Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Remember this post? I've been thinking more and more about this and evaluating why I think we should eat healthier. Here is what I realized - I read about so many other friends eating healthier and I guess I felt guilty that I wasn't on the bandwagon as well.

We could eat healthier of course, isn't there always room for improvement? But, here is what I realized after trying new recipes that were only semi-enjoyed or not enjoyed at all. Yes, it is my responsibility as the one preparing the food to do what I can to provide nourishing food for my family that is good for us. And, I will continue to look for ways to increase the nutrition of what we are eating, but I also want to provide meals that my family enjoys and especially that my husband enjoys.

David loves my cooking and if I thought he was starting to dread dinner time or didn't enjoy that as much anymore - I would be crushed and feel like it was dishonoring in a way to him.

What is best for others does not have to be right for us. Each family has challenges in this area and must figure out what works for them. I just want to be real and not "pretend" to be on the wagon with others if I'm really not and especially if I'm not there for the right reasons. So, I will continue to prepare meals that my family enjoys and look for ways to prepare them as nutritiously as possible.


*carrie* said...


That's a great goal. Thanks for sharing where you're at. Especially with all you have on your plate right now (ha!), don't put too much pressure on yourself. Even small changes--that still please your palate--can make a big difference!

angela said...

Good for you Monica. Like Carrie said, small changes can equal big results. Make those changes ones that everyone enjoys. There's no point in living forever if you are not enjoying life.

Anonymous said...

Way to be true to yourself and your family! Love you, Mom

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I love this post! It is so easy for those on the outside to judge and say you are unhealthy. I feel you have to do what is best for you and your family and not worry about what others think. It is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing.

Katy said...

I couldn't agree with you more!!! :)

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

I completely agree with you Monica. I too have struggled with what is best for my family with this. We are on a TIGHT budget and some of the healthy foods, like hormone free milk, are so much more expensive. I feel that even though it would be good for us to drink it I have to follow our budget.

Thanks for being open and honest. I appreciate it.

Beverly said...

Thanks for your honesty. The last thing we as mothers need to do is pack on more guilt for feeling that we aren't stacking up to what other moms are doing for their families. Good for you for making the right decision for your family.

The Stepford Wife said...

As somebody who's fighting the "battle of the bulge," I tried the whole "eat healthy, cook healthy" thing. I found that what we were serving just wasn't as appetizing, and it absolutely shattered our budget. Finally, I've just given up with the whole thing, and went back to serving what I always serve.

When we pledged to lose weight again for the new year, I decided that instead of changing what I cook, I was going to make little tweaks to regular recipes and dinners, and increase my activity level. I add more vegetables to foods that call for some vegetables in it (stir fry, chicken pot pie, etc) to increase fiber and help us "fill up" faster, switched to ground pork from ground beef (which actually happened to be cheaper!!), ditched processed ingreidents ("cream of" soup, frozen rolls, etc) and served more vegetables or even a soup on the side so we ended up eating less of the main dish (which was inevitably the fattening dish).

Just doing those stupid little things was enough to help us lose weight. And it didn't hurt our budget too badly.

We also use the "Light and Tasty" magazine when we want nutritious, delish meals that don't feel like you're eating rabbit food.

Anonymous said...


This has been weighing on my mind also. So glad to see that you have mentioned that each family is different. This is really true, what works for one family may not work for another. Like you I want to feed my family healthier. Thanks for sharing.

A Dusty Frame said...

I always encourage women to do what is best for their house and not do the "blog" guilt.

That has to be a new phenomenon;). You do all sorts of wonderful decorating things that I don't do, but I just enjoy seeing your ideas.
I don't feel guilty that I don't do the same things.

You are right that you have to do what's best for your family and your husband.
There is no "Thou shalt only eat whole wheat" in the commandments;)

devildogwife said...

Our family enjoys food and eating. When I decided to eat more healthy, I knew that I couldn't sacrifice flavor, so I kept that in mind as I went along. We also enjoy sweets -- now, I know those aren't so healthy, but for now, they're staying in our menu. lol! So, you're absolutely right, we need to do what's right for our families.

Rebecca said...

I totally agree. While I am often inspired and get great ideas from others, in the end, I have to tailor things towards my family and what makes us happy (and healthy) regardless of what others do or think.Thanks for stating it so well today!!

Milehimama said...

There is a column in this month's Woman's Day magazine about this very thing:
Peer Pressure for Moms

It's so easy to surf the net and feel bad that you are not as good as those women and then glad that at least you aren't like these other women. Do what is right for your family.

Crystal Paine said...


It's easy to give in to blog "peer pressure" isn't it?

We eat pretty healthy (at least compared to many Americans!), but we still like our sugar, chocolate, and coffee at this house. :)

My goal is to honor my husband in how I cook and I also like to eat yummy food, too. So I've only slowly tried new and more healthful things out to see if he and I both liked them. If we didn't, then out the door went that idea or recipe! If it works great for another family--super! But it's equally okay that it doesn't work for us.

Honoring my husband in how I cook is much more important to me than eating exactly perfectly correctly according to what someone else thinks (and the schools of thought on what constitutes "healthy eating" are so varying it can be quite confusing, too!)

We all need to seek to do what is best for our own family to glorify the Lord in the season He has us in!

Love your blog, as always, Monica! I learn so much from you!

Julie said...

I love your honesty... and enjoy your blog!

Paige said...

I was just telling a friend the other day that I follow fads or get on a new bandwagon for about 4 months, and at the end of that time I will have changed maybe two or three things permanently. So that equates to 8-12 permanent changes each year. I think for us, that's still a LOT! Better than not wanting to learn, to grow and be the best you can be. Scott has always affirmed me in this way, saying I am only accountable to him and God and not to the other moms or opinions of my church peers.

