I recently checked out the book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” from the library.
I liked it so much, that when I found a copy at a local used book store for a few bucks, I brought it home.
This book has changed the way that I think of food.
Of course, for years, we’ve understood the importance of eating good food. However, this book has refocused my determination to feed my family the best possible meals.
Even so, I try not go overboard and get obsessed. I mean, yeah, I could ban Oreos, commercially made ice cream, and breakfast cereal permanently from our house, but I’m learning the value of moderation. Do I want my children to crave junk food because they NEVER get an occasional treat? Do I want them to hate eating at home because their friends’ houses have more interesting (to them) edibles? Do I want to be “that mom” who tells the children’s church workers, “Now, he’s not allowed to have goldfish crackers, cookies, or juice. I have a nice bag of carrot sticks for him if the other children get a snack. Oh, and I packed a stainless steel water bottle with non-chlorinated, filtered water from our home. That’s ALL he’s allowed to have.”
I do try to cook my kids excellent food. And for the most part, they love it. They can taste the difference in mom’s homemade pancakes and reheated, frozen waffles. They’ve sort of become food snobs, digging in with enthusiasm when we’ve been out of town and had to eat restaurant fare for a few days. I mean, even the kids realize that an occasional doughnut isn’t the end of the world.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma hasn’t changed a ton about our eating habits. Yet, it’s made me a little more diligent about reading the labels. My husband has pretty much quit buying soda, even when he eats out at work. Last weekend, we had a cookout and I served lemonade and iced tea. Some of our guests brought some 2 liters of soft drinks, but no one complained about the lack.
I found pancake syrup that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. I know pure maple syrup would be better, but for a family of 6, I really can’t afford that.
I bought a mixed cereal containing oats, nuts, and dried fruit, and I was shocked at how the family gobbled it up. I am planning on buying the ingredients myself and mixing that up, rather than buying boxes of commercial cereals.
These are all small changes. I’m not telling the kids that we will never buy a Coke again or indulge in Cocoa Kryspies. However, I’m beginning to think that those items need to be an occasional treat rather than something that is regular purchase.
I think in the long run, though, these small changes will add up.
I mean, when I got married, my idea of a good dinner was cooking a box of Hamburger Helper.
Now I’ve learned how nasty that stuff really is, and I’ve become a much better cook so that I don’t have to rely on boxed mixes for a quick dinner. My tastes have changed so that that stuff is no longer appealing.
It’s funny how the small changes we’ve made through the years can add up to a healthy diet.
Anyway, if you are reading this blog, I’d strongly recommend picking up the book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
That said, when you are done, you may be overwhelmed with changing the way that you and your family eat. Your children may balk at a wholesale purging of the pantry. You may not have access to raw milk and free range meat, and your budget may not support buying organic foods.
My advice to you is simple.
Make one or two changes to your diet right now.
- Start drinking more water and less soda and juice.
- Eat a salad twice a week, even if it’s not certified organic.
- Commit to reducing your dining out meals by 1 or 2 meals each month.
- Offer your kids fruit or veggies for most of their snacks rather than cookies or crackers.
- Start baking once a week to supplement your snack stash with homemade yummies.
- Learn to use a propane grill and grill a mass of chicken, beef, and pork on the weekend from which you can prepare dinners during the week. Just an hour of cooking on a Saturday or Sunday evening can provide you with meat for 3 or 4 meals.
- Simply create a meal plan for the week before the week starts. This can eliminate the annoying “What should I cook for dinner? I’m too tired to think. There’s a McDonald’s” that occurs in so many households each week. Keep in mind that some nights are busy, so plan to reheat leftovers along with a salad. Or plan to use your slow cooker on busy nights.
Small changes will add up to big changes if you look at them in the long-term. Don’t get discouraged because your eating habits are way off track. Make a few tweaks to your eating now, and revisit the issue in 6 months to tweak it again. Over the years, you will improve your eating and the health of your whole family.
What are some small changes that you have made through the years to your diet? How can you tweak your shopping, meal planning, and cooking to make your meals healthier? Where do you need to most change your food habits? Have you read the book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” ? Has it changed your eating?
Leave a comment below and let’s talk about changing our diets to improve our health and life.