Cooking with whole foods vs. prepared; finding the balance

I work as a freelance writer and I am a mother of two. My husband owns his own business and works long hours. In an ideal world, I would love to make all my meals strictly with whole foods but with the time constraints of our busy household, this is not always the case. I may use instant rice versus slower cooking rice or thaw frozen veggies versus preparing fresh. At times I feel guilty, but for me, finding a balance between whole foods versus prepared is probably the best for my time and my sanity.

How have I found that balance? Well, if I am going to use instant rice, I read the label and make sure that it is not too high in sodium. Most “quick” prepared foods tend to be so I double-check the ingredients. The American Heart Association recommends that adults who are healthy take in no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day.

I also make sure to check for grams of saturated fat. And, don’t be fooled, it’s amazing the things that are labeled “healthy” or “low fat” but actually aren’t. Now, I’m not saying that I read labels every time I shop and lord knows none of us have time to be standing in the aisle for five minutes per item… but once I’ve compared items, I know next time which brand I prefer.

And yes, the children bring in a whole other dynamic. As we all know, kids don’t always prefer the healthiest products. I once bought my daughter an organic peanut butter but she could not stand the texture. So, I buy her a more mainstream brand and make sure she consumes it in moderation. IMO (In My Opinion) trying to find a healthy balance between whole and prepared foods is easier for my lifestyle and easier on my conscience.

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Heather Parker DeSimone
11 years ago

I can so relate to this post – always a balancing act. I’ve found that whole grain rice is available in relatively ‘instant’ forms which is helpful. But as a Mom it’s nice to know other Moms are ‘moderate’ in finding that balance & still keeping our kids healthy!

red pen mama
11 years ago

I completely identify with this post, too. I would like for us to
move away from processed foods (mostly faux meat as we are
vegetarians) but I’m not sure where I’ll find the time. I joined a
CSA this fall, and even though I got the smallest weekly box, I was
overwhelmed with vegetables! I love to cook, but it’s hard to find
the time with small kids and a full-time, work-outside-the-home
schedule. I’ll be back to read more! ciao, rpm

Rob Gould
11 years ago

This is a great post. Sarah Wallace is kind of like the ultimate
power mom that does all, and does it well. She is the perfect
person to write about balance and, as always, she’s done a great
job. I’m really impressed with the content on this blog. Well done.