How Do I Feed My Family and Still Feed Me?

My neighbor and I took a walk just before dinner this week, and we compared what we’ve been feeding our families. I coveted her dinners-for-two menu of salmon and rice and wondered if we would ever be able to eat adult food again.

I had been to the grocery store and once again stocked our pantry with cold cereal, snacks, and fun foods to take for school lunch. “I probably spend 90% of my food budget on filler foods and maybe just 10% for the real food,” I said.

That’s not really true, but those fillers do seem to take up more space, not only in the pantry but also in our diet—and ultimately fill up other places.

In this month’s issue of Real Simple different families share how they balance the dinner hour in their home. For me, the question is not so much balancing schedules but balancing expectations, nutritional needs and taste preference in our family.

I took a chance on the Wheat Berry Salad with Bacon, hoping to find the balance between fiber, flavor and fun. The recipe was easy, made good use of the wheat in my pantry and wasn’t sneered at by the commentators in my house. I made it my own by replacing the flat-leaf parsley with fresh thyme from my garden and adding a chopped fresh pear.

Everyone ate it, but it tasted the best when I lunched on the leftovers on the screen porch by myself. With the sun shining on me for one of the last of our warm summer days, I imagined that this would be the way I would eat if I just cooked for myself. Fruits, vegetables, grains, a little meat for flavor. I would be satisfied.

Somehow, though, the meal just didn’t seem complete without sneaking that Little Debbie Fudge Round from the stash of lunch desserts.

How do you balance the varying nutritional needs and taste preferences of your family?

1 Comment

  1. Camille
    Sep 19, 2008

    Hey sister! I’ve been trying adding in pureed veggies into recipes, squash into quesadillas, squash into noodles and sauce, beets into pancakes, sweet potatoes into pancakes, etc. I got the idea from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and have been trying to make it work with out a lot of extra work and still fit into how we eat. We love pesto and have found recipes for pesto with kale and pesto with collards. That way we get some more veggies and are able to use the veggies from our farm share in ways that we like. We still do a lot with wheat bread and I try to do a lot of interesting things with it, like stromboli, rolls with cream cheese and veggies inside, etc. Today I made mini rolls for lunches with cream cheese, peanut butter, a little bit of powdered sugar and a couple of chocolate chips in them. It’s still mostly wheat rolls, so I figure it’s still healthy. We’ve been really enjoying our farm share veggies and have enjoyed the challenge of how to use things like eggplant, peppers, and we’ve loved the heirloom tomatoes. So in the summer when I cook it’s usually veggies with rice, veggies with pasta, veggies with wheat bread, veggies with potatoes, veggies in tortillas, and then add in meat sometimes. Anyway there’s my two cents for the day! Hope you are doing well!

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