Thursday, January 02, 2014
In an ideal world I would love to cook every day, fresh wholesome meals from foods that I purchased - so that I would know where the food came from and that it was fresh and nutritious. In an ideal world I would not have to work and I would not have a 45 -60 minute commute one way (and that is on a good day). I would have lots of time for all of the cooking that I would do. But our lifestyle is such that it is not always possible for me to cook at home. Sometimes it seems like months pass before I can even get to the grocery store (let alone the Farmer's Market or the local produce shop). Sometimes we don't get home from work until it is well past our bedtimes. And sometimes my husband, who doesn't care for healthy wholesome eating, just wants to eat out, or he wants a plate full of white spaghetti with Ragu from a jar...not ideal but certainly ever now and then I will accommodate his tastes. So, I do the best that I can. For example, I often will cook up a big batch of steel cut oats and I will freeze it in single container portions. Then I can just pop one out of the freezer for my breakfast when I need to. Sometimes though, I end up resorting to convenience foods. I can't stand instant oatmeal, but I have found that the Quaker Real Medleys don't seem quite as fake to me. And in reading the ingredient list, it doesn't seem quite as nefarious as do those little packets of instant oats. I'll admit though, they do have some sodium and sugar added, so they aren't all that innocent! But, when the going gets rough, sometimes I am happy to have those little containers of oatmeal. Another thing that I have discovered is pre-chopped veggies. Frankly, they are pretty expensive so that isn't always the best way to go. If I lived in an ideal world, I would buy lots of red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers and I would chop them up and freeze them so as to always have them handy. But, in the real world, I have discovered that the frozen bell pepper mix from Trader Joe's does come in handy on a night when I am in a pinch to get some dinner on the table - and it adds desperately needed veggies to our diet! I know that a lot of people are purists and only believe in eating at home and would never use convenience foods. I respect that. Please respect me. My situation is not the same as yours. I work hard, play harder and it is a hard balance for me to achieve. I try to make wise healthy choices and I think that I do a respectable job of it given my situation. I eat six or seven times a day and most of the time I take home cooked meals with me to work - I am not always chowing down on food from a box that I got at the store! But I am doing my best and I think that using certain convenience foods CAN be part of a healthy lifestyle.