Friday, May 10, 2013

You Are What You Eat: Taking a Closer Look at What We Eat

We've all heard the saying, "You are what you eat."  Admittedly, if that's the case, I would be made of sugar, meat, and chocolate.  I know that I need to improve my diet, especially now that I am omitting dairy, but I also need to push my kiddos out of the box a bit more.  Sounds fun, right?  I am going to try to make it appear that way!

With all of the talk about GMO's lately, I decided to start reading about what we should be trying to avoid.  I soon realized that while I thought we were eating fairly healthy and avoiding "bad things," I was wrong!  While there is a quite a long list of ingredients and foods to avoid, the three that stood out to me most were corn, soy, and canola.  Hmmm...limiting sugar cereal may be the least of my worries.  I did find that there are currently no genetically engineered wheat products.  Too bad whole wheat is not on my favorite list!    

For the past few years, I have tried to cut back on processed foods.  Generally, the only items we buy out of the frozen food section anymore are vegetables, pie crusts, fruit, ice cream, potatoes, and fish sticks.  I try to avoid chicken nuggets as much as I can, but occasionally they'll make it into the cart.  I'd like to limit that to just fruit, vegetables, and potatoes with the occasional splurge on ice cream since we like to make our own.  I have made homemade chicken nuggets for the kiddos in the past, but they have not liked them (even though they are delicious).  Too bad kids, Mom's making her own again!  I have never tried homemade fish sticks, but I think I will add them to the list of things to try.

As for snacks, I had all but removed the filler foods from our pantry for some time and encouraged the kids to choose fresh fruit, raw veggies, yogurt, or cheese.  Many of the muffin recipes I make are quite healthy, too, so I may throw that in as an option here and there.  When I was preparing my food supply for "after baby," I picked up a few of their favorite treats and can't wait for them to be gone!  We will be going back to those choices and for some treats I plan to try out some recipes I found for the snacks they love like Goldfish and graham crackers.  

This summer we're going to check out some local farmer's markets for produce and attempt to grow some of our own vegetables.  I would love to be able to buy organic all of the time, but the price and availability in our area makes it a little tough.  I may take another stab at it, though, for those foods on the dirty dozen.  We do purchase organic milk and yogurt, but I'd like to add more foods to that list again like chicken and apples.  

My kids may rebel a bit in the beginning now that they've been spoiled for a month, but I'm hoping with some fun presentation and activities I can get them to eat more fresh fruits and veggies this summer.  I am guilty of not eating nearly enough of those foods, so I will have to be on board, too.  We'll begin to make smoothies to pack in as much as we can and I am going to sneak some extras in there, too.  I'm going to be on the lookout for more fun and tasty ways to add more fresh fruit and veggies to our diet as well!

In reality, it shouldn't be this difficult to feed ourselves and our children.  I'm interested to see where all of the "movements" you see on the interent go.  I am going to take baby steps and hopefully over the course of a year make some positive changes in the food we eat.  I plan to document our journey monthly and share some practical tips with you.  If any of our recipes turn out for our homemade treats, I'll share those with you as well!


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