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?