This is the way we…eat

I’m sure that after reading my food guidelines post, it would seem as though we’re left with few choices as to what we actually can eat.  After all, if you were to cruise the grocery store aisles you’d see hardly anything that fits my rigid criteria.  Actually, though, ours is a household full of healthy appetites and we can really put away some food.

The picture above shows some of our breakfast go-tos.  Two or three years ago I stopped buying breakfast cereal (and even then it was Kashi) and started preparing whole foods for my kids before sending them off to school.  Nowadays, breakfast in our house consists of things like: a fried egg on a whole wheat English (British, according to Trader Joe’s) muffin; organic whole milk yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a handful of organic berries; smoothies made from conventionally grown mangoes; homemade granola with milk; oatmeal with banana and raw almonds; fresh fruit alongside some (defrosted) homemade wheat muffins.

Lunch varies.  This year, I’ve taken to sending the kids to school with bento boxes.  Are you familiar?  They’re a recent discovery for me but I’m having a blast putting them together each night.  I’ve been taking pictures of the lunches I’ve been packing and I plan to share them in a follow-up post soon.  Just to give you the gist, though, I send star-shaped cucumber and muffin cups full of melon.  Half a nectarine.  Rolls of cheese.  Veggies cut in tiny strips.  Boiled eggs.  Leftover grilled chicken cut into cubes.  That sort of thing.  Jeff and I eat whatever is left over from dinner the night before.

Dinner is our main meal of the day.  We like to take traditional foods and put a healthy spin on them.  You’ve seen how we do pizza and tacos.  Much of what we’re eating for dinner depends upon the season.  We do an extraordinary amount of grilling in the summer.  So, too, do we make an entire meal out of salad–piling the fresh, organic veggies a mile high before drizzling them with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  We’ll do burritos with beans from the Crock-Pot.  Tostadas. Stove-top or cold pasta dishes.  Turkey burgers.  Caprese salad or veggie quesadillas.  We pull as much produce as we can from our own garden and incorporate it into both lunches and dinner.  Come the change of seasons we crank up the oven and do comfort foods right.  Among our favorites?  Baked ziti, butternut squash lasagna, hearty minestrone, meatloaf (turkey), mac’n’cheese, chili, corn chowder, chicken pot pie and enchiladas.  I have about a half-dozen Mexican casserole dishes that we rotate through all winter long.  We also do soup at least once a week in the winter, always using homemade stock that we make once a month and freeze.  The key to indulging in these feel-good foods is adapting them ever so slightly to be better for you.  I do that by substituting whole wheat pastas for white ones, using dry beans, and organic ingredients.  We also only use organic tomatoes from a glass jar and meats raised without antibiotics.  But you already knew that, didn’t you?

I’m a sucker for recipes.  Whenever my Sunset or Real Simple magazines show up in the mail I always flip to the back first to check out what they’ve got cooking.  I also find recipes on various food blogs and change them up a bit to suit our lifestyle.

I often wonder if our seasonal way of eating is typical.  Does your family follow a similar pattern?

Other posts in my This is the way we… series: Budget, Cleaning.


17 Replies to “This is the way we…eat”

  1. I would love a lunch post. Luke will be attending preschool this year and since he will be in after school care, I’ll need to send him with a lunch. I’m new to this!

  2. Another great post!! You don’t wanna know how we eat…my husband is VERY picky and feeding him and still making healthy stuff for me and the kids is very complicated! Oh and I LOVE cereal too much to do away with it!

  3. We eat pretty much the same. But mostly Gluten Free product due to allergies! I can’t wait for your lunches post…..that’s the one meal of the day that I often struggle with!

    1. Yay! So glad you decided to chime in, Laura. :) Last year, I had HUGE issues with the monotony of making lunches every morning. *This* year (so far) is a totally different story. I make the lunches at night so I’m not as stressed out in the mornings. Plus, because I’m putting some creative energy into them, I actually kinda enjoy it. Watch for that post soon!

  4. Trying. We’re trying.

    We have switched to scrambled eggs, toast, or reheated homemade waffles and pancakes for breakfasts. Or smoothies made with real fruit, organic milk, and protein powder.

  5. I’m loving these food posts! Savannah starts school next Monday, and I have been researching bento ideas – really cute. Looking forward to seeing your pictures for some added inspiration.

    A few questions – where do you get your tomatoes in glass jars (or do you just can them yourself)? Also, regarding Kashi cereal – how do you feel about that? I know you said you make your own granola now, but do you feel that it is a fairly decent choice for a store-bought cereal, or are there things in the ingredients that concern you?

    I just finished making a huge batch of whole wheat pumpkin pancakes, and both of my girls love them – makes me so happy to feed them good food. And it’s so handy to freeze them and just pop them out when I need a quick snack or breakfast.

    1. I most certainly do not can tomatoes myself, although I’d LOVE to learn the ins and outs of canning. I buy mine at Whole Foods. The same brand is available by mail through Amazon here:

      I remember having given up Kashi in favor of foods that are more “whole” meaning they come naturally from the ground or farm. The less processing, the better, IMHO. Also, the cereal we were eating was Autumn Wheat. The second ingredient in that particular flavor is “organic evaporated cane juice” which is a fancy name for sugar. I avoid buying anything that has sugar, HFCS, hydrogenated anything, enriched anything, or salt as one of the first five ingredients. There may be better Kashi options out there, but generally, you’re better off opting for oatmeal, fresh fruit, eggs…and those things really don’t take *that* much longer. Giving up cereal was tough for my kids, admittedly, but I feel so much better sending them off to school with a wholesome breakfast in their tummies! Oh, and PS. I LOVE pumpkin anything.

  6. I love these posts. I’m so nosy, I love learning how other people “do” things. I know each family is different and what works for your family might not work for my family and vice versa, but I do think it’s good for me to be open to new ideas.

    Our eating habits are pretty close to yours, but I have a feeling you’re a little more diligent than I am! We are seasonal eaters too, and I am finding I’m now craving some of my autumn dishes such as stew and baked apples. I enjoy cooking and luckily my family likes leftovers, so we have those for lunch a lot.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  7. I noticed a huge change in my 4yo when I switched from morning boxed cereal to homemade oatmeal. I make it with whole milk, add a dash of brown sugar and top it with frozen organic berries so it cools off faster. He gobbles this up fast and is completely full until lunch which means less whining about snacks. We still do buy a big box of MultiGrain Cherrios but those are usually saved for busy mornings or as an on-the-go snack for my 2yo.

    When you get a chance could you email or post your granola recipe? I’ve been looking for a good one.

    1. I found THIS through Jo-Lynne a couple of years ago and we’ve been using it faithfully ever since. It’s easy to adapt with various add-ins, too!

  8. I love Real Simple meals (which really are real simple) and fell in love with the Sunset magazine this summer while reading the hotel room copy in Avila Beach.

    As for dinner, I really hate to cook, but when I do, it is much like you. You need to post some of those Mexican casserole dishes, yes?

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