Food, Calories, & a Little Bit of Budget!

Cooking, kitchen, pots and pans . . . to many women these are distasteful words because they are usually the ones who have to make use of them. Face it, food preparation for our families is an ongoing, relentless chore many dread. My husband said his worst nightmare would be having to think of what to fix every day. Yes, we moms get to handle the food aspect of life many times over from purchasing to preparing to clean up. Two hours of food prep is usually eaten within the space of ten minutes!

Every day the news brings us more information on what we should eat and what is now on the bad list. The wonder edible of yesterday is today’s sure cause of death . . . if not worse! All we can do is the best we can. It does, however, take attitude as in a good attitude to bring healthy meals to our table each day.

If you start reading ingredient labels, it might shock you into investigating your grocery purchases more carefully. It is scary when you see how much fat and sugar is included in some packaged meal you thought was good for you and your family. You are also paying a lot for the convenience of a packaged meal or snack. Just to get an idea:

Kentucky Fried Chicken thigh 360 calories; 230 of fat
Made at home, baked chicken thigh 237 calories; 123 of fat
Of course, there are those who will continue in favor of convenience, not too worried about cost. A KFC thigh will cost you approximately $1.33 – for one piece of chicken! If you watch your sales, you can buy a five-pound chicken for 59 cents a pound or $2.95 for two thighs, two wings, two sections of white meat, two legs, and a back and innards for the soup pot. Cooking may not be our favorite past time but do we want heavenly credit for being good stewards of our family income?

Yes, cooking is an every day chore but you can brighten the process by looking at it as a challenge rather than a burden. Do you feel better dumping a bucket of chicken on the table or setting out platters of food you prepared yourself? You are what you eat and your children will surely reflect that. Part of our parental responsibility is keeping our children healthy and food is a constant influence on their bodily and mental future.

Dads don’t get off easily in the food department, either. My husband began dinner table rules when our children were little:

1. You can’t leave the table until the vegetables/salad are eaten.
2. If dad eats it, you will, at least, try it.
3. Never insult the cook’s (aka mom!) culinary offerings.

As the husband, you have to support your wife in her cooking efforts. Like the children, if you don’t like something, eat it anyway and be a good example!
It bothers me when I hear mothers complain that ‘my husband won’t eat this’ or ‘my children refuse to try that’. You might have a family meeting once a week to find out what people would like to eat and then work around that in your menu planning. If you children can read, encourage them to look up recipes. If they prefer certain meats, ask them to research interesting ways to fix it. If they don’t like some vegetables or fruits, challenge them to find a way to fix them that they would be willing to try. Make sure your husband knows he is an important part of the healthy eating process and should participate in the planning ideas and the eating! You might also remind him that as primary care giver from the kitchen ranks, you can wield that heavy frying pan any way you see fit!

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