Feeding a family takes a lot of planning. How do you know if you are doing a good job? I wonder the same thing.
The struggle in my mind is real:
“I should make something for breakfast. Except no one eats breakfast but me, so I don’t want to be wasteful. Do we have any cereal just in case? I bet we don’t have any milk. Maybe I should start buying almond milk. I think Haley is lactose intolerant. I read that cows milk isn’t really supposed to be eaten by humans. Is it bad that no one is eating breakfast? Are the girls going to fail tests today because they are starving? Maybe I should fast until noon. I haven’t eaten since last night around 7:00, so that would be like 17 hours. Is fasting is good for you? What is for school lunch today? Shoot, I don’t have any lunch box food. I guess they will just have to eat whatever is served. Do they have lunch money? How healthy are school lunches anyway? Is Michelle Obama still in charge of school lunch?”
I think about food almost constantly, and almost never because I’m hungry. I wake up thinking about what everyone is going to eat and if we are making good food choices. I wonder whether I am eating too much and gaining weight or eating too little and not getting the right nutrients. I worry that we are eating all the wrong things and are going to have diabetes or heart disease.
My relationship with food is complicated. Feeding my family isn’t easy either.
I have watched just about every food documentary on Netflix. (Don’t do this to yourself- I have learned virtually nothing and am still confused about what is ok to eat.) Each one places the blame for the state of nutrition today in a different place- antibiotics, poor living conditions for animals, the sugar industry, companies that genetically modify crops for better yields…
I have studied the human body and response to disease, taken nutrition classes, and even taught others about the connection between food and illness.
I still struggle with what to feed my family.
We also have a few food issues in our house, like so many of you. I am sensitive to gluten and sugar/carbs (they cause migraines), Haley is sensitive to lactose (we think), and Alyssa has declared herself vegetarian. Making a meal that takes all of this into account is virtually impossible. And that’s not even considering anyone’s tastes.
If the average family struggles as much as I do, it is no wonder we have so many nutritional disorders- namely obesity.
Convenience foods have become a staple in the American diet. I am just as guilty as anyone for buying and serving food like potato chips, bread, and soda. I have hit the drive through, ordered pizza, and reheated chicken nuggets. I grew a garden this summer of which we ate not one single vegetable. I hope the deer enjoyed the tomatoes.
We know the problem: there is not much nutritional value in convenience foods. In fact, many of them (especially anything labeled “low fat”) just trick our minds and we eat more junk food because we aren’t satisfied. We eat more, we gain more, and our kids do the same.
I was originally going to write about some research I found that linked working mothers to childhood obesity. But I don’t think that’s fair. Sure, when I was a working mom we ate out more and often had whatever was the easiest and fastest to cook, but I still fail in this area. SAHMs theoretically have more time to shop and plan, therefore are able (if they choose) to make healthier choices. We are home after school to stop our kids from eating all of the junk in the house and to make sure they don’t sit in front of the TV for hours. But we still aren’t sure we are doing it right.
I imagine women from every generation have struggled with this basic human need. Our ancestors spent much of their time and energy just finding food, then suffering from diseases and premature death because of it. Today there are so many choices that we can’t make a clear determination of what we should be eating and are still suffering from diseases and premature death because of it.
In fact, I would say that every woman starting with Eve has struggled with her relationship with food. Even Eve ate the one thing she was told not to.