We’ve started eating healthier foods around my house. We started with the 17 day diet and have decided to stick with it, but for the sake of the kids we’re calling it just eating healthier. They were so focused on the diet that it was making us concerned, so maybe we will just menu-plan and remind them about better choices. I hope soon enough we can just call it nothing and do it naturally, but so far we’re still learning the ropes. I do have some issues with eating healthier and I wanted to share my top 5 gripes with you. I have two reasons for the share – first I want to get it out there and second I want answers/help! Anyone have anything to offer as tips that will make these items easier or better? Read and let me know!
My top 6 gripes about healthy eating
6 – Socializing with people who are not on the plan is challenging. So much of our social lives are based around food. Potluck dinners at church, soccer or tee-ball games where others brings snacks, meeting for coffee and desserts with your friends, traditional holiday foods, the ice cream man circling the block while outside playing, etc. It is hard to be the one who is different. I would assume this goes with food allergies too. I know this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but getting everyone on board is hard. I still love my Sweet Cece’s frozen yogurt, but if I go I will just make sure to get only fruit toppings. Blast you Reese’s Cup!
5- Kid’s menus are mostly junk food! I have found that most places will have at most one semi-decent option for kids. O’Charley’s has 1 option that is on plan for us – the grilled chicken. We went to a deli place this weekend and I was downright disheartened by their kid menu’s choices. My son got a cheese quesadilla and my daughter got mac ‘n cheese. As a side each got a fruit cup (that I had to pay more to add than fries or chips). There were no salad choices for kids, no grilled chicken, no fish, and nothing that wasn’t fried or laden with carbs. I assume the “healthy” choice was the sandwich. The bread looked like it was covered in butter and then placed on a grill and it had cheese and mayo on it too. Maybe I should have said – go for the sandwich but since there was no definite “winner” on the menu I just let them have what they craved.
4 – There are not many coupons for fresh foods. I am not going to say that there’s not any because I have seen some off and on. Store coupons are more normal in this arena. I have found some coupons for strawberries, apples, eggs, and milk…but not on a consistent basis. I have found that you can find deals by scouring the weekly ads (or looking at lists online) for the produce deals. I don’t; however, want to go to Kroger for fruits and milk, Publix for veggies, Food Lion for meat, Sam’s Club for eggs and yogurt, Aldi for string cheese, and Target for other meats, etc. Who has that sort of time? Also gas prices are going up so unless I’m biking to them and spending a whole night or weekend on it – I am going to have to pay more and just handle it. I guess price matching may work, but since I don’t have a Wal-Mart close by I have never tried price-matching produce. Does it work? Anyone know? Oh and if I go to Wal-Mart I’m totally not going to use the valet – I need those steps!
3 – Schools reward children with candy. I told my child’s teacher about our new eating plan just to share how well we’ve been doing! Chee has been spot on and has handled it all beautifully and I am proud of her. I told her teacher that we’re not calling it a diet but we are trying to reduce sugar and simple carbs and follow the guidelines that I read about in the book. She then said, “at home you are” and I thought it was strange and asked what she meant. She said she’s doing great at home, but at school we have M&Ms for doing our nightly reading, Starburst for doing our sight words, cookies for sitting quietly on days when we have to focus, cupcakes for birthday parties at school, and we have ice cream day coming up in a week after our mother’s day party (with treats). What the heck???? Really? I know birthdays happen and I’ve already had to reassure her that it was ok and not being bad or cheating to eat it with her friends. What I didn’t realize is she was being offered candy all day long. I’m amazed she’s done as well at home as she has. I thought we were off our sugar cravings because we were eliminating it. Well, it turns out that the kids are still getting theirs at school. Both of them. I’m glad we’ve been eliminating it at home and it makes me happy that I found this out. Before they’d be like, “Can we have a treat?” all pitiful like and I’d say ok just one. I didn’t realize it was likely the 4th or 5th one of the day. I do hear my 2nd grader doesn’t get anywhere near as many as the kindy kids do, but wow. Mix the candy with the not-so-healthy lunches offered and no wonder we have issues.
2 – Fast Food and healthy eating do not mix. I have found the only place I can go get fresh fruits and veggies while not at home is the grocery store. I wonder why Kroger doesn’t just have a drive-thru for that. “Yes, I’ll take an apple, an egg scrambled with just cooking spray, and some hot green tea with splenda to go, thanks!” Seriously have you tried to go out to eat not at a sit-down restaurant ever while trying to eat cleaner? Staying on plan is crazy hard while traveling. And by traveling I can mean spending the day at the mall. I have found that whether it’s a vacation, road trip, or a few hours away from a fridge – it’s hard! I am guessing that any fresh eating fast food would go under because they would cost a fortune to buy fresh, prepare properly, and serve in a timely manner. It’s a sad state that we’re living in when you have to drive to the next town over or go to Subway (again) for a salad. I realize many places offer salads and I could just have that but again back to #4 – they have nothing for the kids either.
1- Prep time and clean up takes forever! This is by and far the most noticeable one. I have never spent as much time in the kitchen as I have the past few weeks. Before this new adventure we could just throw something together last minute for dinner if we didn’t plan ahead. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, frozen pizza, Spaghetti – we could just raid the freezer or pantry and we could have a hot and ready meal in minutes! Now meals must be pre-planned so that the proper ingredients can be bought before they will spoil. Lettuce seems to last a little longer than other fresh items, but we have witnessed an eggplant go bad in as few as 2 days after we brought it home. Oh you bet I returned that bad boy to Kroger for another (which I cooked that night), but seriously – it takes dedication. Tomatoes make a cutting board mess, eggs every morning dirties a pan, we have forks, spoons, pots, pans, plates, bowls, and more that need washing like all the time. It’s enough to make you dream of skillet meals and frozen pizza because at least they were done and easy to clean. This, oh this is one of the major issues – prep-time and clean-up how I loathe you. Infinity.
Sorry for my rant, but I feel a tiny bit better. I don’t know if it’s good or bad to feel this way. It’s a new realization but also not so new. I know that it’s much cheaper and easier to eat fast food. What I didn’t realize until now is that it was really doing us a lot of harm. I sound like a health food junkie, huh? I’m not. I’d love to just have my ice cream & pizza and call it a day. I’d love to not have the threat looming over my children of type 2 diabetes or heart issues because of the junk they’ve been eating.
I’m sure this won’t win me a lot of fans and I’m sorry if it makes you mad. It makes me mad too. Mad that I (we) have to deal with it. Mad that I’m aware. Mad that I waited until now to do something about it. And mad that I had to.