Friday, May 13, 2011
Steps Toward Eating Healthier
For several years now our family has been on a journey toward eating healthier. Its something I think about often and spend quite a bit of time working on. I go through stages including being inspired, frustrated, lazy, successful, and more. It helps to take a look back and realize how far we've come. I'm definitely still learning quite a bit and trying to feed my family the best I can.
Here are some steps along the road to eating healthier. They are not in any particular order, and certainly not to be taken all at once. Some of these we have been successful at and others we are still working on. Many of the steps have several components to them. Please feel free to comment at the end with your own thoughts and steps you've taken. Lets encourage each other!
- Choose healthy drinks. We've been making homemade sodas with our SodaStream machine. (ginger ale and cream soda are both amazing!) We also use a Berkey water filtering system to make sure that our water is pure. Homemade lemonade is easy to make as a treat from time to time. We've been buying Bolthouse Farms juices, not organic, but Ross will take these to work which is much better than soda. At home, Ross enjoys drinking tea with local honey in it to help prevent seasonal allergies.
- Stop using canned foods. I've done too much research on Bisphenol-A to ever eat from a can again. Ok, sometimes, but very rarely. I rehydrate dried beans and put them in the freezer. Instead of canned diced tomatoes I use fresh. During tomato season I chop up tomatoes and freeze them for use in recipes. We use frozen or fresh vegetables instead of canned. I buy spaghetti sauce and salsa in glass jars.
- Eliminate the "whites". Switch from white bread, white flour, and white rice to whole grains and brown rice. My family doesn't care for strong wheaty tasting things so I've been using a grain mill to grind our own flour. I can make lighter tasting foods that are still whole grain by using Kamut, spelt, or white whole wheat. King Arthur also makes a white whole wheat flour that you can purchase. We've had to get used to the slightly chewier brown rice taste (and the longer cooking time), but that is all we use now (this recipe is super easy). Quinoa is another great tasting grain we enjoy. We use brown rice pasta now in place of other pastas. I've also made homemade wheat noodles for our chicken soup. Here is my easy homemade tortilla recipe that my whole family loves.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. We enjoy fresh fruits and veggies from our farmer's market in the summer. We don't do as well with this in the winter months when things aren't in season here, I need to work on this. (Roasted root veggies is a good winter recipe though.) I've been making veggie purees to add to certain dishes because Julia has a really hard time with eating veggies. Pureed carrots can be hidden in spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, smoothies, and more. Frozen fruit smoothies are another good way to sneak things in to our diet (spinach, ground flax seed, etc). Spring is a fun time to try sprouting (scroll down on that page a bit), a very nutritious additive to salads.
- Stop eating processed foods. This is another big one, and involves being in the kitchen a bit more. Granola bars, fruit leather, granola cereal, and more can all be easily made at home, allowing you to control the ingredients and eliminate junky chemicals and preservatives. My family loves the granola bars that I make and wouldn't even think of buying store bought anymore!
Okay, I'll stop there for now. I'm working on another post with tips on how to do this all. Remember, "one thing at a time"! What are some successes you have had along your journey toward eating healthier?