On the food front

The strict food guidelines thing is going better than I expected.  After three rough days at the beginning, my calorie-restricted child is starting to come around to the new plan and other than a couple of moments where he just had to cry it out because of having to say no to something that he really loved, he’s soldiered bravely on.

His dream life has taken a hit….this morning he told me that last night he dreamed we went to Baskin Robbins and he had to eat an apple while we ate sundaes, and he got so mad that his body took over and forced him to rob an ice cream factory.

I haven’t been eating Krispy Kremes in front of him.  We’re all on the same plan (with some extra caloric snacks in his brothers’ lunchboxes) and I’m eating waaaaayyy more fruits and vegetables than I ever have before.

Do you know how hard it is to get five servings in a day???  Regardless of what Ronald Reagan said, ketchup doesn’t count.

Produce isn’t cheap, but I keep telling myself that it’s going to be a wash since I’m not buying chips and other processed foods.  The health benefits alone are worth it, right? I’m introducing some new fruits to the kids in an effort to keep things interesting and to avoid burnout on grapes and apples.  We’ve rediscovered pears in their natural state (you mean they don’t come floating in corn syrup?), and this week’s “try something new” kiwi was met with mixed reviews.  On the vegetable front, butternut squash, green beans, peas, broccoli and carrots are in rotation.

Lima beans were summarily rejected.


I haven’t tried the whole grain pastas yet, but that’s going to be my next move to give us some variety.  Are there some brands that are better than others?  Will your kids eat it without giving you the hairy eyeball?

Have a nice day.


31 responses to “On the food front

  1. Over the last few years, I have tried to feed my family healthier options. (With the exception of baked goods, as you well know since you have visited my blog!) My kids don’t notice the whole wheat pasta, but boy, does my Italian husband! Can I suggest mixing it with regular pasta and increasing the wheat over a period of time? Mr. CPQ will probably thank you!

  2. Oy. I’m feeling highly convicted about our own eating habits. Processed food is a primary food group at my house, and as much as I hate it, it is HARD to break those old old old habits.

    You are doing great!

  3. It’s hard making food changes like that. Eventually the voice of Krispy Kreme will become more faint…..
    My kids don’t love the enriched pastas, but they still eat it. They are better than the whole wheat ones, in my opinion.

  4. I’m pretty sure that all that talk about lima beans being good for you and blah, blah, blah, is all propaganda.

    Tell the boy I am proud of him for working hard to learn how to enjoy new foods!

    I’m also proud of the CPQ too…

  5. SOOOOO very proud of you and your boy!

    We used to try a new fruit each week and StarFruit was one of our faves

    Carry on, my friend, you’re doin’ a GREAT job!

  6. We recently had to change our family’s diet due to food allergies, and it does get better and easier. I have found that organic processed foods aren’t loaded with all the extra “junk” than the other processed foods and they really are pretty good. Seriously, check out that Deceptively Delicious cookbook and you can slide in more veggies into breakfast or snacks. Good luck!

  7. For a chubby woman, we do eat pretty healthy around here. Although I do occasionally sneak in Cheetos, though they are of the baked variety.

    We use Barilla pasta in the purple box that is made with whole wheat and other good things in it. Really can’t tell a whole lot of difference in taste and texture. Although I am with you. It’s more expensive to eat healthy than to buy nothing but junk food. Makes no sense, but maybe that’s why obesity is on the rise?

  8. 3 cheers for CPQ and son!!!! I KNEW you could do it!

    We actually only eat whole wheat pasta (‘cept for the occasional blue box & lasagna noodles) and my kids don’t seem to know the difference (they may have forgotten what “normal” tastes like). I mainly use Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Pastas (spirals, spaghetti, etc.) and I think it’s pretty good. It’s a little different in texture, but like everything else the more you use something the more you aclimate.:)

    We also mostly use %100 whole wheat bread. Shhhh! Don’t tell Amber!;)

  9. My kids don’t even notice that it is whole wheat pasta anymore. Plus, you can add food-processed carrots (I just process baby carrots until they are practically liquid, but I know folks that use a jar of carrots baby food) to spaghetti sauce and no one is the wiser. They DO notice when I toss in spinach too, but really, even my pickiest eater doesn’t twitch when I serve it that way anymore. They all agree that you can’t taste it. I call it “gourmet.” 😉

    I get our fruits in with smoothies. I keep strawberries, bananas, and blueberries in the freezer at all times. It works b/c I love them too. I never ever thought I could eat yogurt, but I can mixed with enough fruit. 🙂

    We’ve really changed our eating habits here a lot over the past year. My husband has lost 60 pounds or so. It’s really tough with kids b/c if they don’t want to stick to a diet, they can go to a friend’s house and eat what they want. It’s so frustrating. But, we just keep plodding along. It’s worth it. Hang in there!

