Monday, March 8, 2010
Navigating the grocery store - Part Two (of trillions)
Around and around I go on food issues – not unusual. I am MOST concerned about pesticides, hormones and chemicals in the packaging of food. I also vacillate over my distrust of dairy vs. my kids’ need for calcium, my own preference for vegetarianism vs. they ‘right’ amount of safe protein for their little bodies, etc. It is never-ending.
For now, this is a list of some things that I am comfortable buying weekly. As I learn more, this list is subject to change!
· Barilla Plus pasta – I actually cannot find this at Whole Foods! The kids love it, and I love the significant amounts of protein, fiber and
omega-3 fatty acids. ALA
· Organic pasta sauce (as long as it is in a glass jar)
· Earth’s Best baked chicken nuggets with whole grain breading
· Nathan’s Alpha-Tots baked French Fries
· Alexia Sweet Potato French Fries
· Organic ketchup (I’m on the hunt for a brand in glass)
· 365 Brand Four Cheese Pizza
· Van’s waffles – usually the wheat-free flax or buckwheat. This started off as a ‘mommy food’ but Anna loves them! I noticed that they voluntarily recalled some wheat-free pancakes that actually DID contain gluten – I didn’t love seeing that, but I am sticking by this brand.
· Organic milk – we alternate between 1% and 2% for our 2 and ½ year olds.
· Greek yogurt
· Organic lettuce
· Hormone-free cheese, turkey from the deli – all of Whole Foods’ deli items are hormone-free (or so I have been told repeatedly – and I double-check, repeatedly). The cheese is cheaper than packaged ‘singles’, plus you avoid the additional plastic wrapper.
· Hormone-free, free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free (whew!) chicken and meats. I prefer to buy meat at Whole Foods – most (all?) of their meat meets my hormone-free requirement, and there is a high turnover so it is always fresh.
· Fresh veggies + 365 Brand frozen (no cans).
· Thin rice cakes – they are more like crackers and a big hit here.
· Hummus! The girls love it.
· Earth’s Best Apple cereal bars – ok, this isn’t exactly at the top of the ANDI index, but they love them and they are less preservative-laced than the competitors.
So, see? I am not that ambitious really. A lot of these are convenient, quickie foods. I know that I’d save the most money and probably get the highest health benefit if I concentrated on trying to make everything from scratch – but I’m still learning to cook things that are both kid- and husband-friendly. Cooking at all is an event – kids running around in circles, begging to stir, while I yell ‘Hot! No touch!’ over and over... This is still a work in progress.
All of this said, although I try to stick to certain guidelines the majority of the time, I don’t (try not to) freak out when we veer off course. When we order pizza from a local restaurant, I know it is not hormone-free cheese, not organic sauce, not whole grain crust etc – since we do it rarely, that is ok. When we go out to eat it is hard to find ANYTHING that appeals to my kids apart from fries – and since that is a rare event, that is ok too. So although I try to be strict in the grocery store, I am also trying to find balance in everything we do.
The area that concerns me most is the chemicals that we are all exposed to in just about everything we touch. I can get pretty close to BPA-free grocery shopping – until I’m handed the BPA-filled receipt. So no matter how hard we as consumers try to do the right thing, we need and DESERVE help from the organizations who are supposed to protect our health!