I just reread my last post and even though it has been a month since I last posted anything, not much has changed. I still feel overwhelmed, but hanging in there. Well, I guess I have made some changes around here, but my life isn’t any easier because of them.
My friends around here and my husband can tell you I have been thinking a lot about the food our family eats. I watched the documentary Food Inc. over a month ago and it spurred me to learn more about industrialized food. Firstly, it made it impossible for me to buy meat that is not labeled “grass finished.” We have been part-time vegetarians for awhile now, mostly because I don’t care to touch raw meat, but I always buy meat from the deli for sandwiches. Sadly, I cannot do that in good conscious anymore. So, I have been seeking out local grass-fed beef and chicken for a once a week meal (usually two nights). Secondly, I am pretty much buying all organic, or making it myself.
Meanwhile, I have also been getting a box of organic fruits and vegetables once a week. Everything has been delicious and better than anything available at the grocery store. It is really getting us to eat more vegetables and fruit. The boys will eat any fruit if I get it ready and set it front of them, but not so much if I just offer it as a snack. They are still leery of most vegetables, but will often take a bite or two. Benton tends to be more adventurous with his food. Oliver is kind of stuck in his ways.
I have been reading In the Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. He was featured in Food Inc. and goes over the history of how our (America’s) food has changed dramatically over the last 30 years, mostly how it has been industrialized. Pretty depressing, really.
At the same time, I was trying to reduce the amount of sugar we consumed. According the American Heart Association, the average American eats 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. They recommend no more than 6 teaspoons a day for women. So, I am trying to stick to that. The boys, Oliver in particular, were not happy when I stopped buying their favorite granola bars. I quit drinking my morning cocoa* immediately after watching this lecture and I’m not buying orange juice anymore. I was already dismayed with how orange juice is produced, but the fructose, without the fiber, in juice, made me think it shouldn’t be an everyday thing. Dan and I are trying to seriously reduce the amount of fructose in our diet that is not from whole fruits and vegetables. More about this another time, but watch that lecture, if you want to learn more.
So, back to the title of this post. Most nights I make dinner, I set the table, Dan is often not home yet, I get everyone drinks, napkins, etc. I put a hot dinner on the table and no one but me will eat it.
So, I figured, I need to get the little people more involved in cooking dinner. Knowing how much Oliver loves to print things from PBS Kids, I asked him to find some recipes for snacks and dinner that he would like us to try from Mr. Fizzy’s Lunch Lab. He is always telling about Mr. Fizzy’s healthy meals. Together, we worked out a meal plan for the week, plugging in his recipes for dinners and snacks.
He is holding a recipe for stir-fry that he helped cook. Oliver said we could not “go off recipe” so we made it just as presented. I liked it. Oliver tried it and deemed it ok, but had “too many vegetables.” Last week, together, we made a couple of other recipes, all vegetarian, including: a dinner frittata (a hit), popcorn with chocolate and cranberries (a snack, Ollie hated the cranberries), molasses cookies (went a little off recipe - less sugar), and a fruit smoothie (always a popular snack, but we had it for breakfast this morning).
We just worked on next week’s menu. Oliver wants it to be all egg salad sandwiches and smoothies.
*Giving up my morning cocoa, meant giving up sugar (5 teaspoons worth), chocolate and caffeine all on the same day. I won’t lie. It was rough. After a few days, I was pretty grumpy and I decided to try coffee again. That helped, but after a week of that, I am now only drinking decaf. Oh, I nibble a few pieces of bittersweet chocolate everyday. Seriously, how could I give up chocolate?