Compromising Our Whole Foods Diet

Tonight we’re hosting Elias’ 9th birthday party. 

You know how our house is always full of boys? Tonight there are even more of them. Right now they are all running around shooting each other with laser guns and Nerf guns and somehow I think there is a hallway basketball game going on at the same time. Now that takes talent.

We always let the birthday boy choose his party food. He usually takes into consideration what he thinks his buddies will like. And, surprise – surprise, he usually doesn’t choose “Tossed Salad” or “Spinach Smoothies”.

I was recently asked by one of you (but for the life of me I can’t find the comment to quote it exactly):  “Laura, can you tell us what foods you will occasionally buy at the store for convenience…and which foods you will NEVER buy?”

This probably doesn’t answer that question as specifically as the commenter was wishing for, but well…here’s what I bought for Elias’ birthday party dinner tonight…

If that’s not a compromise I don’t know what is.

I have to say that it was more than a little bit painful pulling them off of the freezer shelf and paying actual money for them. Incidentally, I also had TWO GALLONS worth of vodka in my cart on this shopping trip as we’re getting ready to start yet another big round of Homemade Vanilla Extract. Yep, it looked like one BIG party in my shopping cart tonight. ;)

The pizza rolls were Elias’ choice and while the ingredient list is longer than my hand (I am not even kidding), I have to say that it was a nice relief to just throw them in the oven and put out some paper plates and call it dinner. Besides, I was in the middle of baking his birthday cake and getting Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls ready for tomorrow’s breakfast for all the boys. The ease of dinner (if we can actually call it dinner) was really nice.

Here’s why I feel okay (not great, but okay) about buying and feeding my family these pizza rolls tonight:  We eat a really healthy diet about 357 days of the year. On those other few days or moments of the year when we are traveling, eating with others, hosting parties, going to parties or attending any event that has a meal comprised of chips and candy…we go with the flow. We don’t act all “weirded out” about the fact that we’re being served food that doesn’t meet our normal healthy eating criteria. If I’m offered Nacho Cheese Doritos at a get-together, you better believe I’m going to have a few and I’m going to enjoy myself.

We try not to go over-board and pig out because yikes…our tummies aren’t used to eating that kind of stuff. But we really cannot be enslaved by healthy eating.  Being paralyzed by these fears can be unhealthy in and of itself.  Compromising used to be a huge fear of mine, especially when I was first learning about what was healthy and what was SCARY and unhealthy. But I’ve “come down off the ledge” and realized that a few crazy junk foods here and there are not going to kill us. Especially when we follow it up as soon as possible with good, wholesome, nutrition-filled foods.

Which we will, by the way…tomorrow.  Those spinach smoothies will be making their appearance.

And for the record, while there are many things I just close my eyes and compromise on occasionally…I will never, ever knowingly or willingly purchase or eat margarine. Can’t do it. Won’t do it. Can’t even think about it.

Blech. Helgpaht. Mliiegylk. Pgvughhha.

Eeek, I get very gaggy when it comes to the thought of the yellowed tub of chemically created fatty-fattness spread that we’re told is better than rich cream whipped into golden goodness…otherwise known as REAL butter.

But a pizza roll or a Dorito…yeah…I’ll eat one here and there. That doesn’t even make sense does it?

So what types of “food” will you compromise on sometimes?  And which “foods” make you screw up your face and say Helgpaht-blephln?

Comments

  1. Amy says

    Laura, I am so encouraged to hear this. I think we have to be careful that eating healthy does not become an idol in our lives. I feel strongly that God has called us to love Him and love people and we have to be careful that we love others well in how we handle the foods they serve us. Thanks for sharing this!!!

    [Reply]

  2. says

    Really good post! I’m just starting my healthy eating journey, and definitely need to be talked off the ledge right now lol! Eventually I’ll find the balance between healthy eating, and not freaking out when my kids eat candy at grandmas-but right now it’s a bit tricky finding that calm :)
    I totally agree with you on margarine-yuck yuck yuck! We eat lunch at my in-laws on Sundays,and they use margarine. It’s very hard to watch my kids and hubby smother their bread with it, but I bite my tongue because it would be rude of me to say anything…..though I may discretely sneak some butter into their fridge ;)

    [Reply]

  3. says

    Couldn’t agree more with this post- can totally relate!
    Sometimes ya just gotta compromise, especially at relatives’ homes where turning down certain food items would seriously harm family relations. I will eat the “green bean casserole” served with loads of MSG-soup in it, as well as the occasional hand full of potato chips.

