Friday, August 5, 2011


I've been thinking about our diet a lot lately. I'm pretty good about what I cook and prepare for dinner, and I limit consumption of the really bad stuff. But I'm sick of falling back on bread and Cheerios every time I run out of stuff to feed the kids at lunch.

I'm not anti-wheat or grains, but I do think we eat too much of them. With picky kids, it's so much easier to have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch than it is to cook something and have them turn up their noses at it. What I need to do is start cooking larger evening meals. Lately they've been eating enough at dinnertime that there aren't enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

What I would love is to have all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand all the time. They will both gladly eat fruit until they pop. And kale and broccoli are favorites with both kids. But these things get expensive. I won't buy broccoli at regular price, so I have to wait until it goes on special. And they're much less enthusiastic about frozen veggies.

If I could find a way to get cheap, good vegetables regularly, I would completely eliminate bread and other starchy foods from our diet until the kids finally gave in and started eating better foods. Again, I'm not against breads and grains, but if it's available, it seems like it's all they'll eat.

Our grocery store next door has very cheap produce, but it's not great quality. There's a Sunflower Market a bit farther away, and I love it, but the prices are only good when things are on special. Gardening isn't possible with our apartment setup (even our patio is in shade for about 23 hours a day). I really want to find an actual farmer's market in the area, but I don't know where to look (Google has been unhelpful, but I lack Google-fu). Help?

Also! Make-ahead snacks for all of us. Things I can make in large quantities without spending an entire day ignoring my children. For instance, I read somewhere a while ago about dry-roasted peas, but I don't know how to make them, and I can't find them in any stores. I'd love to have a few different snacks on hand where, if I want to spend the day out with the kids, I can grab a couple baggies, fill them up, and go. Ideas?

This has really been nagging at me for the last few days. I'm not sure why. I just feel like we need to make a change, but I'm not sure how it's feasible, both financially and time-wise.


  1. I hope you find a good farmer's market! In my experience, the farmer's markets that I've been to sell food for a lot more than the grocery store, and most of it is "weird" vegetables (collard greens, lentils) or stuff that is processed (breads, jams) and more expensive than buying the same at the grocery store. There aren't any grocery stores in my town at all (something about the tax rate or zoning issues), but there's one not too far away that has great produce, so I just go there.

    I also don't worry as much about the price, figuring it's worth it to get them to eat the stuff. So for "quiet time snacks" (snacks that my oldest is allowed to take from the fridge during quiet time without asking), I do cut-up apples (treated with lemon juice so that they won't brown), cucumber slices, carrot slices, lettuce, grapes, in-season fruits like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.

  2. Hey, I love this web site for finding things in my area. Check it out for farmers market times and locations.

  3. +1 internets for the sentence "I lack Google-fu"

    We actually buy a lot of produce at Sam's club.

    I don't know how far these guys are from you but they look close: is open saturdays (check it out tomorrow!) and (that last one has garden plot rental that you might want to check out for next year).

    For snacks... I'm not hot at veggie snacks, but I'm better at protein snacks. One thing we pick up at Sam's are these packets of edamame (soybeans). You throw them in the microwave for 3 minutes, cool them for a couple minutes, and go to town. 2.0 will need help shelling them though. Also sunflower seeds are good.

    If you can't figure out anything that makes you completely happy, you can at least compromise. Some improvement is better than no improvement, right? The veggie straws from Sensible Portions (avail at Sam's at a decent price, at Walmart at a higher price) are family faves. They're starchy, but you are getting at least some veggies. I also like Terra Chips. There's no getting around the fact that they're expensive, but they do go on sale and you can find coupons in the Sunday paper. (original [exotics] and sweet potato ones are good, although one time I bought the sweet potato ones and they were overcooked.)

    I buy individual portions of applesauce and the baby sized canned peaches packed in juice (not syrup) and the mixed fruit in lite syrup. It's not fresh, but it's also not froot loops. Again, with the buying at Sam's - I can get 24pks for about 7-10 bucks (not sure exactly).

    I asked my husband the cook, and he said bell peppers sliced thin, cucumber slices...
    around here, again at Sam's, you can get a 3-lb bag of Bolthouse Farms baby carrots for $4, and in my experience, their carrots are consistently good-tasting and long-lasting (they don't get slimy or dry out as long as you reseal the bag). IIRC they may even be organic, so that's a really good price. I never thought I'd care about what brand of baby carrots I buy, but believe me, there's a difference in the taste!

    Like penguins above, there are some things I just buy no matter how expensive they are. Bananas, baby carrots. Blueberries are my daughter's #1 favorite food; my kids can decimate a pint of blueberries in a single sitting. Gets expensive in the winter, so I usually buy a pint a week during that time, and give them more grapes (btw grapes in the freezer and taken along in a baggie can be a nice cold snack when it's hot out). But right now everyone's running specials of BOGO or $2 or less pints, so we go through 2-3 pints of blueberries a week.

    We also give our kids canned olives. Lots of salt, but at least it's not greasy potato chips, right?

    Ultimately I don't know that I've been a lot of help, but that's what we do at our house, and maybe it'll spur some ideas. Good luck!

  4. oh - ahem, about the applesauce and stuff... it's hard to take along in the car, but ohhhhhh soooo easy to plunk in front of the kid at lunch time.