From time to time my recipes may be more about lifestyle, health and family than about honing your culinary craft. Food is so integral to everything in life that keeping it in the kitchen is a mistake. (If my kids are reading this, you still have to eat at the table.)
We see this with the medical field. Doctors are not required to have more than a perfunctory understanding of nutrition. In a 2009 survey conducted by researchers at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (with 86% of the medical schools responding) only 25% required a dedicated nutrition course.
We have a serious health issue in childhood obesity. There was an article in the LA Times recently outlining the disparity between an affluent beach community and a Latino community.
While parental nutrition plays a major role in keeping our children healthy, I’m sure that the children of Manhattan Beach are not staying slim by drinking their mother’s diet soda. The jury is still out on whether Aspartame (the sweetener used in most diet drinks) is safe, but regardless of whether it is “safe” your children should not be drinking it. I’m pretty sure neither should you. Substituting one bad habit for another is never a great solution.
The eating and drinking habits established early in life are very hard to reverse. Hats off to all of the school systems that have eliminated sugary drinks from vending machines. We are moving in the right direction. Please be vigilant about eliminating ALL of the sugary drinks around your house. They are empty calories and cause a myriad of health issues.
Instead, consider this sort of “Diet Drink” that all of the family can enjoy.
- Soda water (your choice. It’s water with bubbles)
- Fruit slices (your choice and what’s in season)
- Mint or Rosemary or Lemon Verbena
- In the bottom of a pitcher, muddle some mint or rosemary or other herb
- Pour soda water over ice
- Add fruit or fruit slices. You can make this a medley (strawberries, oranges, lemons, blackberries) or you can make it a single flavor (lemon, for instance)
- Pour into glasses, garnish with fruit slices.
Sliced cucumber is an amazingly refreshing alternative as well.
I think you get the idea. Step away from that soda machine. Think outside the (juice) box.