    But margarine is definitely a NO WAY, and so is anything with artificial sweeteners or aspartame. In my mind, those are pretty much straight poison and very, very gag-worthy. ;)

    [Reply]

  4. says

    Good points! I cannot willingly or knowingly eat MSG. Nope. I make the same noises you make about margarine. :-)

    We do, however, do the occasional not-so-great vegetable oil (corn, for instance) in a potato chip, or food from restaurants even thought we don’t know *exactly* what’s in it, and we probably eat more noodles than we should. But we do what we can do! We’re still on our journey, and sometimes there are stops at convenience stores. :-)

    [Reply]

  5. says

    we still go through days of not eating so well. Just tonight was one of them. I was so busy with bettering my chickens home (not an actual coop, but they live in a 10×20 canopy) and didn’t make a darn thing today or clean a single inch of the house…so tonight was a bad food night when we ran out after my hubby got home and helped a little with the chickens…hate to admit it was fast food, but I know now that it *really* isn’t all the time that we eat that garbage. Tomorrow will be back to homemade honey whole wheat bread and hashbrowns for breakfast and whatever I decide to make homemade and organic for dinner :-)

    [Reply]

  6. Renee says

    Great post! After being raised in a house where we ate “healthy” (many processed foods…including strictly margarine)all the time at all costs, I’m very aware that I don’t want my children to feel deprived becuase I’m overly concerned about every single bite. I’d much rather they know how to politely accept and eat what is being offered to them at a friend or family’s dinner table, than stick to our general food habits.

    That said, during our last visit, my mom noticed that I don’t put anything on my pancakes or waffles anymore. I’ve decided they taste just fine without being smeared with plastic and doused in high fructose corn syrup, thank you very much! (I did NOT say that to my mother.) At my home there’s plenty of butter and maple syrup on top of breakfast.

    [Reply]

    Holly in Virginia Reply:

    I hear you about the margarine and syrup on pancakes. I always ask for
    jam. I feel much better about that sugar-laced jam (and a tiny bit goes
    a long, long way) than I do about the corn syrup and refined chemical spread.

    [Reply]

  7. Carmen says

    I love the 2 gallons of vodka for vanilla! Most of my friends said I was nuts a couple of weeks back when I had ONE gallon of vodka sitting on the counter, waiting for vanilla beans. Although… my babysitter did say that mine is the only family in which she can be watching little ones play around on the floor, and have five bottles of vodka sitting on the counter… and not think anything of it!

    [Reply]

  8. says

    This is encouraging! There are so many of us out “here” who want so badly to do what you do but are just at a place where we can’t. We either have very limited income, very limited resource or in my case both. Oh and there are lots of other factors! I have beaten myself up over it in the past! But I honestly try to do my best in feeding my family well with the money my husband makes and the resources that are available to us. And I’m continuing to make changes when I can! I’ve learned to relax a little because there are WAY more important things that need my attention. And like someone said, healthy eating can become an idol. God is in charge of my body. Yes, I am to take care of it but He is sovereign. He knows my heart and desire to feed my family well. More than healthy eating, I want my children to love God and know God. What am I feeding their soul?

    One of our favorite compromises (and we do have a few) is Chick Fil A! Yum!

    [Reply]

  9. Amy Clark says

    Hi, Laura! Strangely, I’m hosting my daughter’s 9th birthday party tonight! Thankfully, she asked for “mommy’s homemade pizza and a big green salad.” Escaped a compromise here, tonight! :)

    On another note, in Rhode Island, they can’t sell liquor in the grocery market. So I have to go INTO THE LIQUOR STORE to get mine. My husband (Pastor Robert Clark), has been less than thrilled with you since that time. :)

    [Reply]

    Holly in Virginia Reply:

    Same thing here in Virginia! Must go to the liquor store for hard liquor.

    [Reply]

  10. says

    I compromise on refined grains (i.e. white flour), but I will not compromise on genetically modified foods because I’m against cloning and think that gm foods are an insult to God, the Creator.

    Anyone interested in avoiding gmo’s: the main gm products are corn, cotton, canola, soy, and sugar beets. Over 87% (if I remember the number correctly) of those crops in the US are gem.

    [Reply]

  11. bakingmama says

    S’mores … how do you get a healthy s’more? Do you know that marshmallows contain blue food coloring? Why? They’re white! Just don’t know how to do these healthy so we make them traditionally whenever we have a campfire. I really believe the whole foods (grains, veggies, etc.) with all their fiber help to get the toxic “stuff” out of our systems quickly, whereas if we eat all refined food, it sits in our “guts” sometimes for days! I try to make sure when we have to compromise with junk, that we are surrounding it with good, high-fiber foods! (-:

    [Reply]

    charlotte Reply:

    @bakingmama: you can make your own homemade marshmallows without
    sacrificing any of the flavor. In fact, if you do choose to make them
    homemade, I sincerely doubt you’d go back to store bought ever again.
    Here’s a link to truly homemade marshmallows, I found it at
    http://www.mediocrechocolate.com:

    Homemade Marshmallows with NO Corn Syrup
    by Anna at Mediocre Chocolate

    2 tbsp (13g) gelatine
    1/2 cup cool water

    2 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cup water
    2 tbsp honey
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    (may substitute any extract here)

    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    2 tbsp cocoa, optional

    In a small bowl, stir together corn starch and powdered sugar, and cocoa if using.
    Prepare a pan: Spray a large casserole or rimmed cookie sheet with spray and spoon in some of the powdered sugar mixture, turning the pan to coat it evenly.
    Combine cool water and gelatine in work bowl of mixer or very large bowl.
    In a heavy saucepan, combine water, sugar, honey and salt. Bring to rolling boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer registers 238-240, firm ball stage. (You may find it helpful to brush down the sides of the pan with water to help prevent crystallization, but the honey does a pretty good job of that.)
    Turn on mixer at low speed. Slowly pour hot syrup into bowl, taking care not to splatter sugar all over yourself. Mix until thoroughly combined, and then turn mixer to high. Beat until very thick, fluffy and lukewarm, about 12-15 minutes with a stand mixer. Add vanilla beans or extract towards the end of mixing.
    Spread evenly into prepared pan, and let cool at least 3-4 hours before slicing.
    To slice, remove entire sheet of mallows to a cutting board. Grease a very sharp knife or scissors, and cut into desired size. Toss with remaining powdered sugar mixture until all sides are evenly coated and no longer sticky. Will keep in an airtight container at room temperature about 2-3 weeks.

