Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A snackaholic’s food battle

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let's Talk About Food

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their struggles and successes with healthy eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


So I love snacks, horrid, overly processed awful for you snacks! I am also a snacker, I don’t really eat meals - I graze throughout the day. Paul is like that too. I don’t know if it’s because of me, or if that’s just how he is. So making meals is a weakness of mine.

We ate pretty decently (pre-pregnancy of Dolores) for our budget (very little processed food, raw milk, whole foods……..). It wasn’t great by many standards, but it was as good as we could do. It helped that my son, at the time about 2, was really starting to eat non-breast milk, and I did not want him eating that stuff. Then I find out I’m pregnant, and all that goes out the window! The snack fest begins! It just so happened also, that Paul weaned during my pregnancy (so sad he didn’t make it to three, had been my personal goal), which meant that he too was eating those foods.

Now, we have been eating like this for over a year, more like a year and a half. It’s a hard cycle to break. I swear that they put stuff in that food that makes you addicted!

Currently we try to make better choices. I limit high fructose corn syrup, and have even recently begun watching labels for corn at all since most corn is the GMO type, and we don’t want that. We also avoid soy if possible. But if I have to pick between hfcs and soy, I’ll pick soy. I pick the best, or rather, least full of nasty stuff, item that I can find. Ultimately we want to be growing/raising all of our food, so we won’t have to worry at all about what’s in it!

Right now my struggle is getting over the convenience food and snacks. It is so, well, convenient. Plus add in the heat of summer (makes cooking oh so much hotter), and I want something that comes together quickly, with little heat and little effort, and I’d like it to be cold :). Also, we have major budget constraints that hinder our ability to buy good meat (grass-fed and free range – we actually have a farmer somewhat near that does this, we just don’t have the money, and also, the freezer space! that is on the agenda for the next tax return! :)). We live in the middle of nowhere and china-mart is the only place to do most shopping. There are two other small grocery stores that we get a few things at (they have more organic, and natural food, plus better meat than walmart). If it were up to us, we’d shop a Whole Foods type store only, but that’s over an hour away (and tons of gas and miles!)

Our desire is to follow mostly a Traditional Foods diet, or at the very least, a whole foods diet. Nothing processed or full of chemicals. Meats that are raised the way they were intended to be raised, like cows eating grass. We are soon moving to a small piece of land and will start the journey of growing our own food, meat, veggies and grains.

I need to find a way to eat well without a lot of prep, and heat. Or I need to get over the fear of an hour of prep and a hot humid kitchen! I think the latter is what needs to happen!

So if anyone has tips for eating cool and somewhat cheaply and WELL, please share.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated July 13 with all the carnival links.)


Lauren Wayne said...

I also love to snack, and I'm just glad for how honest you're being here. I make tons of compromises, and it really is hard when you don't have the space or money to buy the stuff you'd rather buy. I'm really intrigued to hear about your journeys toward ultimately raising your own food, because that sounds marvelous.

For a cooking tip that won't make you super hot, have you considered using a slow cooker? I mean, it's still hot, but you don't have to babysit it as long. Pick easy recipes like stew. Or you could do raw things, like salads, like green leafy, pasta, rice, couscous, etc. — some might require some initial cooking but not a lot. Sandwiches, too. Sites like http://allrecipes.com/ could help you brainstorm.

Or you could do a once-a-week or once-a-month cooking fest like some people do, where you take a weekend and cook meals to last you awhile. Then you just pop them out of the freezer when you need them and reheat. At least then you'd be miserable only one or two days at a time instead of every one. ;)

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Snacking is hard. Luckily, summer finds me really loving fruit. Our toddler has helped me expand my repertoire of fruit: now we will gobble up melons, apples, pears, bananas, etc. Much better than sugary packaged snacks. Also healthy are trail mix type snacks - we buy bags of nuts and mix our own (saves $$, no preservatives, control of content). As far as meals, my very favorite tip to eating better is making freezer meals. Our deep freeze has been one of our best purchases - when I cook, I double (or triple) the recipe and put the extra in the freezer. Yes, you might have to put it in the oven later, but you don't have the prep and sometimes it's just for a reheat, not for the complete bake.

Lindsay said...

I know breastfeeding makes me constantly hungry, so I can't even imagine what my appetite will be when nursing a toddler and pregnant with the next baby! One summer snack I love and remember loving as a kid is celery with peanut butter (which is fairly easy to find all-natural versions of) and then raisins on top. You could probably substitute any kind of dried fruit on top you want. Anyway, the cool crisp celery, the high-protein peanut butter, and sweet (without HFCS!) fruity raisins make it a perfect summer treat IMO. And your 2 year old might think it's fun to put the raisins on!

Lisa C said...

Did you know that the French don't snack? I am so fascinated by the way French people eat and I want to read that book "French Women Don't Get Fat"--not that I'm worried about my weight, but I think it's awesome that they sit and eat real meals three times a day, and make it a whole experience instead of just shoving food in their mouths. I'm guilty of the later at least some of the time.

For summer I love salads and sandwiches. If I have to cook something, I prefer to do it on the stove instead of the oven. Yesterday I made a quick salad of salad greens, sunflower seeds, and craisins--there was literally no chopping in invovled, and had a leftover meat and cornbread casserole on the side. But you could just cook up a chicken breast or fish fillet real quick on the stove or throw some already-cooked beans on your salad for quick protein.

I believe that if I were willing to put in an hour of food prep every day, it would change my family's life. But I am so not there yet.

Anyway...I totally know what you mean about healthy window going out the window with pregnancy. Sometimes it's just about survival!

Sheila said...

I am getting into the habit of making sourdough crackers (http://agiftuniverse.blogspot.com/2010/06/sourdough-crackers.html) about once a week, so that I have something to munch on when I pass by the kitchen with a baby in my arms. Then I top them with different things when I have time, like cream cheese and smoked salmon (okay, that one's a big treat and I don't do it often), melted cheddar cheese (just like nachos! yum!), peanut butter, hummus, etc.

Speaking of hummus, it's ridiculously easy to make in a blender! So, I recently discovered, is pesto.

Jen said...

You might be interested in following my blog on food and kids:


Anonymous said...

I've found myself snacking more often lately but less healthy than when I was pregnant. When I was pregnant I snacked on things like almonds and yogurt. Now I'm always looking for chocolate.

I guess one non-heat dish you could try for the summer would be gazpacho - a chilled tomato soup from Spain. There are other types of chilled soups out there if the idea intrigues you.

Sybil Runs Things said...

Baby steps! We are big time snackers here. My husband is by far the worst. The man will eat like flaming hot cheetos. Blech! lol

But really, BABY steps. Pick one thing here and there to replace. You will gradually add more and it will have been a very easy transition.

As far as snacks, we pop our own popcorn on the stove. It's so yummy and good for you (if you don't cover it with butter!) We spray Braggs, sprinkle nutritional yeast and a little seasoning salt on ours. The toppings are limitless, though. Or chips and salsa. That's pretty tough to mess up.

I am glad I don't live somewhere that gets too hot (Seattle). I don't know how I would manage not using a stove that many days in a row! Can you cook things at cooler times of day and then just re-heat them for dinner? Just one thought.

Julie said...

Hi Julie. My name is also Julie and I'm a food industry reporter with the Wall Street Journal. I'm working on a story about snacking and why people do it and came across your blog posting on the topic. I'd like to speak to you for the story. If you'd be willing to, please email me at julie.jargon@wsj.com so that we can arrange to speak. Thank you.