DALEYPLAZAFARMERSMARKET

Use Chicago Food Day to kick off better eating habit

The farmers market at Daley Plaza today makes room for Chicago Food Day vendors and activities.  |  Al Podgorski/Sun-Times

Today (Oct. 23) is Chicago Food Day.

It’s being celebrated at Daley Plaza, home of the weekly farmers market there. There will be speakers, demonstrations and lots of good food. You can walk up and ask a host of experts questions on nutrition and eating well. There will be a number of other vendors in addition to the farmers market regulars.

At noon, the speakers include:

  • Dr. Bechara Choucair, Chicago Public Health commissioner
  • Karyn Calabrese, restaurateur and advocate for health/wellness (FYI, Calabrese was talking and LIVING healthy way before anyone else in town)
  • Keith Wakeman, Building a Healthier Chicago president and president of Cherry Street Innovation
  • Tess Boghassian, Illinois winner of Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge (here’s her soup recipe)

Chicago Food Day is a good opportunity if you’re downtown to learn more about the food choices you make and eating well.

But what if you’re not downtown? What can you do? Well, use this day to consider changing just one not-so-hot food habit you have. And I really mean one. Too many times we try for these grand gestures and they’re just too hard to manage and keep up. Next thing you know, you’ve given up.

So start with one. And stick with it. Make your kids do it, too. Ignore their complaining. Just say simply, “This is what we’re doing from here on out.” No yelling, either. Say it firmly like you mean it. Eventually they’ll give up whining. (And really, by now, haven’t you learned to tune their kvetching out?)

Maybe it’s ditching soda.  This I know, from experience, isn’t easy, but I also know it can be done. Start by cutting it out at say, dinner. Eventually move on to lunch. Stop buying it.

If you want to get the kids on your side, take the amount you would spend on soda each week and put it into a jar everyone can see. Decide together to save up for something you all will enjoy.

Or maybe you’ve got another idea. Maybe it’s to change your regular afternoon snack from some processed packaged deal to a piece of fruit. Do it one day a week at a time. (Again, I have to point out, this could be a real money-saver.)

Just use the day to do something to eat well now. I’m not kidding when I say you will feel better and more satisfied with your food choices. And your body will thank you.