    [Reply]

    bakingmama Reply:

    Thanks for the recipe! We’ll have to give this a try sometime!

    [Reply]

  12. says

    I totally agree in theory with the concept of not going ‘crazy’ over food. But every time I give in, my daughter gets asthma-like symptoms and/or she becomes naughty, grumpy and unbearable for up to a week. I feel it’s not right for me to allow her to become that way. My son, on the other hand, becomes mildly annoying for a few hours and then is over it. I almost always get constipated for a few days and get super grumpy and hormonal.
    So I think it depends on what happens after processed foods are eaten by a person, and that is different for each one of us. I know God is not glorified if I have no self-control with my kids, and unfortunately, that seems to be greatly controlled by what I eat. So I’m finding ‘balance’ hard to figure out right now. As for my son, I think the balance is just like Laura said. Don’t go crazy. But for my daughter and myself, I’m not convinced that principle is right.

    [Reply]

    Randi Reply:

    I think you’re absolutely right!

    [Reply]

  13. says

    I compromise on white flour as well and not very often. I make homemade pizza and my hubby loves the white stuff. We have it once a month and I don’t feel too bad about it because I know it’s better than frozen or take out. I also put together a junk box for my hubby for Christmas, with his favorite junk food (plus some homemade trail mix and oatmeal). He takes the stuff to work and keeps it in is snack drawer. I will buy soda as well but only HFCS FREE soda so I guess thats a compromise.

    [Reply]

  14. says

    I am pretty adamant about making sure our family eats non-processed, made from scratch food, but when we are at someone’s house, I check my opinions at the door. I saw how my own grandmother alienated everyone by preaching her unsolicited opinions all the time, and I don’t want that to happen to me. I think this is a great post to remind me of the value of compromise, and I especially agree with people above who mentioned that healthy eating can become an idol. Good thoughts all around today. I have to say, however, that I will do just about anything short of insulting my hostess in order to avoid eating processed cheese food. GAG. And I have discovered that I can’t eat MSG anymore–gives me migraines.

    [Reply]

  15. Bethany says

    I love this post because it reminds me that you do have to compromise sometimes and it won’t kill you – hopefully. :) I will not buy margarine anymore… it makes me feel ill to think about how people I love eat it thinking it’s healthy…
    One thing I compromise on that I’d LOVE to have a healthy alternative for: Velveeta cheese. You know, the big 1 lb. block that you use to make Rotel dip. My family loves Rotel dip (me, too!) so I’d feel a lot better if I had a non- msg, fat, gunk – laden option for dip.

    [Reply]

    melanie Reply:

    I make nacho dip out of cheese sauce… basically add shredded cheese to a gravy.
    Gravy for me may or may not have any ‘beef’ or ‘chicken’ flavor or broth added — all it really needs is some salt (okay, plenty of salt ;-)) I use my fresh whole wheat flour to thicken. So the ingredients are all ‘approved’ by me. ‘Better’ cheese would be good, but it’s still a far cry from velveeta, which I just.. can’t.. buy.. any.. more.

    My hubby likes the chips just topped with shredded cheese and warmed
    in the oven too – yummylicious! Just add salsa.

    [Reply]

    Meredith Reply:

    We have used organic american cheese slices in place of Velveeta in a
    broccoli rice casserole that we serve at Thanksgiving sometimes. It is
    a bit pricey, but it works, and it’s only for a special occasion. Maybe
    you could make a white sauce from scratch and then melt those kinds of
    slices in easier than regular cheddar? HTH :)

    [Reply]

  16. Julia says

    I agree margarine is nasty. So is Cool Whip. So many people use it and think it is so much healthier. Gag! I much prefer REAL whipped cream.

    [Reply]

    Julia Reply:

    I also forgot to say cream of anything soup. I can not and will not eat anything that contains them.

    [Reply]

    sara Reply:

    I make my own cream of anything soup-there’s a few recipes that I
    ‘think’ are better options than buying it already made up.

    [Reply]

  17. Leah says

    So a question. My son has a milk protein allergy and there is NO WAY I’m going to make 2 separate meals, snacks, etc. (there are only so many hours in the day) so we all are basically dairy free by default. I do all my baking with Earth Balance soy free margarine (which is not hydrogenated and tastes pretty ok). Anyway, I cook nearly everything from scratch because I have to. Soooo much pre-packaged food has milk in it. So here is my hang-up. How do you do have a real whole foods diet without milk?

