A few years ago, I made the decision to transition our family to a (mostly) whole foods diet. No, it’s not perfect – my kids still sometimes eat food that comes in a box – but overall, we do a pretty decent job.
If you’re trying to eat healthier you’ll find that like any life change, this one has it ups and downs. You will make mistakes and find gaping holes in your knowledge. Unless, that is, you have someone like me willing to let untold thousands (I wish) read about my mistakes so you have more time to dice your produce.
Here are my guidelines for buying and serving healthy food:
- Always check organic greens. Yes, for critters. I’ve found all manner of creatures – large and small, alive and dead. That’s one of the trade-offs for pesticide-free food. Worms happen, you just want to spot them before the kids do. (Over a glass of wine sometime, ask me about the night I sautéed a large, green caterpillar.)
- Learn to love imperfect produce. As much as I hate to admit it, engineered food looks better. When you buy organics, the green beans have spots. The beets and carrots are not all the same size. The tomatoes are a little warty. Just cut it in small enough pieces and no one can tell the difference.
- Get comfortable with phrases like “Just a minute, I’m soaking my besan.” It takes some confidence to throw out a phrase like that.
- Label your grains. You may not want to admit it, but there will be a day you cannot tell your millet from your quinoa. (I mean that in the nicest way.)
- Try raw food. It’s way faster than actually cooking! Another tip – if your kids don’t like dressings and marinades, just lift some of the salad out before you dress it. At my house we call this by the sophisticated name “salad with no dressing”.
- Find a family farm and buy your naturally-raised, grass-fed meat from them. I love my farm. They deliver to our area once a month in a south-metro parking lot from an unmarked, refrigerated van. You hand them a check and they hand you a box. It feels a little like making a drug buy, but the meat is great.
- If you buy grains and other items in bulk, make sure you take a second look at the bulk price per pound before you fill up the bag or you could end up buying $15 worth of quinoa at one time. Oops. Which brings me to my final point…
- Get out your checkbook (or payment method of choice). It’s expensive. I hate to say it, but it’s true. But being a person who is constantly looking to balance the value equation, I figure a healthy family means fewer missed school days, fewer doctor bills, and more energy to take on the things I need them to do. I’m all about the long-term outcomes, baby.
Since I inevitably wake up in the morning to the question, “What am I going to serve for dinner?” (OK, I’m a little obsessive) I’m contemplating what to sling on the table this evening. A nice kale salad? A hearty soup?
A ridiculous exercise. If your house is like mine, it will take me twice as long to decide, and about eight times as long to prepare it, as it will for them to scarf it down.
Share recipes? Share thoughts? Tell me I’m obsessive (as if I don’t already know)?