It’s a Thursday afternoon. I fight the Baton Rouge traffic and travel down to Trader Joe’s. I gather up my two blonde boys and march jubilantly into my good food haven. Happily we meander down the aisles, inspecting labels and throwing yummy items in our cart. Shopping at Trader Joe’s or stores like it enables me to feel I am providing my family with healthy and affordable options. Though we may get home much later in the afternoon, it is worth it.
Upon arrival at our house, I celebrate each item as I pull it out of the lovely brown paper bags. My husband helps, commenting on our goodies. I lovingly find the proper places for each item. Then, because of the time, I prepare one of the relatively healthy frozen meals for the family.
It’s now the following week, and my husband being the sweet and thoughtful guy that he is, stops by the store on the way home from work. He walks in, laden with plastic bags. I offer to help and unpack. One by one I pull out processed items that needless to say, would not be on my list. Now, my husband is pretty healthy. He is a gym rat with a fantastic physique, but he and I differ on our “healthy” priorities. He looks at labels for sodium, sugar, and fat content. I look at labels for scientific names I can’t pronounce and number of ingredients. At least once a week we have a tiny disagreement about something dumb like cereal. We go back and forth at times over what’s best and what’s worst for our family to eat.
Here’s the struggle: I have read that poison resides in the processed chemicals. I have read that my family needs to eat fruits and vegetables and grains and protein. I have read about the paleo advantages and the organic benefits. But, the truth is, I often don’t fully commit. I plan healthy meals from scratch using meats and vegetables and starches, but I don’t cook every night. I still buy packaged food, but aim for those with organic labels and natural ingredients. I have gone on only whole foods kicks, eliminating all the packaged food in our pantry, but gradually they sneak back in. I am careful about what I buy and careful about what I cook, but I know I could do much more.
Here’s the truth, Mamas: I want to eat healthy, and I want my family to eat healthy, but my commitment, time, and budget can hinder my good intentions. The struggle is real. Anyone else out there feel the same?
Some of y’all out there are super successful when it comes to whole foods and a less processed diet. Some of y’all out there are less concerned with whole foods and more concerned with well balanced meals. Some of y’all are great at preparing fancy and Instagram worthy feasts. I am somewhere in the middle. I can learn from many of you. This post is not a how-to as you can tell, but is more of a “you’re not alone” post. As mothers, I think, we all fall somewhere along the food spectrum. We all probably feel the struggle and fight the “bad food,” whether it comes delivered in the hands of a well-meaning husband, or ends up in our shopping cart by our own doing or gets placed in our child’s hands at schools. The struggle can manifest itself this way or in our budget or on those nights we don’t feel like cooking. But, here’s what I know about you and me: we are strong and we are determined.
So let’s keep fighting the good fight, but let’s also have some grace for ourselves. We can pursue that healthy home, but also relinquish some control and maybe even guilt. We can all learn from each other and share what works. I’ll be the first to share and the first to listen. And, when you’re feeling the strain, maybe take a trip to Trader Joe’s or Target or Whole Foods or Alexander’s and do a little happy and healthy shopping.