Brie said...

I think it's great that you want to feed your family food that they enjoy while still trying to make it healthy. Just a few small changes make a big difference.

My hubby and I are big juice drinkers. One of the main things I do to cut sugar out of our diet is to make sure any juice I buy is 100% juice. Many juice brands out there have high fructose corn syrup as the number two ingredient. Many of these same brands offer 100% juice versions that taste just as good and often for only a few cents more if that. One of my new favorites is the V8 Splash. I can't stand veggie juice, but this is good and you get a whole serving of vegetables for every 8 oz. I recommend the Strawberry-Banana or the Pomegranate-Blueberry. The V8 Splash is expensive, but they're on sale frequently for the same price as the other juices. Another way to reduce the sugar in juice is to follow a 1/3 juice to 2/3 water ratio. It took me a few days to get used to this, but now straight juice is just too sweet.

If the goal of eating healthy is to lose weight, the trick my hubby taught me is to eat 5 small meals a day. It sounds so simple, but when I changed to this diet a few years ago, I dropped 20 pounds without trying and had a lot more energy and stamina. It also helped my hypoglycemia problem. I didn't really change the foods I was eating that much, or the amount for that matter, I just spread it out over 5 meals instead of 3 and it made a big difference.

The important thing is that we recognize that our bodies are a temple of the Lord and that we need to take care of them. But, at the same time, he did give us a sense of taste and the opportunity to enjoy life. I'm a big fan of food so my motto is "All things in moderation" in regards to eating.

Anonymous said...

One of the most freeing things I ever heard in regards to healthy cooking was this: Most cooks never hesitate to spice up meat dishes with cheese, spices, even butter, etc. But for some reason we all think vegetables have to be served plain! This chef recommended putting just as much fun into veggies...cheese on top, low fat, low sugar cream cheese dips for fruit, etc. Even butter with vegetables! The point was that for some reason we always seem to think veggies and fruit have to be plain and quite honestly, sometimes yucky. But they don't! So I've done that and my husband wll now eat veggies (a first)

The other thing is the books 'Deceptively Delcious' and 'the sneaky chef' while I dont care for the premise of ever deceiving your family - the recipes are actually really good. I honestly cannot taste the pureed carrot in the chocolate cupcakes, etc.

So, as someone who has the same debate in my head this is what has worked for our family!
Btw, let me say that your potato soup recipe is our absolute favorite of all time!

Dawn said...

Same here, Monica.
No organics, no homemade bread from my own freshly ground wheat, not a lot of things that others consider necessary.

But the kids drink water, eat tons of fruit, lots of veggies, eat whole wheat bread, and are willing to try just about anything I give them.

My first priority in cooking is pleasing Andy. I can't be consumed with what other moms are doing.

And like Crystal said, the rules of healthy eating are very different depending on whether you are reading Nourishing Traditions, or the American heart Association recommendations.

God gives us as moms wisdom in how to care for our families!


Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed you post. I spent a few months making my husband and kids utterly miserable at mealtimes by trying to be as health conscious as my other friends. My friends approved, my husband and kids did not. I finally figured out who was more important and got off the bandwagon. I still cook healthy, but I make little changes and if they're not acceptable to my hubby, then I give it up. The last thing I want is for my husband to work hard all day only to come home to a meal he does not enjoy, and a wife who will not try to please him. :)

Jenn said...

You are ahead of the game, Monica! Keeping dh happy is just as important as using quality foods. Balance is a pretty important factor, and it sounds like you are striving for that and getting good results. ;-) That's something to feel good about.

I also like to "fix" up recipes we already love by using a few healthier ingredient substitutions and it's worked well. Also, not everyone's idea of healthy is the same. Some people think low-fat is healthy, whereas others feel starch and refined sugar affects their health, and so on; as long as you know what is healthy to you, that is what counts!


Sheila said...

Thanks for being honest. I feel the same way. We have some really good friends who eat very healthy and as much as I would love to do that,my family is probably not as much in favor as that so I don't feel like I can change all of our eating habits at once. One thing I have done is switched to all wheat pasta. That has been an easy change for me, just pick up a box of wheat instead of the regular and my family doesn't seem to notice the change, so i feel like I am doing something towards healthy eating without making a major change.

Dawn said...

I thought of one other thing-
instead of changing up our supper foods, I changed our breakfasts and snacks. I no longer buy cereals with high fructose corn syrup in them. My kids used to eat these cereals every morning, so this was quite a change for them.

Also, I stopped buying junk food for snacks. Now I have fruit, pretzels, popcorn, or wheat bread with peanut butter. The kids have adjusted pretty much without a complaint.

Anyway, just another thought or two for you!

Anonymous said...

A big AMEN from down here!! I feel the same. We do little things, like drink organic milk, bake mostly from scratch, and do other things as the budget and personal taste allows. I have to say when I saw that you had Froot Loops for Emily's birthday I felt better as a mom and feeder of my children. We don't always have super sugary cereal and my Kroger frequently runs sales on the organic brands of cereals, but sometimes junky cereal is a fun treat! Gotta love the life you have and enjoy it and not get caught up in the should-dos...
Thanks for the post.

thehomespunheart said...

Wow - I wasn't expecting these kind of comments on this post - thanks so much for all of your kind support! It is nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way and I agree that small changes add up!

Tania said...

I appreciate this real down to earth post. Sometimes the blog world, is a world we create for ourselves that makes us look and feel good. Reading this encouraged me. I am interested in cooking more healthy but it is so far out of my reach at this point to be doing more than I am. Thanks!