Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Food is always on my mind. 

Yours too? I am so glad to hear it.

I always worry about what I feed my family.

I also know how important it is to sit around the table with my family.

I try so hard to eat and feed my family healthy foods, but lets just admit it right now.  They would rather eat chicken nuggets and frozen waffles.

and sometimes… I just don’t feel like cooking.

I have talked about this very subject a lot on this blog. 

I think because it has always been so important to me.

As I surf the internet and read about all the raw and whole foods we should be eating, I always leave having mom guilt. I always think two things:

1.  That is really neat that people can eat like that.

2.  I could never do it, and I don’t know if I want to do it.

I don’t know if I necessarily believe in all of it.

I think you have to believe in something to make it work.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in making good choices for my kids.  I just don’t know if completely whole or organic is the right choice for my family.

I think a balance is what my family needs.  I don’t want my kids or myself rather to explode because we never eat anything fun.

Then begins this whole process of talking to myself.

”How can I make my kids eat better?”

“How can I make better choices for my family and myself without taking away the fun of eating and cooking?”

“How do I find the right balance?”

While having one of these thought provoking conversations with myself, two things again came to my mind.

1. everything in moderation

2. I should prepare food the way my mother did

So if you are one of those mothers who has mom guilt because you don’t prepare and eat everything that is whole or you buy things that might say high fructose corn syrup on the label then this post just might help you.  You just might find a way to get rid of the mom guilt and learn to keep it simple. 

Going completely the opposite way and eating completely whole is hard for me because I have never eaten that way.  Then I had my ah-ha moment.  That moment that showed me that I didn’t have to be extreme in either way.  I didn’t have to serve my children packaged foods all the time, but I also didn’t have to cut them out completely. Let’s face it, we are busy and some times we need to rely on convenience foods. 

This is when the mom guilt went away, and the joy of cooking and serving my family came back.

This is my ah-ha moment:

When I asked myself(yes, I talk to myself a lot) “Andrea, how bad was the obesity epidemic when you were kid?” 

I knew that the answer to this was the answer I had been looking for.

When I was a kid, I went to school with less then 5 or so people that were overweight. 

Now, my kids go to school with a much higher number.  That means it is my generation that is dropping the ball.

What can we do differently?

It’s time to go old school.

I started thinking about how my mother prepared food, and I knew this was the way to get our family on track with a healthy food plan.

I believe sharing food with our family is less about what we eat, and more that we are actually sitting around the table with a home-cooked meal.  If we do this more often then we sit at a table at McDonalds or at line in the drive-through then I think we just might be able to take back control.

My mother prepared everything we ate.  She couldn’t afford to buy packaged meals or frozen food.  She cooked every meal; and she didn’t buy whole, raw or organic. She bought what she needed to put together a meal; and because of this I could feel her love through those home-cooked  meals.

So busy moms.  This is where your crock-pot comes in to play, or simple 30 minute meals.  We can make simple home-cooked meals for our family.  We should be making more home-cooked meals for our family. 

You can find some of my tips for how I prepare meals here in this four part series.

(Note about those posts: I wrote them 2 years ago.  Some of my strategies have changed, but the meat of it is what works for me.  In fact as I reread it, I was reminded of some things I have let go; and need to incorporate again.  I also mentioned that I have lists that I can email you.  Please don’t ask me for these right now.  I am re-working them a bit, and will share them in a few weeks.)

Our mothers also spent hours in the kitchen, but a home-cooked meal can be something as simple as tacos made in 10 minutes.  It just takes a little planning and thinking ahead.

I love that there our people out there who can eat raw, and make their own crackers; but I just can’t. I also believe that for the majority of us who try to do this as a weight loss solution will fail.  I think we need to stick to the basics and the basics being the food guide pyramid; and doing what our mothers did.

I can follow my mother’s example. 

I can make my own pancakes and waffles.  Instead of buying the frozen and packaged kind. (like I have for the last 3 years.  I started buying them when I had Tess and had a hard time making breakfast because I was nursing)

So, How can I squeeze this in to my busy life now?


I make them at night.  We have them for dinner.  I make a lot and freeze the extra for breakfast.


My pancakes are made with whole wheat flour, oats, and ingredients that I choose.


My mom never bought store bought pancakes.


In fact, there was no such thing.

My mom also made all our syrup.


I started doing just that.

Did you know that maple syrup is soooo easy?

Buy yourself a box of maple flavoring and follow the instructions on the box.  It only takes about five minutes.  I REDUCE THE SUGAR THAT IT CALLS FOR.