    [Reply]

    sara Reply:

    Do you have coconut milk allergies? I just cut out drinking cow’s milk,
    and I’ve started using coconut milk as a cooking/baking substitute.
    It’s worked fine so far. We also just started using almond milk to
    drink, and that stuff is great!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve been giving this thought lately because my nephew has been diagnosed with an allergy to dairy. I would recommend coconut milk – and in place of butter – coconut oil!! If I had to give up butter, I would use coconut oil instead for just about everything. I also love the Palm Shortening I get from Tropical Traditions, which would give you another option for frying/baking.

    And, I’d also like to take a moment to say – having a child with a milk allergy would be SO HARD!! Again, I’ve been giving this thought because of my nephew’s diagnoses and WOW I’d have to change so much about how I cook! Blessings to you as you deal with this!

    [Reply]

    Katie A. Reply:

    We have the same problem here. My twenty month old is allergic to the
    protein in milk. I have been experimenting with using palm oil and
    coconut oil for baking. I’m not sure if there are any other good
    options. We also use the Earth Balance soy free margarine. I guess
    we just do the best we can. The main thing is keeping our little ones
    healthy.

    [Reply]

    Katrina Reply:

    You really can! I second the coconut milk and oil, organic palm
    shortening but would also add use lots of olive oil. We have both a
    milk protein and a corn allergy in our family so most packaged food is
    out for us too. I use orange juice or almond milk in place of milk
    for things like pancakes, biscuits, cornbread (or quinoa bread)…
    Coconut milk makes great ice cream…If you want some recipes ideas
    or help converting recipes, I’m happy to help. tintedblack(at)
    gmail.com The key is getting enough recipes you like in your arsenal
    that you don’t even realize you’re eating dairy free anymore.

    I do sometimes miss cheese though!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    My husband has a dairy allergy so I work to get around it. He doesn’t care for coconut oil b/c he can taste it. What brand of oil do you use? Does palm shortening have a flavor or is it fairly flavorless?

    He’s working on perfecting coconut milk ice cream. I’d appreciate learning any tips you can offer. The last batch was not very creamy at all.

    Also a factor for us is that our son has a nut allergy so nut milks are not a plausible substitute.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Katrina Reply:

    I don’t use the highest quality coconut oil. LouAna (bought at Walmart)
    It doesn’t have the nutritional value of organic, but it hardly has
    flavor.

    Really I use more olive oil than anything else-extra virgin
    when I want flavor, light when I don’t.

    I’ve used the palm shortening for pie crusts with success. I didn’t notice
    a flavor but that could be because I’m used to it.

    For ice cream I use the canned coconut cream or milk (not light). It
    seems to be thicker than the kind sold for drinking. I follow a
    regular custard style ice cream recipe with eggs but substitute the
    cream with coconut cream. I also add 2 tsp of arrowroot powder.
    This helps keep ice crystals from forming. Its not the same creamines
    as store bought dairy ice cream but I’ve had no complaints here.

    Good Luck!

    esther Reply:

    There’s always ghee. It’s pricy or you can make it yourself.

    [Reply]

    Holly in Virginia Reply:

    yes ghee! Clarified butter for those who don’t know what it is. All
    milk solids are cooked out, so no milk proteins to react to!

    [Reply]

    Susan Alexander Reply:

    Leah, I too compromise with soy free Earth Balance because my little girl has milk allergies. I don’t love it, but I’ve tried the coconut oil and the Palm Shortening and neither work in all situations for me. The Earth Balance allows us to eat “normal” food and I consider it a small compromise.

    I also cook with half whole wheat and half white flour – partly because it cooks better, but also partly because from my reading, I actually think it’s at least as traditional as all whole wheat flour.

    I personally don’t stress overly about some compromise foods, either. I have a lot on my plate with a toddler and a baby and it’s only going to get more stressful when we have another baby.

    So, my rule is, do what I can and let the rest go. ;)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I was just looking up information about raw milk and it said that most people who are allergic to pasteurized and homogenized milk are not allergic to raw milk.

    [Reply]

  18. Jill O says

    Bakingmama you can purchase marshmallows that are dye free, check out your whole foods store or azurestandard.com they have them in large or mini marshmallow sizes. The brand name escapes me now- I think Elyon or something to that effect. We use them. :)

    [Reply]

  19. Hezzie says

    Salad Dressing!

    Since making our own(in a dairy-free version)from the recipe found on YOUR site, I cannot go back to the bottled Ranch dressing. It tastes, I dunno… fake and plastic-y. There’s some sort of aftertaste to it that I cannot get over. I’d go vinegar and oil before I’d go back to bottled dressing.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    Could you share your dairy free version–Thanks

    [Reply]

  20. Shawna says

    We just celebrated my dd 10 year b-day last weekend. I usually have a spread of my daughters favorites and this year I wanted to try and make it a little more healthy than the past. I used your chocolate cake recipe and I made a whipped cream frosting and decorated it with the candies you buy at the store for lettering and m&m’s (those were the two bad things) of course, the kids loved the m&m’s. I made fruit pizza with sugar cookie recipe using all good ingredients and made a whipped cream cheese frosting (delicious). I love to make my own cream cheese with yogurt. Decorated the fruit pizza with lovely fruit. I had an assortment of fresh fruit, carrots, black olives. We have to have ice cream with our cake so I bought Breyer’s vanilla and then made a punch out of Breyer’s strawberry and Sierra Mist Natural, which has sugar but no HFC. The food went over great. My daughter and others would ask if it was good for you and I was able to answer. No one said, yuck. So overall it was nice to see we weren’t missing anything and though it wasn’t something we need to eat often I felt good about the party.

