I believe that a diet based around mostly whole, fresh foods is the way to go, with wiggle room for some packaged items too.
As a result, I experiment in the kitchen, making homemade versions of store-bought staples. Sometimes I post those recipes here and on my Real Mom Nutrition Facebook page because I want to share something that’s worked for me.
What I DON’T want to do: Give you the impression that everything in my house is homemade. It’s not. I love to cook and bake. I love the satisfaction that comes from making something myself.
But making everything from scratch? That’s statistically impossible for me. Four of us eat nearly every single breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home (or a packed lunch made at home). My boys’ appetites are becoming alarmingly robust. And if the mountain of dishes I create every day from prepping food gets any higher, I’m afraid it will topple over and bury my husband, the designated dishwasher.
Here’s how from-scratch cooking goes down in my house:
What I usually make from scratch
What I sometimes make from scratch if I have time
- Bread and rolls
- French fries
- Granola bars and granola
- Nut butter
- Macaroni and cheese
What I only occasionally make from scratch
- Tortillas and pita bread
- Knock-off pop-tarts
- Fresh pasta
- Fruit leathers
- Sushi rolls
- Spaghetti sauce
And here’s what that looks like for our family:
- If we have from-scratch hummus, we’re probably eating it with store-bought pita bread.
- If we have homemade nut butter and granola bars that week, there’s also a bag of pretzels in the snack cupboard.
- If there’s a pot of chicken soup on the stove and homemade rolls in the oven, we are likely having boxed pasta and jarred sauce the next night (or fish sticks and French fries from the freezer).
In some circles, all packaged food seems to be demonized–that to admit you buy packaged foods is to somehow admit failure, laziness, or a lack of concern about health and wellbeing. And don’t get me wrong: I love a good Pinterest challenge. Homemade graham crackers? Maybe I’ll attempt that some lazy Sunday afternoon.
But I don’t feel guilty about using packaged foods. Balance is important. And for me, relying on some packaged foods does help my health and wellbeing because it preserves my sanity.