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Archive for the ‘Food Related Topics’ Category

I would be lying if I said coming up with a variety of healthy, real food, peanut-free, tree nut-free, portable lunch options wasn’t a challenge. I understand that the school is trying to protect children with severe peanut/tree nut allergies, but I have to admit that I often feel their little rules conflict with what we are trying to do…eat real food that is. On the school’s “safe snack list” which offers hundreds of “approved” options I literally found only 15 items that we would also consider to be “approved” for our kindergartner. They seriously have “Wendy’s Frosties” listed as an approved option so I suppose they would rather me send in one of those or something like a package of goldfish for her snack instead of a little all-natural cashew/dried fruit mix? (more…)

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Since the most popular Food Illusion post to date has been “A look inside a whole foods pantry” I thought it would be appropriate to expand things by moving onto our fridge. Before I get started I want to answer one question though…yes, I cleaned out my fridge prior to this little photo shoot.  But for those of you who know me (and my type A personality) well, you also know that this is not very far from the truth. And aside from eating healthy foods or not, I am a true believer of everything in one’s fridge (and pantry) having its very own spot. It drives me crazy when we are staying at someone’s house and you have to spend five minutes trying to find that bag of grapes you know you saw earlier. At our house the answer is always the same…it is in the fruit drawer!

So let me break down the picture starting at the top… (more…)

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The other day my brother emailed me asking my opinion on some organic prepackaged snacks they were considering buying. He said that for their busy family (which includes two working parents and two kids, ages 8 and 4) it is important for their school snacks to be individually wrapped. After reviewing the list of ingredients he emailed me I thought the “Organic Jammy Sammy Snack Size Sandwich Bars” had both pros and cons:

Pros:

  • It was organic (although just because something is organic does not mean it is okay…there are a lot of highly processed organic foods out there)
  • It contained whole grain oats
  • It contained whole grain barley flour
  • Salt was the last ingredient on the list, which means it was what they used the least of

Cons:

  • The first ingredient (and what it contained the most of) was the strawberry filling which lists cane juice (a sweetener similar to sugar) as its top ingredient
  • The strawberry filling also contained rice starch and pretty much anything with the word starch (like corn starch) is highly processed/refined
  • The strawberry filling also contained citric acid (a preservative)
  • In addition to the cane juice in the strawberry filling these bars also had two other forms of sweeteners listed – agave and more evaporated cane juice (more…)

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One of my favorite Food Rules from Michael Pollan’s latest book is “Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.” Now how could anyone argue the fact that that rule just makes sense? I am trying to remember why I ever even thought it was okay to feed my kids (and my husband and myself) foods that contained things like maltodextrin, cellulose, ethoxylated diglycerides, and polydextrose. Oh yeah, I remember how that happened…because I wasn’t even reading the ingredients to know this random stuff was in there! At least it is never too late to change.

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Most moms struggle at one point or another with a picky eater, and the most important thing I can tell you is to never stop trying with them! My youngest daughter frustrates me almost daily with her pickiness (luckily my older daughter is quite the opposite), but clearly since we are all doing the 100 Days of Real Food together I have had to try almost anything and everything to get my 3-year-old to eat healthy foods. I hope some of these tips that I have learned along the way (which are all based my own personal experiences and observations) can help you make some breakthroughs with your picky eater as well. And of course please keep in mind that each suggestion is not necessarily going to work for every child out there, but you certainly never know until you try. And as always, if you have any additional tips or suggestions from your own experiences please feel free to leave a comment!

  • Take baby steps when trying to convert your kids to whole foods. First of all, start with the things that they know and like by switching out their beloved processed version for a healthier alternative. For example, my daughters both used to love the white store-bought flour tortillas, so one of the first things I did was make them some homemade whole-wheat tortillas instead. (more…)

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Since we started our 100 Days of Real Food pledge eating at restaurants has become quite a challenge, but we have also learned a lot from the experience. Below are some tips and suggested meals if you also want to try to stick to whole foods while eating out.

General Tips:

  • Avoid bread items such as rolls, breadcrumbs, tortillas, pasta, breading, crusts, etc. Unfortunately even if something is called “whole-wheat” it is rare to find items that are truly only made with 100% whole-wheat (unless the restaurant can confirm the ingredients for you).
  • If the waiter/chef doesn’t know (and can’t find out) the ingredients of an item then they probably don’t make it fresh in house which means it likely has all sorts of stuff (like sweeteners and preservatives) in it you don’t want or need.
  • If they don’t know where the meat came from then I can guarantee it is not from anywhere special (like a grass-fed local farm).
  • For children (more…)

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When your focus is eating whole foods you end up cooking a lot. There is just no way around it. And despite my commitment to our new diet, I occasionally miss the convenience of ready-made store bought foods. Not only do I have to make sure I cook a healthy dinner every night, but I now also have the added responsibility of making breakfast, lunch and snack foods as well. That’s what happens when you no longer eat store-bought cereals, tortillas, hummus, or granola bars.

Ever since we made this change a few months ago I have been on the prowl for store-bought items with a simple list of ingredients. We all already know about ready-to-eat snacks such as nuts, raisins, popcorn and fresh fruit, but here are some other convenient options that I have recently become a fan of…

Triscuits

We love that these crackers have only 3 ingredients as opposed to their Wheat Thins counterpart that boast a dozen or more ingredients including multiple sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup. (more…)

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