  10. My husband happens to be my picky eater. He can sometimes tolerate the whole wheat pasta, but usually asks me to make it on a night that he won’t be home. 🙂 However I have made the Barilla Plus pasta for him before and he couldn’t tell the difference. Good luck! I think it gets easier with time. It’s all a learning process, so don’t give up!

  11. I celebrate your success, CPQ, and I applaud you!

    We love whole grain pasta- I hardly remember what the other kind tastes like. We’re whole grain everything since Jack had to start on blood pressure and cholesterol medicine.

    I’ve got a few really good recipes for you, but I can’t promise that I’ll get them to you any time soon. I puked up my breakfast and am soldiering through my day at work, but maybe eventually….

  12. I’m so proud of you. As for me, we’re getting McDonalds probably once a day or so . . . bad!

  13. We tried to do whole wheat pasta and couldn’t. Then I found Barilla Plus and haven’t gone back to regular pasta at all. I love that it has a good source of protein and Omega-3’s in it.

    Pasta that has a whopping 10 grams of protein and tastes super good. Amazing to me!!!! My sister was a diabetic counselor and is a nurse — so I live and breathe how to keep our blood sugars level. 🙂

  14. I second the Barilla pasta plus in the yellow box – its full of protein and good stuff – we only eat that now I don’t think my family knows the difference! Another family favorite is couscous- my kids love it – I always used chicken or beef broth to cook it in – great whole grain side that’s different than potatoes or rice. We also like quinoa a lot. Good luck – sounds like you’re all doing awesome!!

  15. I totally agree with the lima bean rejection. I don’t like to eat wet chalk either.

    When I introduced the whole grain pasta, I started out serving it mixed with regular pasta. That helped make the transition. Another option is wacky-mac which is tri-colored (sold in a bag usually next to the egg noodles) so it’s a little fun to throw in the mix.

  16. I just tried Barilla Plus last week. The kids didn’t even bat an eye and neither did my husband who normally picks up on things like that.

  17. Hang in there!

    We do lots of fruit and veggies at our house. Like another reader, we do smoothies A LOT! I like mine after dinner — like dessert. Brother has a smoothie each morning for breakfast. I like to sneak grated veggies (zucchini, carrots, etc) into casseroles.

    We like the Gia Russa whole wheat pasta. I cooked it for friends and they couldn’t tell a difference. It is a bit pricier, and I sometimes cannot find it at Kroger and have to go to Whole Foods, but it is worth it!

  18. Barilla Plus Whole Wheat pasta rocks – full of extra protein and Omega-3s too, so extra good for you! My kids don’t notice, and my Italian husband is trying to eat healthy too so he didn’t even mind it. I make homemade “meat” sauce with extra-lean ground white turkey too, so all in all a pretty low-fat, lean meal the whole fam can enjoy.

    Will your kids eat asparagus – mine love it! I steam it and then drizzle balsamic vinagrette low-fat dressing on it and you can serve it either cold or warm. They gobble it up! It’s another “green” veggie on rotation at our house in addition to broccoli, green beans, squash & zuchinni, etc.

    Good luck!

  19. The Barilla Plus is very good! Let me know if you’re interested in the milling wheat, whole grain bread thing. I’d love to show you what I know…It takes more time, but, man, that bread can fill up a growing boy! Loads of fiber!

  20. Agree on mixing whole wheat with traditional until you are used to it – or using the tri-color pasta…makes an easier transition. Eventually, no one notices when you serve the whole wheat. There is also spinach spaghetti and mine like that b/c it is GREEN.

    We used to get Nature’s Own Whole Wheat because it was the softest whole wheat out there and it stayed fresh longer (and we could get 2 loaves very reasonably at BJs). Now we eat a more hearty whole wheat.

    For pizza, try Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza doe – .99 !! You’ll find you do not need to eat as much pizza to fill up and it’s good. You also want to get Trader Joe’s jarred pizza sauce – it’s good!

    Don’t know if you need low cal drinks…mine does not get sodas. His “treat” is 10 calorie Vitamin Water.

