Food Fight: Struggling to Fight the Bad Food



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.

Do you ever struggle with providing healthy meals for your family? How do you deal?

Joy is a native of Baton Rouge and lives here with her husband, Ross, and their two boys. She has been happily married for nine years and enjoys spending as much time as she can with her husband. Though she is from Baton Rouge, she has spent time in Texas, Missouri, and New York. She graduated from Baylor in 2003 with a major in History and minor in English. After college she volunteered in New York City for a year with Good Shepherd Services and worked in a short term group home for teenage girls. Upon returning to Baton Rouge in 2004, she met her husband and decided to hang around for a little while. Joy has been teaching high school history and/or English for ten years. She has a passion for the written word and currently teaches AP Literature and Senior English at Parkview Baptist. She also helps friends with writing projects on the side. In 2011, Ross and Joy welcomed Warrick Glen into their family. He keeps the family entertained with his energy, questions, and personality. Then in 2013, they brought Xavier Elijah into their lives. He is a round bundle of chubby love. When not teaching she spends her time refereeing her sons as they wrestle and play. Joy and her husband are avid sports fans who compete against each other in fantasy football during football season. They serve and worship at the Baton Rouge Dreamcenter in North Baton Rouge, a satellite campus of Healing Place Church. In her spare time she loves books, movies, Food Network, HGTV, and dance competition shows.


  1. I felt the same for a long time. My hubby & I discovered Wildtree. It was started by moms who want to put healthy, fast meals on the table their whole family will eat. It’s all natural, non GMO, organic eating. We meal plan and do freezer workshops. We try to make suppertime simpler. Ill be happy to help anyone interested! Check out my website:


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