No-packaged foods September (postmortem)
Last year in September, we had Sugar Awareness Week around our house. I figured a rough guide of how much added sugars is okay in a day (about 4 servings was my figure), made up a chart of choices, and tried it out.
…we’re not looking to make their lives miserable or tedious; we want to educate them about sugar and get them eating healthier, in a way that’s easy to understand and sustain.
That went really well, and had a good overall effect on the kids’ food education.
This year, sincerely coincidentally, I got concerned about our eating habits again. This time (what with my all my running, and reading about “vegetarian, plant-based meals”), it’s about packaged foods. I drink way too much diet soda. The boys revel in packaged chips, candies, cookies, hot dogs, and more. Crunchy hippie food seems better, in general: fewer preservatives, less weird stuff (like odd emulsifiers and artificial or high fructose sweeteners), and so on.
So I proposed…er, actually, I mandated No-packaged foods September. Not the catchiest title, but I’m a DBA, not a PR machine. For the last month, we’ve been avoiding almost all packaged foods, just as one might avoid a political argument at work. By “packaged foods”, I don’t mean anything that comes from a store…we’re not self-sustaining farmers, here. But we basically only bought ingredients. Things like milk, bread, eggs, flour, butter, cheese, that sort of thing. Even peanut butter was okay, as we get the kind that has this ingredient list: “Peanuts, salt”. And of course chocolate. I’m not making the kids go completely without chocolate.
Oh yeah, I tried the kids on shredded wheat cereal, because “Ingredients: Wheat.” That went over okay, but they quickly switched back to other breakfast foods. The school has a “no nut” policy, which makes things a little difficult (no PB&J!)…so I tried them on sunflower seed butter, and they love that. Oh yeah, and we’ve all become sort of addicted to home mixed trail mix. My favorite is a good mix of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, and dried California apricots. Eric can even bring no-nut trail mix to school (sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, and chocolate chips). He loves it.
We didn’t go 100%…we made the occasional exception (like the weekend trip to Top Pot Doughnuts), and certain things were unreasonable. E.g., “Yes, we can make crackers. No, I don’t have time to make crackers today, after working and shopping and cooking three meals and cleaning up and making bread…I’ll buy the freaking crackers.” Again, we’re trying to make a change, not to be completely inflexible. We did make our own meals, bread, pasta, soups, desserts, etc etc. It’s been kind of a delicious month. But then, it usually is around here.
The month draws to a close. I will keep on pushing the non packaged foods. But I’ll also let the kids pick out some cereal for tomorrow, and Kraft mac n cheese. They’ve missed some things, and that’s okay.
Things I’d like to remind myself:
- From our 2013 Sugar Awareness Week, we have a goal of <45 grams of sugar per day, per kid.
- This World Health Organization article recommends 400g of veggies daily, for adults.