So, you are a single mom or dad, your husband or wife travels, you work full-time, your kids are too picky… There are a thousand excuses to not eat right. I’ve been there. I’ve used all that I can! And you probably have too, right?
With a part-time job in the classroom and the flexibility of working from home with my business, I do have more time on my hand than some to prep meals. That being said, there are weeks where I sub full-time, and my husband is away. And I, my friends, at one point had the king of picky eaters. My son only cared to eat hot dogs, pizza, chips, fries, crackers and cookies, but that is our once upon a time story.
I’m not going to say it isn’t hard sometimes, it is. Sometimes my kids whine and cry. But we get through it. In all honesty they would whine and cry no matter what I fed them some nights. And there are those nights and mornings where I am tired and don’t feel like dealing. That’s when I pick something super easy. Those are the, “OK kid you’re getting apples and peanut butter for lunch” days, or the “yogurt is all I got for breakfast kid” days. When dinner rolls around, it might be a grilled chicken and salad night. Whatever the case, we survive; and the good news is, the further we are into our journey, the less I have of those days.
So, without further ado, I am giving to you 10 of my most treasured secrets (not really) for when it gets hard or maybe for when you’re just beginning.
- Almond Butter: the only ingredients are roasted almonds. This is a constant cheat for us. Honestly I’ve tried making my own, and I would kill the motor on my blender if I did it more than once. Our local co-op has it for a fairly reasonable price, and so actually does Costco!
- Mayo: It is so easy to make your own. Seriously, it takes 2 minutes tops, so I don’t buy this often. But, when I get a little run down, this is an easy cheat. It is pretty pricey, whereas making your own is so not! In any case when I have to buy, I buy Spectrum’s Canola Mayo because it is the only one that I can find that doesn’t contain sugar in the ingredients and I recognize everything else!
- Muir Glen’s Organic Diced Tomatoes or Pizza Sauce– These are a constant in our house. I use them for spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and salsa
- Organic Applesauce– the only ingredients are organic apples. Applesauce is not hard to make, but it is time-consuming, and buying store-bought really excites the kids. It’s the little things!
- Nancy’s Whole Milk Organic Yogurt– I really prefer to make my own because when you culture it for 24 hours it kills the lactose. As far as I know, there is only one company that has a 24 hour yogurt and they don’t have it in our valley, so when push comes to shove, I buy this. I like it because it is whole milk and my kids need the fat. It’s funny I now look for ways to get fat into their food now. Such a twist from the 80’s and 90’s generation I grew up in, don’t you think?.
- Natural Value Marinara Sauce– I usually have to search high and low to find a premade sauce that doesn’t contain sugar, or other oddities, but this one works. I love having these for when I am in a pinch.
- Bubbies Dill Pickles– probiotics are super important for rebuilding that gut health. I have not figured out how to successfully ferment my own, so this too is a mainstay at our house. I also like to buy their kraut. So good! And I am so thankful for companies like these that are committed to providing convenient quality food. Good on them!
- Farmer’s Market Organic Butternut Squash– another life-saver for when Sunday has come and gone and the squash didn’t get cooked and pureed. I use this item for pancakes, waffles, and the latest creation was cookies.
- Natural Value Whole fat coconut milk– I use this for making ice-cream and whip cream. My own coconut milk is never fatty enough. This milk rocks. I love to add it to smoothies here and there for added fat too.
- Bacon-Living in Montana we are fortunate enough to find local bacon that is minimally processed and doesn’t contain sugar. I actually have run across a couple of options at our local grocery store. Again it can be pretty pricey so it has to remain a treat for us. Shockingly though, our Costco recently started carrying a brand that is uncured, and contains only pork, water, sea salt, honey and celery powder. It is also minimally processed so I feel OK about using it. We love our bacon, but who doesn’t?
So there you have it. My key survival items. I hope it helps. Really though, if you are just making the transition, look for similar items and read the labels. It is so important to remove those preservatives, sugars, and other unwholesome ingredients. Keep it as fresh as you can, and keep it as real as you can! Good luck!