Life is an adventure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Great Grocery Debate

I admit I do not lead a healthy lifestyle. I never have. I come from a family where we were all overweight. My brother and my father both have diabetes and are overweight. My mother was heavy most of her life and was overweight when she died. I know the difference between healthy and not healthy foods but eating healthy is not something I'm used to. My kids eat chicken and fries and mac and cheese. I'm not ok with that, but that's the facts. So, when it comes time to plan a menu I panic. I want to have healthy options for all of us but I can't seem to figure out how to incorporate that into our daily routine without totally stressing out about it. I tend to go in one extreme or another. I either buy organic everything or everything is processed.

So today was grocery day. I woke up prepared to make a list of what to buy. I pulled out several cookbooks and started sifting through looking for the perfect recipes. I need to please both kids and my husband with one meal. Believe me, this is not an easy task. Either the kids won't touch it or my husband won't eat it. I'm not picky. I really do enjoy vegetables. I think my problem is coming up with something everyone will eat. I did buy lots of fruits and veggies and I am bound and determined to make everyone try everything this week.
So if you're reading this and you don't have this problem are you willing to share some advice? What do you cook for your family during the week? What kinds of things do you have on hand for your kids? I love being the domestic engineer of the family but this is the one part of my job I can't stand. I wish I had a personal chef.....


Jessica said...

Hey, I'm not the best at this, either, so I feel your pain. Here are some suggestions to try, though. Have your kids and your husband each pick 2 vegetables that they are willing to eat, then incorporate those into your meal plan on a rotating basis. Do this with meal ideas, as well. You can also tell your family you are going to try one new recipe a month, then you'll all vote as to whether it will be put into the rotation. Remind them that we have to take turns eating what everyone likes, and we can't all have our favorites every night. Also, maybe preparing the veggies a different way might appeal to them more (ie: my family prefers steamed broccoli on the side with butter, rather than with cheese sauce or in a casserole). Hopefully with their input it will make things easier on you. Good luck!

Tracy said...

We can sit down and have a long chat about this. I just spent over an hour with a nutritionist for my issues... and have worked in to get answers for my family eating issues... I am happy to share them with you! :)

La said...

I think maintaining heathly eating habits for a family is the bane of a mother's existance! Here is what I try to do for my kids. First for snacks I tend to offer them two types of fruit or two healthy options. They can pick which they want and if they don't want either of them they don't get a snack. I try to limit junk food, but my kids are addicted to granola bars and goldfish, sometimes there is just no getting around eating those. Also at meal times I always prepare a protein, starch, and a fruit or vegetable. We have a thank you, no thank you rule. This means everyone must try at least one bite of everything, after the bite they can either say "thank you may I have some more" or "no thank you I don't want anymore". It isn't a perfect system, but at least it gets one bite of a healthy thing into them. I also repeated tell my kids that I am not a short order chef, if they don't want or like what I made too bad, I'm not going to make another meal. Sometimes this goes over well and sometimes it is a battle. Finally for me and my kids I find that if I don't buy it we don't miss it. If I buy a bag of chips the kids and I tend to eat the entire thing. I also have this problem with candy, I can monitor how much of it my kids eat, but I will eat the entire bag during nap, bad news bears! It is just easier for me not to buy the junk in the first place. Again, this isn't foolproof, sometimes I can't resist buying a big bag of Cheetos!

Sara said...

Hi Jen,

I make a menu plan and actually don't cook many things my kids like in their entirety. Instead, I make things that they will like individually (for example, tonight, we're having pasta with sausage and tomato sauce; they'll eat the sausage and pasta if they're separated, so I just fill their plates before I mix everything all together). I do the same thing when we're having chicken dishes, etc. That way, I'm not making separate meals for everyone (really) and tend to have less battles getting Eli to eat (Braedy is another story, he won't each much of anything, ever).

As for snacks, we have stopped keeping "crap" in our house except on special occasions. I have my stash of milky way minis (which I never share!) and that's about it. If I'm motivated enough, I make the boys a "snack tray" with things that are refillable throughout the day-nuts, craisins, fruits, vegs, etc. They can only get more of the carbs I put on it (pretzels) if most of the other "good stuff" is gone. We don't buy soda anymore. The boys still hate water, but I've found some "grape water" packets or other flavored waters that have little to no sugar and allow those as treats.

I used to make Eli eat as many bites of something as his age, but that's become too big a battle. I love the idea of thank you/no thank you. Very clever!

If you really want to get into what's good and bad to eat (sounds like you already know) there's a great book I like called "The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood" by Dr. Sears. He gets a little too "granola"/crazy for my taste, but the ideas and guidelines are a good place to start. Just quickly, you could try making the nuggets and making homemade fries (I have a great recipe if you want) or substituting some sweet potato fries with the others just to see if it works.

Anyway, those are my ideas. Good luck and great post! :)

seattlerunnergirl said...

Hi, Jen,

I say as long as you're cooking good, healthy food, everyone in your household will learn to like it or figure out another way to deal. In my family, SAHM is not another word for short-order cook, or for "please everyone." And I've found that the kids will end up eating whatever you serve them if they are hungry enough. And believe me, they won't starve! A lot of what kids "don't like" is really more about what they don't want to try, and/or what they *prefer* - very different than actively disliking something.

So, give it a try! Make new recipes, serve one choice of a main dish each meal, build some of your sides around what everybody likes, and see how it goes. Good luck!