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My family is a busy, loud, opinionated organism who wants to have our cake and eat it, too. Choosing healthy options (for more than just food) may have been a struggle in my house at first but now it is catching on with even the grandparents (for the most part).

family cooking healthy

But be realistic. There are some foods that, while terrible for you, are okay in moderation and might even be punctuation marks of milestones, but it is important to remember that a treat is something special that should be reserved for special occasions – like Mickey ears at Disney World or Great Aunt Evelyn’s hummingbird cake at her 80th birthday.

We pick foods we recognize when shopping and not everything in our house is organic (we can’t afford it). We have a 5-Ingredient Rule; if the girls want to try something new, it has to have less than five ingredients. We say no to things we can’t pronounce. If I have to Google it and I get a chemical formula instead of a food group, it’s a nope. If it didn’t have roots or a mother, not gonna happen. We try to be aware of where our food comes from. While our eggs come from Grandpa and fresh veggies from the farmer’s market, we are careful to use foods sourced from countries that have similar inspection and quality standards as the US.

We choose fresh and frozen veggies over canned. Fresh is best in a perfect world, but in reality the frozen options are pretty good. Frozen veggies have a lower sodium content than canned and have not been heat sealed, so more original nutrients are still there than in canned ones. Cost is very similar and often frozen has manufacturer or app coupons.

frozen vegetables

Ban the box and the window; convenience is not always better. Pre-prepped doesn’t equal faster either! We can make chicken pot pie from leftover chicken and frozen veggies just as fast as from a kit. From a window always equals bad and even a busy parent has few excuses to go that route. There are 3 girls in my house with full schedules of sports, dance, school and speech therapy, two parents with full time jobs, my part-time military commitment and my work on a Master’s degree. If we can do it, anyone can do it. My secret? I love my Crock-Pot®. Just shove everything in, add water, set the temp then leave. When everyone gets home, there is a meal ready. Another thing we have come to use is Sunday prep day. One afternoon prepping for the week or two not only saves time, but can be loads of fun for the kids.

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