Sunday, September 06, 2009

Defending our food


Because my university is sponsoring a campus-wide reading program that features In Defense of Food, I have been thinking a lot about how we feed our family. We've always bought organic dairy products, and we sometimes buy organic meat and produce, depending on sales. Our snack cabinet, however, has been processed city. Several months ago, we cut out HFCS and some of the scarier dyes, and we switched to organic mac and cheese and canned pasta (which Jack looooves). All summer, we have been buying local fruits and veggies at the farmers market, but now that summer is drawing to a close, we're starting to look at our food more carefully.

This week, we decided to eat better, so we bought only organic at the store today. We expected some sticker shock (and we haven't even made our Trader Joe's run yet), but it was actually very affordable. For the stuff we buy every week, we only spent about $8 more (because there was an awesome sale on YoKids yogurt). Because we went to Whole Foods, though, we had some fairly major splurges in the deli (because the curry chicken salad! and the garlic green beans! and the boxed kid lunches and the sushi and the premade salads and all that stuff-- they are delicious!), but really we came out even-ish.

We still have some chocolate chip Teddy Grahams and frosted animal crackers to devour before our snack cabinet is as healthy as our fridge, but we have instituted a no-more-than-5-ingredients-on-the-label rule for all processed snacks, so we'll see how that goes.

I know my single and childless friends might disagree, but I think it is harder to be a defensive eater when you have small kids. It takes a bit of time to start from fresh, and kids need snacks they can grab on the go. Bananas work okay, and we love us some Veggie Booty, but the convenience of things like breakfast bars and goldfish crackers is hard to beat. (But! we will resist!) The dinner hour is tough to manage with small kids, too, which is why we have resorted to make ahead meals, and now that we are eating more meat, I want to make sure it is as good for us as possible.

This is not to say that Harry and Jack won't have Happy Meals or popsicles or pizza or any of the fattening garbage we love. We're just trying to take Michael Pollan's fairly simple eating advice and be more discerning consumers.

So, here's a menu:
Sunday
steak, shrimp, and ginormous hotdogs from the butcher (for the kids. and yeah, they're all beef and nitrite free)
asparagus
baby field green salad
(and hopefully Babcock ice cream on the Terrace)

Monday
something from TJ's.

Tuesday
the rigatoni and zucchini casserole we didn't make last week

Wednesday
Going out to celebrate H's first week of school. I hope this trip includes Coldstone because the Jello pudding ice cream? Scrumptious.

Thursday
salmon burgers
corn
strawberries

Jack thinks the new food plan is whack

1 comment:

Becca said...

We are really lucky that our local grocery store has an awesome organic store brand for not that much more than regular generic. SO lucky. It's one reason we could never move. We have also cut out HFCS. Ketchup and jelly were the hardest, I thought we were going to have to make our own, but the store came through for us. And now we have a Sprouts, which is like a healthy eating free-for-all.

Tell me more about this rigatoni and zucchini casserole. Sounds like something we would enjoy.