sink, at a desk or in front of a screen.
    • Let 'em eat cake, it's okay.  On birthdays. 

    • Eat real food. Never eat anything pretending to be something else.  (No bacon bits, artificial sweeteners, imitation anything.) 
    Learning to read food labels at the "Junk Food Wall"  
    at the  Detroit Science Center. 
    • Beware of  packaging with words, like “lite,” natural and heart-smart. “Health food” labels can mislead.  
    • Pack your own lunch. 
    • Every day, eat something green . . . red, yellow and purple, too. 
    • If you’re not hungry enough to eat a piece of fruit, then you’re not hungry. 

    • Watch out for Nachos, Fritos, Doritos, Cheetos, Ho-Hos, Oreos, Faygo, Spaghetti-O's.   Think of them as “oh-oh” food.  
    Inspired by Wack-A-Mole arcade games, "Snack Attack" exhibits at the Science Center 
    encourage young visitors to let off a little steam.  
    • Remember the "clean plate" club?  Forget it. You do not have to eat everything on your plate, especially when you did not put it there (as in restaurants.)

    • Think: small plates and downsize your portions.   (Reserve half your plate for vegetables, one-quarter for starches or grains, and one-quarter for protein)
    Portion-divided plates: image source
    • It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor.  
    • Eat dinner together.
    • Eat at a table.  Not at the kitchen  sink, at a desk or in front of a screen.
    • Enough is a feast.
    • Remember,  liquids are food too. Enjoy drinks as you do with good food - often and in moderation.

    • Mind what you're eating. Eat only when hungry and then think about it.
    One of many "burning questions" in exhibit signage at the Detroit Science Center. 
    • Take small bites. Go slow. And savor every flavor. 
    Photos: VHenoch
    And thanks for dropping by. 


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