Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's In That Stuff

A few weeks back my good friend asked if I would talk to her fitness group about eating healthy on a budget.  WHOA!  I can talk about a budget all day, but when you throw the health part in the mix I get a little nervous.  What in the world do I have to offer to others in the way of health advice?  I felt a little unsure of myself in this area.

Then I started thinking about what I serve my family.  By no means to we eat a raw food diet, but I do carefully plan what my family ingests each day.  I focus on our servings.  Are there fruits and vegetables present?  Are those fruits and vegetables serving our bodies in the manner in which they were intended?  Are we having our correct servings of protein and calcium?  Can I read and understand the purpose the ingredients on the foods I'm serving?  This last question has really changed my thoughts of feeding my family.

Since having the opportunity to stay home with my kids, it allowed me to focus more on cooking from scratch.  When I make sauces, breads, and baking goods from scratch I see exactly what goes into our food.  This has opened my eyes a ton.  For example, I never realized how much sugar can be dumped into spaghetti sauce.  When I buy the jarred sauce off the store shelf I lose my connectivity to my food.  Making my own sauce, I'm able to use other seasoning to lessen the amount of sugar and I'm aware.  Being aware allows me to focus on the other items that will be served with our meal.  Before, I never ever thought about sugar in my sauce.

{Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Homemade Meatballs}

Cooking from scratch has also allowed me to take the convenience out of junk food.  I no longer purchase store bought cookies or cakes.  If we want to have sweets, I have to make them from scratch.  It makes those cookies, cakes, or brownies turn into true treats and not a go-to crave food.  It has me weighing my options.  Do I want those cookies bad enough that I am going to take the time to make them and then clean up the mess from baking?  Sometimes it's worth it and sometimes it's not.  However, if I had a package of Oreo's sitting in the pantry all I would have to think about was whether or not I wanted to get my big booty off the couch.  Much more convenient to eat trashy.  I took that convenience out.

Same thing with chips.  We have them in the house, but it's not something the kids ask for with their lunch.  Instead, their 'crunchy' items are carrots, cucumbers, celery, or bell peppers.  I usually take the time to cut up veggies for the week so all I have to do is reach in and grab the desired serving amount.  It's just like reaching in a bag of chips.

All in all, I'm no health expert.  I am a little embarrassed to even write on this topic, but you know what?  I have worked hard to get our family to eat how we eat now.  I will continue to work to make small changes until I know I'm fueling our bodies to be the way God designed them to work.  As moms, we all want our families to be healthy and strong.  I believe feeding our bodies allows us to be that way.  This doesn't mean I will cut out our comfort foods or foods we love altogether, but I will continue to find ways to make those meals a bit more healthful or use them as special treats.

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