    [Reply]

  21. Wendy says

    Things that make me say yuck:
    margarine
    non dairy coffee creamer
    canola oil
    white sugar
    white flour
    anything that is GMO

    I have yeast issues and my husband is type one diabetic so we eat pretty much sugar free and grain free around here, with the exception of ground flax seed. We eat lots of veggies, meats, nuts, berries/melons, some (real) dairy and healthy fats.

    [Reply]

    Randi Reply:

    Oh thank God for you! I was beginning to think I was the only one concerned about the permanent dangers of genetically modified foods! So many people just aren’t aware that their dna combines with ours when we eat it, and they don’t realize that it’s cloned either.

    [Reply]

  22. Amy says

    Thank you so much for this post! I remember on another post you mentioned that there are seasons of life where you just can’t do it all, that some things do sometimes come from a box (gasp!). I am in that season now with two small children (ages 2 and 1) and working part time. I love my job, so it is more of a hobby that I get paid for which is why I continue. That being said, it is very hard to prepare everything from scratch when I am not home all of the time. Some days I just want to quit and go back to when I bought everything. And there are days when I decide my sanity and my time with my kids is more important than making the whole meal from scratch. We do what many of your other readers do: the best we can with what we have. I’m still learning to work through my perfectionism, but I am so thankful for your balanced approach. Too many of the people I know who also prescribe to a whole foods lifestyle do not approach it with balance. That stressed me out as their friend who could never live up to that kind of standard. I so wish I could meet you and be your mentee. I live in Omaha and was surprised recently to read that you are from NE (I know, where have I been!). Maybe you could offer a contest where a reader gets to meet you and spend a day with you learning tricks and soaking up your wisdom. I would pay my own way for something like that! :) Blessings to you and your wonderful family! Oh yeah, I say yuck to soda (pop) and factory farmed chicken breasts.

    [Reply]

  23. says

    You go Laura! You’re the happy medium I have always been striving for. I am an all or nothing kind of girl working on being a 90% of the time girl : ) Thanks for the encouragement!

    Nicole

    [Reply]

  24. says

    This was such a great post! I am in a situation right now where friends and family are bringing us food. We’ve had to just say thank you(because we are truly grateful) and eat it. Most of the items are pretty healthy however I sure miss “my” cooking. On the other hand my kids are cooking more for me right now & it is good to see they know how to make the right choices in food prep. I am with you on not eating the margarine. I also avoid canned biscuits & cinnamon rolls. Love the scratch kind SO much more!

    [Reply]

  25. says

    Food should never become an issue in your marriage either. I think so many times one person gets all excited about eating healthy and tries to convince their spouse(by nagging) that it’s the right thing to do that it has the opposite effect.

    Let God do the convincing!

    [Reply]

    sara Reply:

    Very good point! I’ve been making lots of changes lately to our diets,
    but my husband is a very picky eater, and he has issues with different
    food textures (he just can’t make himself eat pasta, rice etc).
    I’ve been trying to make changes that don’t really affect him, and so
    far we’re doing good-I’ve been focusing a lot on my baking supplies
    and our fruit/veggies, so those things aren’t so noticeable (you
    can’t really tell the difference between an organic apple and a non-
    organic apple lol). The biggest issue between us so far is that he has
    a favorite cookie (it’s his grandma’s recipe), and it calls for
    shortening. I really want to get rid of using this, so I tried
    substituting it with coconut oil. My kids liked them fine, but he
    could tell the difference and was pretty unhappy. So I will probably
    keep one can of shortening around, just for his special cookies :) In
    the scheme of life, it’s not a big deal, and it makes him happy!

    [Reply]

    Susan Alexander Reply:

    Sara, have you tried palm shortening? It’s healthy and substitutes pretty good (but not perfect – as I said above)

    That said, I definitely compromise a lot because of my hubby – he is very picky and not convinced that trying to change all our foods is really that important.

    [Reply]

    sara Reply:

    I’ve never heard of palm shortening before-I’ll have to look into
    that-thanks!

    Cindy Reply:

    My husband is also a very picky eater! He won’t even taste any of the new recipes I try. My kids love the vanilla wafer and homemade poptart recipies posted here. So I just make healthy stuff for the kids and I and still make the unhealthy stuff for him once in awhile. People tell me to try to sneak healthy stuff into his food, or alter the recipes, but like Sara’s husband, he notices and is NOT happy when I’ve tried that before. I find the kids are much more accepting of new foods than he is!

    [Reply]

    Thea Reply:

    For recipes that flavor matters I will use half coconut oil and half palm shortening. It really does make a difference.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    This must be so hard. I can’t imagine. I haven’t any experience with this because I tend to be pickier about my food than my hubby. He will eat anything, no matter how awful-he doesn’t have a discerming palate. LOL. Anyhow, maybe trying to make him a part of a solution. Many men love helping fix things. Perhaps you could ask him to try to figure out a way to get your kids to eat healthier-more greens, whole wheat, whatever. If he is part of a solution, perhaps he will be more willing to eat it as an example to the kids. Just an idea. I agree with other posters about just letting time take its course. He may come around if left alone and allowed to come to terms with the changes on his own. Best wishes as you journey through this as a family!

