Welcome to Educated, Common Sense Parenting! This is my parenting education/commentary blog. Start here and read About This Blog.

I believe too many parents today have let their children rule their households. Their children dictate their daily lives, demand every ounce of their attention and do not show any respect for their parents. This needs to change. The only way to do this is if parents start letting good old common sense start dictating their parenting practices and stop letting their children run the show. You're the parent. Act like one.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Fresh & Healthy

I find trying to cook fresh, healthy meals for my family extremely fun. To me, it's a challenge! Anyone can pop a frozen meal into the oven or order pizza, but it takes time, patience and effort to make healthful meals (that your kids will actually EAT, that is!). But isn't that what parenting is all about: time, patience and effort? I think we could all use those three things at any point in time when raising our kids!

I don't consider myself a health nut, by any means. If the kids are at a birthday party, I don't ration cake intake or freak out if their goody bag is filled with candy. We have Pizza Fridays and sometimes when Daddy is out of town, we'll even have ice cream for dinner! And when we go on vacation--forget about it! I just can't stress about every single morsel of food my kids take in, at every moment of their lives--that wouldn't be very educated, common sense-ical, now would it? But what I can do--for the vast majority of time when we're home and on our regular schedule-- is ensure what my family eats is as fresh and healthy as possible.

But what does "fresh" mean? Fresh cooking, to me, simply means that when you look at your grocery cart (if you do 1-2 big shopping trips each week), at least 25% of what's in there should be from the produce section. Fresh fruit, veggies, herbs. If you don't plan healthy meals ahead or have some healthy meal ideas in mind when you enter the store, you will never hit the 25% mark. It much easier to load up on processed and canned foods. Fresh cooking also means meals are, for the most part, prepared from natural--not processed--ingredients.

Believe me, I like a quick and easy meal as well as any other parent in town. My time is precious. However, if you do any label reading at all on packaged foods (frozen lasagna, for instance) you realize that you are eating more "chemicals" you can't pronounce rather than real, actual food. Now, whether are not all these "chemicals" or additives will really "kill you" or to the extent to which they are unhealthy, I will leave up to the scientists and dieticians. I just use my educated, common sense that tells me it's a much better idea to feed my family real food vs. foods laden with additives.Food companies can't develop a good enough flavor with regular ingredients, so they have to use a chemical to make or "enhance" their product. That's weak.

Since MSG (Monosodium glutamate) is my personal villian, I've been reading labels a lot more in an attempt to knock it out of our diet. Once you start reading labels, you will be shocked at what foods have MSG! Here are some...just to name a few...

Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean and others)
Chick Fil a Sandwiches (my fave!)
Most any "flavored" potato chip (i.e BBQ, Sour Cream and Onion)
Knorr's Powdered Vegetable Soup Mix (Spinach Dip STAPLE! Hello!)
Onion Soup/Dip Mix
Ramen Noodles
Ranch Dressing (ARG!!! I was so mad--Brookey LOVES Ranch!)
Most Canned Soups

For the most part, my kids have tried pretty much all of the above "food" items....and love them. Rightly so!! They are yummy! I would have never gotten through college without my $2.49 case of Top Ramen! But the list above is not "food"--basically it's chemicals, passed off as food.

I have been taking it upon myself to find healthy, fresh alternatives for some of these most-loved items. The first one I tackled was Ranch dressing since it's a family favorite. I will post my version of "Ranch" in the next post. Until then, start reading labels...remember, LESS ingredients=less chemicals=a much more fresh & healthy diet for your family!

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to reading your ranch recipe. We are LOVING our farmers market this summer... our little guy, who normally won't touch a vegetable, can't get enough fresh green beans. I also appreciate your laid back attitude about it--I feel bad for kids whose parents never allow them the occassional treat.