Sunday, May 27, 2012
getting real food into your everyday life
Some thoughs on how we as a family have advanced our health, and how we have gotten real food into our regular family life.
1. Train yourself and family to reach for fruits and vegetables for a snack.
If the kids think they are hungry I simply ask them, Which fruit or veggie would you like? They are now getting to where they will find their own fruit or vegetable snack. Make it easy to grab fruit and veg snacks. Keep a large fruit bowl out in plain site. Keep fruits and veg cut up and in the front of the refrigerator within easy reach.
2. Shop smart.
I always start (and spend most of my time) in the produce section of my grocery store. My husband thinks I am nuts when I get super excited over a produce sale. I usually shop the outer edges of the store. That is where the less processed foods are stored. Summer time is a great time to look into a farmers market. You can get all kinds of farmfresh food at great prices. Another option may be a food co-op. This is where a group of people get together and buy food in bulk then divide up the bounty among the members. I was once a part of BOUNTIFUL BASKETS. They have pick up locations across the western united states. Usually you order online on Mondays, and pick up over the weekend. use your favorite search engine to see if there is a co-op available in your area.
3. Eat your rainbow
I am not talking about M&M's here. I am talking about real food. Fruits and veggies come in a natural rainbow of colors. Orange vegetables and fruits are full of vitamin A. Red usually means high in Vitamin C. Green Leafy things have Vitamin K and Calcium. A fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack will get you on your way to great health.
4. Fresh, frozen, or canned veggies?
Any kind of vegetable is a better choice than none at all. There are some whom with good intentions buy fresh vegetables. These vegetables go to the fridge and stay there until gone bad. For those people frozen vegetables can be a great option. Canned veggies can be very convinient. Either one is a good option when fresh does not work. One word of advice; steer clear of sauces and flavorings added to frozen veggies. Just plain veggies. Another thing to beware is potatoes that are frozen. Many times frozen potatoes have been partially fried so they have added oils.
5. Good recipes
Many of us have a bad taste for vegetables because of bad recipes or cooking techniques. How many of us have had a pile of mushy overcooked slimy smelly vegetables? I myself have been turned off by some vegetables because of the way they were prepared. Finding ways to prepare vegetable dishes that your family will eat is well worth the time investment. keep your eyes out here at life less hurried for real food recipes.
6. Portion sizes
The small token spoonful of veggies that your mother served you as a child is not enough. Fill up half your plate with fruits and veggies. Pump up a pasta plate with 1/2 pasta 1/2 veggies. Casseroles can be filled with more vegetables. All our soups are chunky and full of vegetable nutrition. Once I made a cream soup. It was really good. I was asked how much cream I had added to the soup. The answer was none. I had used pureed vegetables to thicken and flavor the soup.
7. Sneak nutrition.
Pureed vegetables added to a pasta sauce can work for some. Many family members will not know they are there. Smoothies are great way to use up fruits.Veggies can be snuck into smoothies also. When making a tomato based soup such as a minestrone, use V-8 instead of regular tomato juice.
I have recently become a fan of Chef Brad and his fusion grain cooking. He cooks with whole grains and has really opened my eyes to new food options. He is about cooking foods that your family usually eats, but ups the nutrition with whole grains. Check out his show and recipes here .
Our families tend eat whatever is in the house. Make your house a place where real foods take center stage. Make them a readily available option. If good food is the only food available it will be eaten. If you reach for the fruits and veg your kids will follow suit.
Today is the day to start. Bring in good food. See what happens.