    [Reply]

  26. Gayle says

    It always makes me feel so good to know that I’m not the only one who “compromises” here and there. I usually feel like if we eat traditional foods about 85% of the time, we’re doing really well! Like you said, when I do compromise, I still try to avoid certain things (like margarine). We get the occasional pizza or happy meal, and I usually have some bags of pretzels or goldfish in the back of the pantry in case we need a snack while we’re running out the door.

    [Reply]

  27. says

    Laura, Thanks for this post! I can’t wait to show it to my 12 year old son who cringes every time we eat anything that doesn’t fit the “real food” description. :) As a matter of fact, he prays something like this in those occasions: “Lord, we know this food isn’t the most healthy, but please help it to nourish us anyway…” Isn’t that great?!

    A few items we no longer buy: ketchup, microwave popcorn (home-popped w/ coconut oil is de-lish!), cream soups, GMO corn or corn products (tortilla chips, etc.), and breakfast cereals with ingredients we can’t pronounce. For each of these we’ve either found a “real food” alternative or come up with recipes to make our own.

    My biggest compromise is mayonnaise. I’m a Best Foods girl (Hellman’s east of the Rockies), and try as I might, I just haven’t been able to make a homemade mayo my family (or I) wants to eat. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Amber Reply:

    Here’s the homemade mayonnaise recipe I use:

    1 egg
    2 Tbsp lemon juice/white vinegar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 c oil

    Combine egg, lemon juice/vinegar, and salt in a blender. Blend to the count of 7. Add 1/4 cup of oil, cover and belnd tot he count of 7 again. If the oil is combined, you should hear a slurping sound as you remove the lid. Scrape down the sides and repeat this procedure using 1/4 cup oil at a time until all the oil is combined into the mixture.

    Hope this helps- it’s gotten my family off of Miracle Whip-yuck!

    [Reply]

    Lisa@HappyinDoleValley Reply:

    Amber, Thanks for replying! What kind of oil do you use?

    [Reply]

  28. says

    Compromise: Dh went out early this morning to get donuts, canned crescent rolls, and little smokies (sigh). Need I say more? That’s part of his love language for me and the dc and there is no way I was going to make any faces. I made a couple farm fresh eggs for me and whoever wanted some (just oldest dd still had room for eggs) but I ate the smokies and 2 crumbs, literally, of donut. I felt like I was hit by a truck later but got over it. I always tell the dc that people are more important than things.

    I really don’t compromise on the food dyes anymore – especially with youngest dd.

    About Chick-Fil-A… They just recently switched from peanut oil to *Canola* – ick! I keep meaning to write them a letter. I ate one yesterday because I had a free coupon and had sort of pretended to momentarily forget that one detail!

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    Chick-Fil-A has a lot of MSG in their food. Just wanted to let you know.

    [Reply]

  29. Amy says

    Thank you so much for this post! It came at the perfect time as my neighbor just asked me if I feel like “I am missing out” because of the healthy food I eat. This coming from a Mom who can’t justify spending money on organic products but thinks “hormone free” milk is good for her kids. I love her dearly but I had to explain to her that I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything for 2 reasons: 1 – I know what is in (actually I don’t really know what’s it is since I can’t prononuce it) the junk and 2 – I do allow myself to eat not so healthy on occasion (as I am eating a slice of pizza).

    It’s hard to say what we do and don’t allow in our house but white sugar and white flour aren’t one of them. The average American would look in our fridge/cabinet and wonder what there is to eat. I look in it and an so happy with what I see.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    I can totally agree. The problem we have is when other children come over to our home. They say our real food tastes “weird”. That is a real problem as we often have visitors and I am usually stumped as what to make for them. The average american would also look in my pantry, fridge, cupboards, and freezer and wonder where all the “food” is!!! I have lots of ingredients and I consider fast food that freezer foods I have cooked in advance!! I would like to know if anyone has some foolproof healthy recipes for kids that we would all enjoy.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    I always have Laura’s pretzels and a batch of her muffins in the freezer ready to thaw when kids come over. Even the pickiest eaters love them!

    [Reply]

    Randi Reply:

    Banana dogs: a banana in a homemade hot dog bun spread w/ peanut butter and sprinkled with coconut, nuts, raisins, etc.

    But you could always make the food “pretty” or “fun” to make them think they like it. My kids love pink cauliflower (cauliflower with a drizzle of beet juice) or anything I use a cookie cutter to cut out (cheese, sandwiches, etc.) Even if the flavor isn’t spectacular, presentation makes it more appealing.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    We just had a family over for dinner that is all white bread, very picky, especially the dad. I made pizza with whole wheat crust and homemade sauce. The kids had the cheese, dad ate the hamburger and cheese and my family and their mom had bacon and pineapple. They all loved it. Even the dad who will not eat a sandwich unless it is made with white bread.

    I also make “chicken nuggets”-chicken breasts dipped in egg whites and coated in breadcrumbs with a little spice (your choice). My kids love these!

    Laura also has a great recipe for mac n cheese on this site.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    Thanks everyone for some great ideas!!

