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.