Friday, January 20, 2012

The Inconvenience of Eating Healthy

The more I read about food, the less I want to eat it.  And the less I want my children to eat it.  I'm thinking, not about the food I grow or purchase at the farmers' market, but the stuff on our supermarket's shelves.  Cow and pig parts in cereal?  BPA in canned soup, canned beans, canned everything?  Genetically modified ingredients in everything from corn chips to baking powder?  Seriously, is anything you can buy at a major grocery store safe to eat these days?  As a result, I've taken a long hard look at what we stock in our fridge and in our pantry.

Convenience rules!  If they have to cut it, wash it, or do anything besides stick it in their mouths, they'll grab something else.  I've taken to prepping my vegetables ahead of time and to resolving to pop up the minute I hear them rummaging in the kitchen.  I cut up carrots and store them in a water-filled air-tight container.  (The water keeps them from drying out). I peel the oranges, cut the pears and apples and bought an apple slicer for those times when I can't cut up the fruit for them *right now!*  Then, they can do it.

Speaking of popping up, an air-popper and some organic popcorn is a mom's best friend!  My kids know how to use ours and regularly snack on this after they've had one good sized snack.

I also try to keep the oven warm - baking muffins, scones, granola bars, and whatnot.  It's not as healthy as fruit but sometimes we need more than just fruit.  Moreover, at least I know what ingredients are in my home-baked goodies.

Finally, I let my dinners do double duty.  Tonight's meal - whether soup, stew, pasta or pizza - serves as tomorrow's lunch or after school snack.

How do you eat healthy in a hurry and keep kids (and yourself) snacking in the right way?

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Alison Golden - The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman said...

I make big batches of baked goods, freeze them so they are always available.

A friend taught me that if they haven't eaten all their lunch to lay it out again nicely and they'll eat it - and they do.

Leftovers work too. I have leftover frittata from last night that will work for snack today.


Firefly Mom said...

We do a lot of the same things that you do. Besides having leftovers for lunch the next day, there are some things (stew, chili, etc.) that I freeze in single servings that we can eat for lunch or a quick meal later on.

Green Bean said...

@Alison - I never thought to freeze the baked goods. I don't know why! And thank you for the reminder on Smoothies.

@Firefly - Great thinking. Thank you for sharing.

Bee Girl said...

We make a double batch of pancakes from time to time, then freeze them. They make for a yummy, quick breakfast when we're on the run. The best part is, if you add the right ingredients (bananas, nut or berries, even a few chocolate chips) to the batter, you don't need syrup :-)

Juan Miguel Ruiz said...

Great ideas! We do most of the things you've mentioned. I always have apples and other fruits stocked up (I work from home) and I just grab one whenever I have munchies. I also have sliced carrots in the fridge (never thought about keeping them in water, I bet they'll taste so much better) and I made a simple dipping sauce by mixing home-made mayo and ketchup. I also make fruit smoothies when I feel a bit peckish but don't want to bother with solids.

My dad's a vegetarian and my mom makes me a few of dad's tofu dishes (Mom makes a mean pan-seared tofu with something that tastes like spaghetti sauce). I better learn how to bake, I'm getting bored of the usual fruits they have available at the local markets.

Juan Miguel Ruiz

Lori Popkewitz Alper @ Groovy Green Livin said...

We are big air popped popcorn fans over here. My kids love it as an after school snack. I also cut carrots and fruit. We leave the peel on our carrots to keep all the nutrients intact. My kids will actually eat them! How do you prevent the apples from turning brown after you cut them? If there's a hint of brown they won't be eaten!

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Ditto on the air-popped corn. And I have been making healthy whole grain "cookies" and homemade granola bars -- my kids like those. But we still love our pita chips and Midel graham crackers and TJ Social Snackers too. My best advice -- if you don't want your kids to eat it, don't buy it. My kids ALWAYS find the junk -- even if it's hidden behind something else in the pantry in the garage. Sometimes your husband makes you buy the junk though, even if you can exercise the self-control not to. Leftover breakfast foods (pancakes, french toast) are also popular snacks at my house.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I cook double batches and freeze and we have leftovers for dinner. When I make cookie dough or quick bread, I always flash freeze some so we can pull it out and pop it in the oven. Works great for cookies in particular. If you need 6 cookies you can just bake six without having to do a whole batch. We always have fresh fruit on hand.

Green Bean said...

@Bee Girl - Chocolate chip pancakes, sigh!!

@Juan - That sounds like some amazing pan seared tofu. :)

@Lori - I dunno. My kids don't mind the brown. I even cut them up and send them in their school lunches and they get eaten. I did see, though, on Pinterest, something where you cut up the apple and then put it all back together with a rubber band. Supposedly, this keeps the apples from browning.

@ Eco-Novice - " if you don't want your kids to eat it, don't buy it." Ain't that the truth. Goes the same for me too! If it is in the house, I'll eat it.

@Manuela - I love the idea of freezing cookie dough. Hadn't thought of that.

Elizabeth said...

I don't store vegetables in water as I was told that it drains off the vitamins. True or not, I don't know. I have no problem peeling and slicing up a pound or two and storing them in a ziploc with air squeezed out. They are ready for dipping.

I make large batch refried beans and divide into1 and 2 cup batches and freeze. Very easy to take one out, stick frozen beans into a glass casserole dish and pour on some salsa . Cover, micro until hot. Stir in cheese for bean dip.

Green Bean said...

@Elizabeth - Really, the water drains off the nutrients? Who knew! Thank you also for the bean dip idea. I totally think my kids would go for that.


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