Since my family has been making some new food choices in hopes of living a longer/healthier life we have adopted a few”‘food rules.” Make no mistake, we ENJOY eating, we eat meat, AND we live on a budget. This may or may not be similar to your life style… and that is okay. But, here I will share a rule that we have adopted. You can adopt this rule too, or not. Either way, it will be okay with me. =)
Don’t buy anything that your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize at the grocery store.
This food rule actually came from Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food. I highly recommend this book as it has been a great starting point for me on my own food journey. I have actually been thinking of changing the title of these posts since I think it may be a little misleading. My family is buying SOME of our items organically – but not all. (If you are curious about which ones, visit my post here). To get the biggest bang for our buck we purchase the items that are high on our priority list organically and everything else we just try to purchase whole, which gets to the point of this post.
Depending on your age, your great grandmother more than likely didn’t see a lot of the “food products” that we see on our grocery store shelves. Things like Go-Gurt, Cheezy puffs, and frozen meals in a bag or box just didn’t exist. The grocery stores consisted of meat, dairy – yes even yogurt, fresh produce, etc – more like a market without all the conveniences we see on our shelves. While these items may seem like shortcuts I believe you can put a much more nutritious meal on your table without the use of these prepackaged “food products” and using real food – meat and veggies and grains.
Of course, your great grandmother was a mother in a totally different time than we do now. The pace was much slower, women were at home, more time was spent in the kitchen, and dinners were at a set time around the family table. For most of us all of this just does not exist any more. Most families rely and/or need two incomes just to get by, kids are in tons of after school activities, and sadly, family meals are happening in the family car all too often.
While I’m not here to chide you for your choices, I hope to inspire you to find at least one night a week to sit down to a family meal. Cook from scratch – or close to it – and get your kids and/or husband in the kitchen to participate. Remember the end result isn’t everything, it is an experience! If you already have one night week or you find more time to carve out, challenge yourself to two, three, four, or five nights a week! Just start out slow and build up!
As for me, we are buying whole foods and cooking from scratch as often as possible. While I am lucky enough to only work outside of the home part time (2 to 3 days per week) I do get home late during those evenings that I work away from home. However, that is where my meal planning really helps a lot. I plan my whole week (or two weeks) of meals ahead of time on the weekends and I keep in mind the evenings I will get home later so that I plan something fast or easy on those nights. By doing this, my family is able to have a family meal around the dinner table 5 to 6 nights per week.
And, cooking from scratch need not be as daunting a task as it sounds. For me it is usually a meat (or other protein one night per week such as beans) a starch, and a green vegetable. Occasionally I’ll cook a second veggie or bake a loaf of bread, but on most nights it is just a trio on our plates. Most of the meals I prepare include a frozen piece of meat I thaw out the morning of the meal and either fresh or frozen veggies. All of the foods I use are made up of three or less ingredients – meaning not processed or minimally processed. These are the things my great grandmother would recognize at the grocery store! And, I can get dinner from fridge/pantry to table in 30 to 40 minutes – and sometime less! I’m not a chef, I haven’t had any formal training, I’m just a mom who knows how to read a recipe and have learned a lot from reading online recipes and watching Food Network – LOL.
If you are joining me on a new food journey I hope you will leave your comments below. Feel free to speak about what your family is doing or hoping to do. And, if you have any advice for me or others leave that here too! Just remember to keep it helpful, upbeat, and positive.