I have also enjoyed making homemade blueberry syrup, strawberry and peach.  Each with half the sugar of store bought.


Now my kids enjoy one of their favorite meals; breakfast.  I get to serve it to them without the mom guilt.

My mother also made our own Ranch dressing.  Of course, she bought the ranch packet and followed the instructions.  SO EASY.


When you make what you can, you limit the amount of preservatives that you take in.

I have found that to save on calories, I can use Greek yogurt instead of mayo in my dressing.  It tastes just as good.

Now I have saved myself on the preservatives and the calories.


What else did my mom always make and never buy?


bread, cookies, cakes, and treats.

When we make all of these for our selves, we can use ingredients of our choosing. 

We also have less of it around because we don’t make it as often as we buy it.

I am so thankful for this little ah-ha moment. 

Our parents didn’t have the means to buy every little thing that they ate.  They had to save money and prepare our food from scratch.

I know life is busy, but I also know that for the sake of our health there are some things that are worth taking the time to make.

Yes, we still eat chicken nuggets;  something I was never fed as a child. 

But, I try to make my own nuggets when I can. Of course there are some nights when driving through McDonalds for a 20 piece nugget is what we have time for.  I feel ok about that because I know that rest of the week, I am trying hard to feed my family the best.

Some other ways to help the health of your family:

buy local produce from local farmers

buy local milk from local farmers who have hormone free cows


buy your eggs fresh from a local farmer

I feel so blessed to have resources here in PA to do all of these things.

I know there are dairies out there that deliver milk to your home. 

It may cost a little bit more money, but the money you save on buying less packaged foods at the stores will cover the added expense.

Ok, mom’s of my generation.  Let’s stop dropping the ball.  Let’s realize that we can cook for our children without going to either extreme.

We don’t have have to be the packaged mom’s and we don’t have to be raw whole or organic mother’s either.  My mother wasn’t, and I turned out great.

I do give props to the mother’s who can do this and choose too; but here is a solution for those of us who can’t.  Those of us who need to get rid of our mom guilt.

Sometimes we just need to be down-home, cooking over the stove(or in the crockpot), gather round the table sort of mothers.


k said...

new reader!!! love this post! so funny, cause i was just having this same conversation with myself. (i talk to myself a lot too.) no more mom guilt! yay! thank you for sharing your fun-to-read-but-equally-important thoughts and insight.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I truly believe in moderation and things don't happen overnight. We cook mostly from scratch but I also use box mixes when I'm in a crunch and I don't feel guilty about it.

Christal said...

Dead on! And furthermore, I have found that as my food budget has been drastically reduced, I seem to be even BETTER and more INSPIRED in the kitchen. I tend to revert back to the days of living w/parents and several siblings, when my sister and I would try to make interesting meals out of nothing. :) Several years of that have paid off after all.

Simply Domestic said...

Anothe, great post! As a kid, I wasn't allowed to eat cold cereal. My mom cooked all our breakfasts. :) Funny how times have changed.

The Moulton Family said...

You should post your pancake recipe and that chicken pot pie recipe. (Both look really good!)

I agree with what you are saying. I saw first hand as an elementary teacher the weight problems with kids today. I saw entire fifth grade classes where you could count the kids at a healthy weight on one hand! So sad!

I would like to add though that another part of the problem is physical activity. When I look back on my childhood, we only had 4 TV channels and no internet. We played outside a lot. We spent entire days outside. We rough-housed a lot. So just wondering, how do you deal with television/computer/game system (technology) usage in your home, and how do you try to make sure that your kids get enough exercise. I struggle with this sometimes. Sometimes it is just so darn easy to just put on netflix for a while when I need to get things done...instant entertainment. But then I realize that minutes can pass into an hour or two very quickly without me even noticing. Not a good habit to make for my kiddos. Any insight?

Danee said...

Andrea, another insightful post. The reason why I keep coming back to your blog to read. I find that although none of my 7 kids are overweight at all and are active I stress out about this a lot because I struggle with it. I cook a lot of things from scratch for my family but sometimes I make myself crazy because every week there is a "good" thing for you that now is "bad" How can my homemade whole wheat bread be bad? It is so tricky to navigate the "food world" Moderation is ALWAYS best. I think that if I had to take away the fun cooking part that I do for my family then I would lose part of who I am as their mom. Food is one way that I serve my family.

Pam said...

Thanks for your awesome post, it was a great tribute to me as a mother, I'm feeling like I did ok! Thanks!

KW said...

Good post, you are right about growing up eating everything homemade. Good tips that I will try and incorporate.

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