Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Pre-Thanksgiving Feast

Tonight we got struck by a big ol' snowstorm.

So the kids played outside and then came in cold and I grabbed the new groceries I was unloading and fed them chips and guacamole, and hot cocoa, and threw some frozen pizzas in the oven. For many moms, a typical meal. Very atypical for us.

The kids said, "Wow! We're having a real feast tonight!"

I guess it's not the quantity that makes it a feast. It's the novelty.

Oh, and my take on frozen pizzas. We like them okay. Cheaper than buying pizza from a pizza place and the kids don't seem to notice the difference. Tonight I got Tony's pizza for the first time. We don't usually get it because it's usually not much cheaper than other brands, and, while the box is big enough to hold the same size pizza as the other brands (Red Baron, Kroger, etc), the pizza is smaller (compare the weights). So you're not really saving money. But it was really on sale today, so we got a few. One was "white whole wheat crust"--Great! I thought in the store. Whole wheat is good, right?

Then I got it home and my brain turned on. Okay--we're eating frozen pizza. Has nutritional value similar to a bowl and half of sugar cereal with whole milk, only with lots more sodium and less refined sugar (but the same amount of carbs). I compared the white whole wheat crust nutritional facts with the regular crust--more fat, less protien, but not much different. The whole wheat is the fifth ingredient on the crust (or something like that), with the first being regular old refined flour.

And then I realized that wheat is brown. To get the healthy whole wheat, you get the brown stuff. What's with "white whole wheat?" Since wheat grows brown, that means it may be whole wheat, but it had to be bleached or processed somehow. Isn't the point of getting whole wheat to avoid the processing?

Then I tasted it. It tasted like someone put extract of wheat flavoring into cardboard. You could even smell the "healthy tastes like dust" flavor.

My advice: if you want healthy, make your own pizza with whole wheat crust (preferably that you ground yourself). If you want frozen pizza, just get the normal kind.


morelightthanburden said...

Totally agreed. We actually have a homemade pizza recipe--from scratch (yes, with our own ground wheat), that we love! If you'd like, I could send the recipe along.

By the way, I am currently facing some food dilemmas. I want to shake things up a bit. I am really good at cutting out the unhealthy, processed stuff, but I haven't really found a niche in making all the healthy stuff fun or particularly appetizing. Any advice? What do you guys do generally?

Am I asking too many questions? I probably am, especially for a mommy with a new baby . . . sorry. It's just all too intriguing . . .

Becca Jones said...

I'd love that recipe! We have a home made pizza recipe we like, but I'm always open to new ones.

As for making food fun, I'm lucky. My kids love fresh fruits and fresh veggies. They eat cucumbers the way other kids eat apples, and I frequently find they've 'snuck' a 2 lb bag of baby carrots into the TV room and eaten the whole thing. It gets weird when they sit and eat raw potatoes and cry for fresh avocados.

As for the rest of it, I'm not a purist. I figure if I make it myself, we're in good shape. I use lots of unbleached white flour because I make all our bread, and I'm still working out why nobody will eat it (and why it sometimes doesn't raise) when I grind the wheat and make bread. I figure even with the white sugar and white flour, homemade has fewer chemicals and preservatives than storebought.

Likewise, I buy noodles, figuring buying noodles is better than buying boxed noodle dinners. Sometimes I make my own sauces because they taste better and aren't really hard.

Honestly, it's a juggling act between the 'best way' (home grown, home made everything), practicality for a large family (yes we eat lots of mac and cheese and hot dogs because the kids will actually eat them and they're quick and easy), health, and budget (some fresh is not cheaper, some is).

I usually make healthy, fresh stuff available, encourage the kids to eat it, and have one sit-down meal a night. I pay close attention to my kids' own dietary needs (we need protein often) and we focus on that rather than on someone else's ideal of healthy. For example, we do lots of fats, lots of proteins (even processed ones like peanut butter and hot dogs), fewer simple carbs (unless they're paired with protein), lots of dairy and foods high in l-tyrosine (eggs, beef, peanut butter, etc), avoid red 40 and yellow 5, stay far away from know. The list goes on.

The short answer is: with the ideal in mind and the word of wisdom in hand, we do the best we can with the realities of life with kids.