    [Reply]

  30. Amber says

    White sugar is the worst compromise in my house- we live in a rural southeastern Arizona and I haven’t found any healthy substitutes available. I use some local raw honey, but can’t find sucanat or anything.

    [Reply]

    Danielle B Reply:

    Amazon has succanut.

    [Reply]

  31. says

    Thanks for sharing. We like to eat some quick, not very healthy food on occasion. Though I have to admit I’ve only bought Pizza Rolls once; I absolutely hated the way they tasted, and don’t plan on buying them again. But we do eat frozen pizza, sometimes I will cut them up into small pieces to be like appetizers or something.

    [Reply]

  32. karen says

    The (non)foods that make me squeamish are aerosol cheese and Cool Whip. Who thought this stuff up?

    My goal is 80% good stuff, 20% questionable. With three small children, I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. I think that my sanity is more important than making my own everything–that’s my compromise.

    [Reply]

  33. Betsey says

    We started eating more real foods a few years ago. We still compromise on a weekly donut run (father/son time) that we started when we lived in Germany (the pastries were made from scratch and much less sweet then here in the US). The boys enjoy the one on one time with Daddy, so I don’t mess with that one:) We also grab fast food on occasion.

    Things that I rarely compromise on:
    – butter – lost my appetite for margarine
    – free range, farm fresh eggs
    – whole wheat flour
    – brown rice(can’t stand the white stuff anymore)
    – and good quality sandwich cheese
    – honey and unrefined sugar

    That said, I don’t say anything when we are guests in someone’s home and my boys are allowed to indulge in moderation.

    [Reply]

  34. heather says

    Thanks for showing us a photo of what you are serving! I always have problems with other kids coming over! and it happens a lot! thankfully, my kids think my food is great. so they think the other kids are weird if they won’t eat my food. (my oldest is 8! I don’t have much longer of this!)

    [Reply]

  35. says

    That’s so funny! I have a son named Eli (close to Elias) and he turned 9 on Friday!

    On his birthday he and his brothers and sister had black bean brownies for breakfast. He took jumbo M&M cookies to share with his class. I made them but they were made with all purpose flour & white sugar. For dinner they had Lil’ Caesars pizza and cupcakes loaded with sugar. They’re little bodies are not used to sugar so I had 5 children who were absolutely bouncing off the walls. It was kind of funny to watch. :)

    We normally eat as healthy as possible, but I’m with you. Sometimes it’s ok to break the rules.

    [Reply]

  36. says

    I love my fresh tomatoes in the summer. I can’t eat a tomato from the grocery store, they have no taste. Have you seen that documentary “Food, Inc.”? I just watched it tonight. Scary!!
    Wish I could get my teenager to eat healthier. She thinks I’m weird for making my own tortilla shells.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    Check out: The world according to Monsanto, Super Size Me, and Food Matters–They are all really good and very informative–and a little more than scary!!

    [Reply]

    Randi Reply:

    Exactly! And hardly anyone knows how prevalent genetically modified (cloned) food is in the US food supply. Europe banned gmo’s in 1999, but the US keeps feeding them to unsuspecting citizens.
    http://www.SeedsOfDeception is Jeffrey Smith’s website. EVERYONE should check it out, especially if they want to eat healthy.

    [Reply]

  37. says

    Just tonight I had Diet Coke, Sprite and a bag of chips in my cart. I’m relativly new to kicking junk out of our diets, and I kind of surprised myself by the fact that I was out right embarassed to have such things in my cart. I found myself speeding to the produce section to try to hide my junk ;)

    [Reply]

  38. says

    Hi laura,
    This is too funny. I have written a couple post this week on healthy eating. I highlighted your blog with a link back to you. Then you wrote this post.LOL Goes to show we are all human. LOL My vise is Scoops. :)
    Blessings,
    Elizabeth

    [Reply]

  39. says

    We had a 9 year old birthday party this weekend, too! Our journey has been a little different – were cooking from scratch and baking our own bread to test some food storage quantities. Our compromise for the birthday boy was going out to eat at a local mexican / burrito place – a nice break for all of us!

    Great blog – we made the famous homemade chocolate chips this weekend, and barely had enough left to use in our brownies – very yummy!

    [Reply]

  40. Angela says

    So I kind of feel special because I’m the one that asked Laura about compromises, and look at the comments! I’m glad to be able to read others ideas and opinions on it. We are slowly but surely making the transition from o.k. eaters to healthy eaters. But I will admit two things I just can’t seem to give up or make my own 1. tortillas (we eat tortillas almost everyday!) and 2. tortilla chips. Do I have any healthy options if I don’t want to make these two items from scratch? (especially tortillas) Thanks for all the great ideas! I agree I would never buy margarine, canned biscuits/rolls, and all fake cheese.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    There is a great website at nourishedkitchen.com that has a list of companies that do not use GMO grains in their products. It has a list of all of the major name brands we see in our grocery stores so you can purchase wisely and informed!!

    [Reply]

  41. Katelyn says

    Laura, you are such an inspiration! Because of your blog, and others like yours (although it’s mainly your blog), I’ve starting a homemade revolution in my house. We’re starting small (homemade peanut butter, using my bread machine more, making our own cleaning products), but our goal is to make as much homemade food as possible. Thanks for your blog and amazing recipes!
    Oh, and my “yuck” is definitely HFCS and margarine. Whenever I think of HFCS, I think of the Juicy Juice commercial where the kids are all dressed as fruits and veggies and one kid comes out in this white, oozy costume and says, “I’m High Fructose Corn Syrup. I’m chemically altered.” Yuck!

