Someone is going to get mad at me for this post. Maybe that someone is my tired, overworked mom self rolling her eyes and shaking her head at my optimistic health food loving self. In our house, the secret to eating healthy is not stocking the junk! That’s not to say we eat 100% healthy 100% of the time. I just shoved an Oreo in my pie hole while no one was looking.
To make sure we’re eating healthy and making good food decisions most of the time, I purchase these items on occasion but I DO NOT keep them in stock on our shelves. If they’re there it’s just too easy to default to these foods that are lacking in nutrients, but that our taste buds love. Particularly at times when I am tired, haven’t showered, am up against a deadline, wrangling a toddler, need to work out, haven’t done the dishes, or…. never mind, all the time.
Here’s my list of Do Not Stock items:
1) Macaroni and Cheese
Such an easy dinner that kids will almost always eat without fail. So by stocking this on your shelves it makes it SO MUCH EASIER to sub this favorite for the healthy vegetable stir fry you had planned. Do I serve this to my family on occasion? Heck yeah. And when I do I usually opt for a brand like Annie’s organic, and look at the ingredient label and select one with the fewest number of ingredients. Hint: white cheddar means no yellow coloring.
Yeah, if we kept this in our house it would be cereal for breakfast all the time, every time. And yes, I realize Cheerios are an American past time and that they’re non GMO with no high fructose corn syrup. BUT without relying on cereal as the old breakfast or snack fall back, you get to come up with more creative, real food breakfast that are better fuel for you and your littles. How about some fruit, a scrambled egg, and a slice of whole wheat toast? Yeah, it’ll take a little longer (maybe 3 minutes vs. 30 seconds) but it’s tastier, more fun, and better for you.
3) Cheddar Bunnies (and other snack crackers)
Costco sells huge variety single serve packs of these. Since I do like this brand (particularly when compared to alternatives like Cheez-Its) I have to resist the urge to buy them EVERY SINGLE TIME. The up side of snack crackers is that many kids will eat them even if they’re not hungry. And when there is food in mouths, there are quiet children. However, taking just a few extra minutes to slice some apples and cheese is more nutritions and only takes an extra minute or so of prep time. And you feel less guilty. Or maybe that’s just me.
Juice is better than soda for sure, but most juices contain lots of sugar. Natural sugar, added sugar, you name it. But if you’re serving your kids kale juice, then carry on. If a child were asked to choose between juice, milk, and water, most would choose the juice every time. And unless you’re buying organic, the fruit used in these juices may have been grown with a hefty amount of pesticides, potentially exposing your kiddos to harmful chemicals. So serve up more of the H2O, and save the juice boxes for the birthday parties and other special events.
This may be an obvious one, but who doesn’t want a sweet treat after dinner. Or lunch. Or at 10am. Having cookies in the house, even disguised as animal crackers can get ugly fast for parents and children. Kids have a sixth sense for when dessert is in the house, and if they see a full box of cookies, the world will be knocked off of its axis until all cookies have been consumed. The empty package may be demanded as proof. Plus, your children love you more when you feed them cookies. I watch my daughter beg and plead, and as I hand over that little slice of heaven she gazes into my eyes with feelings of love and adoration. But with the last bite those feelings turn to panic and desperation. It’s a vicious cycle and one you should avoid at all costs.
What do you think? Do you agree with this list? What do you avoid having in the house?