D.A.D.: Healthy Food, Where Are You?
Long Valley Patch editor Jason Koestenblatt needs advice on where to find the most nutritious foods for his sons.
Raising kids is difficult.
That’s like saying touching the sun may warm your hand.
Raising kids is one thing. Raising healthy kids–especially today, when seemingly every food is full of some kind of disease-causing garbage–is a whole new ball game.
Nancy and I want nothing but the best for our kids, and to raise them in a loving, healthy home. It’s the second part of that statement that’s getting harder each week.
Our oldest son, Jacob, will be three in June. Since the day he could digest solid foods, he’s been a chowhound. He eats three square meals a day, and asks for about a 100 snacks in between. We’re blessed that he loves fruits and vegetables and a bevy of nutritious foods.
But it’s those snacks that are becoming so difficult to manage. We’d love nothing more than to give our kids–and ourselves–the healthiest, organic foods we could find. But there are two problems: the cost, and the location.
Before I go any further, please know I don’t think I’m some holier-than-thou, healthy food nut. There’s a week-old, family-sized Wendy’s bag sitting in our minivan, and I’ll probably gorge on some leftover Easter candy before I finish writing this.
While we’ve always been mindful of what we feed Jacob, sometimes the garbage in the food is nearly unavoidable. Finding the right foods, and the right stores to buy them in, has become a daily task.
It doesn’t help that Nancy and I tuned into this “60 Minutes” report from a few weeks ago that basically said sugar–namely high fructose corn syrup–was the devil in food’s clothing. The segment prompted us to go on a crusade last weekend to find healthier snacks for our nearly-three-year-old Ox.
Watching Jacob eat solid foods for the past two years or so, we learned quickly what sugar could do to a child. We didn’t introduce it for quite a while; in fact, there’s a photo of him on his first birthday, looking disgusted at a cupcake with chocolate frosting on it. He actually pushed it away during the party, and opted for fruit.
But then it crept in. A cookie here. A lollipop there. Sugar can quickly become a child’s form of crack. Once they have it, they want it–even need it sometimes. Rather than committing a crime to get their fix, they’ll throw tantrums and change personalities in a heartbeat.
And we don’t want any part of that.
So, we headed over to the Healthe Shoppe in Chester and found some perfect snacks, including all-fruit 'leather' strips, organic fruit snacks, organic cookies, wild blueberries and other quick hits we knew Jacob would enjoy. The price, however, was tough to swallow.
Comparison shopping at the nearby ShopRite was helpful, as we found some of the same products at a lower cost, but the variety just wasn’t there.
So I’m asking you, the faithful and intelligent Patch readers and parents, what can I do to make sure my kids are eating the most nutritious foods they can?
Do you have a recipe you can share? Know of a place nearby to get these organic–or at least very healthy–foods, possibly at a cost less than a paycheck per month?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and experiences. Thanks for listening to me rant.
And now, for Russ Crespolini’s weekly roundup.
I am not going to lie and say I have the healthiest relationship with food. I don't. It is a major character flaw I am very much hoping not to pass on to my little girl, At 14 months, we are really lucky that my daughter will try ANYTHING. She loves vegetables, she loves fruit, she loves it all. My personal concern is the expense of these organic foods and where those prices are going to go. My wife is a social worker. I am a journalist. And so that leaves me trying to balance my desire to feed my little girl chicken without hormones so she doesn't go through puberty at eight and being able to afford to send her to college. Does this stuff concern you? Or is the implied medical risks scare tactics like the fervor over vaccines? What are your thoughts?