    [Reply]

  42. Jill O says

    We use tositidos tortilla chips because they do not use any preservatives in their oil. You can also purchase healthy torillas as well.

    [Reply]

    Randi Reply:

    Tostitos may not use preservatives, but their oil is from genetically modified “foods” and their corn is genetically modified, too. Cloned food isn’t the same as real food, and preservatives are faaaaar less dangerous than gmo’s. If you’re curious to see what I mean, you can see the info at http://www.SeedsOfDeception.com or email me with your address and I can send you the information.
    There are some great recipes for tortillas on Allrecipes.com. I made homemade flour tortillas yesterday and they turned out great.

    [Reply]

    Jill O Reply:

    For my son he is unable to tolerate preservatives because he is
    salicylate sensitive so that’s why I have to watch those.
    Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Jill O Reply:

    I was actually thinking Frito Lay (tostidos) was going to stop using
    genetically modified corn, but I could be wrong. At this point I
    can’t go that far yet, low sals is enough on my plate right now! :)

    Randi Reply:

    I think I heard they were going “all natural”, but ther are no standards for “natural”, and GOM’s are still used. My 2 year old daughter also couldn’t have preservatives, colors, etc, but GMO’s cause those issues. They cause allergies, childhood diseases asthma, infertility, organ system damage, and that disease that I can’t spell or pronounce that just made the news that causes creepy crawly tingly stinging sensations under your skin that gets treated with antipsychotic drugs.
    2 out of my 3 children suffered from food allergies, but amazingly when we eliminated all gmo’s from our diet, the allergies disappeared and my youngest never developed any.
    Anyway, I know it’s not easy. Having children with allergies is awful. Hang in there!

  43. says

    I’m adding my voice to the chorus – thank you for this! I am just starting on my real food journey, and I am really trying hard not to get overwhelmed or let is consume me! I tried this 5 years ago when my first son (also named Elias!!!) was born, and it really took over my life – it was not a good move for my family at the time. I was reading everything, comparing myself to others who were further on the journey and feeling terrible about myself, and comparing myself to people who were not doing this at all, and feeling self-righteous. I had to stop. We made little changes, but ones that were easy to make (butter only, no HFCS in the bread we bought, etc)…

    I’ve come to a place that I feel like I can handle this better without feeling all the terrible emotions – and I’m so excited about it! I am devouring your blog and others, and I’m really encouraged that you’re “normal!” ;) I may have to compromise at times, but as long as our family is characterized by healthy eating, the times we don’t or can’t will be easier to pop back from! Thank you!

    [Reply]

  44. says

    I agree with you! We eat healthy, nutritious meals MOST of the time. I don’t ever feel guilty for eating the occasional M&M or diet soda (okay maybe on the diet pop).

    [Reply]

  45. says

    also guess you’re not on board with The China Study – a book my brother in law read and now is a 100% convert. They live on vegan margarine — blegh!

    [Reply]

  46. Abby says

    Haha, now you made me hungry for pizza rolls! :D We don’t have those more than once a year or so… I also cannot compromise on margerine. Eew!!! And I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my abhorance of margarine to my severely cholesterol-phobic MIL, but the last time we visited them, she announced that she had bought REAL BUTTER for me! :D

    On the other hand, I cannot compromise on soaking whole wheat flour… if I don’t think ahead to soak it (which lately is 100% of the time :P) then I really think white all-purpose flour is better. Makes no sense, right? Right!

    [Reply]

  47. Aileen Durham says

    Love this post! Thanks for keeping it “real”! Even though God calls us to take care of our bodies it can be easy to get caught up in putting more focus on being healthy than we do on Him. We try not to eat processed food but making all your own food EVERY day can be all consuming. It’s amazing what a stress reliever a box of Mini-Wheats can be!

    [Reply]

  48. says

    Oh, I wish I was good at getting past that fear. I am a compulsive label reader. Reading labels is a GOOD thing, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I take it a little too far. I have a vivid memory of a very pregnant me sitting on the floor of the supermarket sobbing because I was craving french toast sticks and they all had scary ingredients. My husband told me to stop reading and just BUY a box and I just *couldn’t*.

    On the other hand, if it doesn’t have the ingredients visible (such as in a restaurant) I have a much easier time pretending it’s not quite so disgusting for me.

    [Reply]

  49. Cammie M says

    What do you find to be the most cost effective healthy snacks/foods? I’ve got two boys and they are only Pre-K age, but they are CONSTANTLY eating. They are both tall and thin and have more energy than I think I’ve had my entire life. I find myself buying bulk containers of goldfish and pretzels as inexpensive ‘fillers’ to help keep these guys filled up. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance =)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d say take a look at this list of recipes: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/recipes-2/side-dishes-and-snacks. Some of those are side dish recipes, but many are snacks. I make my own crackers and graham crackers, which makes for more nutrient dense and more filling snacks (you’ll find those recipes on that page). And fruit…lots of fruit!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *