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I salute you, mom who:
makes your own laundry detergent from essential oils, grows your own lettuce, and buys beef from local farmers.
But you know what I have time for?
One trip a week to the supermarket five minutes from my house.
And frankly, that’s pushing it sometimes.
I work full-time with a not insignificant commute. I come home, have approximately 10 minutes to get dinner on the table while my children clamor for my attention, then clean up the food smeared everywhere, bath time, bedtime stories, dishes, and if I’m feeling particularly indulgent, a 20-minute conversation with my husband before collapsing in bed or getting some writing done.
I know… I sound like I’m spiteful toward the moms who have their shit together.
I promise I’m not. I admire them. I’m mystified by them.
But I’m not them.
But I also don’t want to raise my kids on a diet of crappy convenience food!
I want them to eat healthy, homemade meals most of the time.
Thankfully, many grocery and retail chains that historically haven’t catered to the health-conscious crowd are now making efforts to reach this demographic, so you’ll find a decent selection of healthy items… even at Walmart.
What to do for those of us who want to eat healthy but need to make trade-offs in the name of convenience and budgets?
Here’s what I do:
1. Make Informed Choices About Where It’s Most Necessary To Go Organic Or Homemade
I don’t insist on buying organic everything. Instead, I decide where it matters most. I opt for organic on fruits and veggies that otherwise have high pesticide concentrations (based on lists like these) and shop at supermarkets with decent organic produce selections. I’m a stickler about my animal products not being laced with added hormones, but bread products? Meh.
2. Buy some reasonably healthy pre-packaged food
One night a week, we eat something store-bought for dinner. I make sure to choose something that has veggies (or I add them myself), and try to choose brands that are organic. I buy some packaged snack foods, but try to avoid those that look like they’ll give you cancer (e.g. things colored neon blue).
3. Fruits and veggies always get chopped after the kids go to bed
This makes meal prep significantly shorter and means there’s always fresh fruit ready to snack on. I don’t buy pre-chopped produce as it’s more expensive and in my opinion tastes crappy.
4. I Use This Rule Of Thumb:
If most of my money at the grocery store is spent in the outer aisles instead of the inner ones, my family is likely eating enough fresh and healthy food.
As with everything in life, there are tradeoffs that compel us to sometimes choose what’s practical over what’s optimal.
How do you balance convenience and budget with healthy food choices?