This topic is huge. I could (might?) write several posts on it.
I was unprepared for the opinions that are out there about the best way to feed one’s family. I just figured you’d do what was right for your family, I’d do what was right for my family, and that was that. But like every single other thing when it comes to parenting, there are many opinions and many people more than happy to share their opinion. This has been the case from the moment Evy was born.
I try not to worry about them and keep on keepin’ on.
Our approach to food has been this:
- Stick as much as possible to a “real food” diet, avoiding processed foods. The best explanation of what that means can be found here.
- Avoid foods containing high fructose corn syrup/refined sugar/ingredients we couldn’t cook with at home.
- Eat homemade food as much as possible.
- Eat organic and local when we can, with a focus on the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15/Dirty Dozen list. Our CSA farm share went a long way on this point.
Despite what some people we know have implied, this isn’t a hippie diet, it isn’t a bunch of crazy rules, and it is far from a fad diet. It’s actually as basic and natural a diet as possible. It is so confusing to have this approach be met with criticism.
Ever since I became pregnant, I’ve become more intentional about what I eat. Nurturing a baby inside me, and then as a breastfeeding mom, made me think much more about what I was consuming.
When Evelyn began eating solid foods my awareness was heightened further, and as a family we became much more intentional about what we bought, cooked, baked, and consumed.
I began finding more resources to support our approach to food. Some of my favorites have been:
- 100 Days of Real Food helped me to define my approach to feeding our family and has provided incredible resources on recipes, store-bought real food, make-ahead meals, and incorporating a real food diet into our family’s lifestyle.
- Weelicious (I make a batch of Weelicious muffins with whatever veggies I have on hand just about every week – Evy loves them and they are an easy snack plus a sneaky way to get more vegetables into her).
- From Scratch Club
- Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
- Mark Bittman’s site and How to Cook Everything
- Any/all of Michael Pollan’s books
At this point we don’t have to think too much about it. We don’t stick to our guidelines 100 percent of the time, but the majority of the time we do. I have felt healthier since we began eating this way, and my skills and comfort in the kitchen have improved, not to mention my speed (cooking during naptime or while entertaining a toddler has a way of turning you into a very efficient cook!).
We’ve had some odd reactions from others as I mentioned above, and some challenges here and there, but I’ll write more about those in another post.
The bottom line is that it’s working for us. We feel good about eating a real food diet, Evy likes nearly everything we offer her, and special occasion treats are enjoyed even more because they are special. For us, eating this way just makes sense.
*Confesssion: all these food photos are from pre-kid meals. Apparently I haven’t taken any food photos since she was born…