  21. Yay you for doing this for your family! It is hard but so worth it. My kids love kiwi when they are sweet – they have been really sour lately.

    I also include cut up red, yellow and orange peppers in their lunches – they love those.

    Barilla makes a good whole wheat pasta. I get the thin spaghetti. And Ronzoni is good also.

    I switched a couple years ago and my family doesn’t even know the difference now. I also switched to brown rice. I use brown Basmati – it has a nice smell and seems to be less “chewy”.

    And I also mixed both of these with regular white pasta and white rice to get my family used to it. It helps for sure.

    The very hardest thing for us to give up is sweets like ice cream and baked goods like cookies. We really try to make them more of a treat and I dare say, I’m the worst offender of eating more of these than I should.

    Bread – Arnold Soft Whole Wheat is my very favorite bread at $1.99 a loaf and very soft. No HFCS.

    good luck!

  22. Good for you! You are setting up such a good healthy living habit for your family. I pretty much use fresh foods & make things from scratch, & it really isn’t hard. I make smoothies for breakfast a lot! I use Yoplait fat free, various fruit flavors (I know, you purists, that it has some sugar in it), then fill the container with orange juice, then fill it with skim milk or soy milk, throw in some frozen berries or some banana, maybe a packet of Splenda & whirl. It is really good! Try the different veggies a little at a time: some kids like green or red peppers, celery, & some don’t. Some even like brussels sprouts, some don’t. Hang in there… it can actually be fun! And even though it seems expensive, when you add up everything you buy in the junk food category plus the fast food stops, it is even more….

  23. Another little “trick” I use: I put celery, green pepper, onions, even a little spinach in the processor & make it really “mush” & add it to spaghetti sauce & chili. It is very palatable that way & sometimes even stays “hidden”.

  24. I have one son who wants to eat nothing but white bread (thanks to his aunt!), plain spaghetti with butter and chicken nuggets. I buy the Ronzoni Healthy Harvest and Barilla Plus. He eats them and doesn’t say a word. I do notice the difference even with spaghetti sauce. I eat it anyway of course because that’s what adults do. Children do what tastes good; adults make a plan and stick to it. Right???? ha! I bought that book Eat This, Not That. This same son loves to read that book and it has helped him make better choices. He will now eat triscuits rather than his favorite wheat thin because they are better for him. It gives them a little bit of control.

  25. It helps to cook the whole grain pasta a little longer than the box says. It makes it more tender.

  26. What about couscous? You could mix it with some other items…broccoli or dried fruits?
    That’s on my list of “new” things to try this week. I also bought a pomegranate today…that’s a fun one!

  27. Whole wheat pasta….blech!

    We’d rather eat pasta less often and eat the good stuff.

    Kudos to you and yours for changing your eating habits! I’m proud of you!

    We like the Sara Lee Delightful Whole Wheat Bread. Only 45 cal a slice and nice and soft which is a must in our family.

    Do you use those microwave steam bags? They make steaming fresh veggies a snap.

  28. for pomegranates: Cut off the top, then cut into quarters. Then, place in a bowl of cold water. Take your fingers and move the seeds out. Here’s the magic…the pith floats to the top and the seeds go to the bottom. Just skim the pith off the top! Yum!!

    (I learned this from Alton Brown. Of course.)

  29. my finicky son does love couscous and it is really good for you. i have also tried the spaghetti squash and tried to substitute it for spaghetti. ha! of course he knew it wasn’t spaghetti, but it wasn’t bad!

  30. three cheers for you! huzzah!

    SO hard to do, but I’m impressed. Was moved to pray for you this morning about this very thing- then I click here and see you’re already well on your way… whahoo!

    good job, girlie.

  31. I’ll add a holla for Barilla and Ronzoni. I think that color has a lot to do with desire–at least for my daughter. If it LOOKS like w/w pasta, it must be horrid; however, if it’s still yellow, it will taste great.

    I am so proud of you all. I don’t know if you like popcorn/cheese corn, and I know the prepackaging is $$, but we’ve started with the 100 cal snacks, particularly “SmartCorn” white cheddar corn.

    I also made a very good pumpkin muffin recipe the other day. Both kids enjoyed. Very healthy, with applesauce, oatmeal, and egg white subs.

    Love you. I know this is hard, but you are one determined and talented mom. You can do this. And I’ll pray for you.

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