Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's Been Done Before

  I finally made it out to Trader Joe’s. Yea-Yea. I know everyone has written about their own great trip, but I found some interesting tidbits I wanted to share. 

   Let me first say that I have never really been a fan of Trader Joe’s. I grew up in California and have been around several of them. I never understood the hype behind the excitement about this chain of stores. I have been to a lot of their stores, even the one in Greenville. “Nothing really special” was my take.

 When they opened a store here in Columbia, I was not super excited to jump in the car with my two little’s and race right over on Opening Day. I was interested to see what they had to offer but not I-have-to-have-it-right-now type of interest. So a few months have gone by and everyone has asked if I have gone yet.

“No, ugh” was my continuous answer.

  Through peer pressure I finally made the trip across town and headed in, with the kids in tow, just before naptime.

  Jesse loves to push the small carts so I was happy to see they had plenty of them to offer. It’s a great addition to any store and I really think more should get them.

  Being that I had both kids, I was not planning on googly-eyeing every item in the store. I had a short list so I could be in and out in a quick minute. I just needed almond milk, cheese, apples, bread and juice.  Easy peasy, right?

  It’s funny what happens when you start reading labels, and your three year old is pushing a cart of his own.

“Mommy, we need watermelon.” Jesse belts out.

“Ok, Sure. We can get a watermelon” says mom as she is deciding that the cheese is good.

  I turn around to see him trying to pick up said watermelon. I phase into an Ally McBeal moment to visualize the stack of watermelon crashing down. Chunks of melon spinning around, people falling, and my kid at the center of it all. Thank god it was too big for him to really even move.

  We made our way to the juices and that’s when a young lady stopped us to ask if we needed help with anything. She proceeded to tell us that if “We bought anything and didn’t like it, we could bring it back”.
  WOAH!? Bring it BACK? What a concept.

She went on to say “They encourage trying new things” hence the return policy.

Oh, It was on! I bought some wasabi seaweed, pea chips and a few other random items I would have never picked up before. Needless to say, my small list became a full cart and I headed to checkout.
I easily caved to my set budget and dove into our monthly budget. I figured for the amount of items I was purchasing it would be a little ding that would work out in the long run.

  The items were rung up and I was truly surprised that the cost was way less then I figured it to be. Huh, ok. Maybe it was a fluke.

We headed home.

  The next week I had a friend in town and she wanted to hit traders. So I headed back with her, her two little’s and my two little’s. 

  We had hit a local park after lunch and were surprised by the sprinkler-tower being on. So we were in traders with semi-wet kids. But once again, it was an in-and-out trip.This time I needed a few meals for dinner, snack stuff and drinks.

We got the meals and other items, and then headed to check out.

 Again, way less then I budgeted!  So much though that I am now convinced I can do a good cut of my shopping there and save a ton of money. I mean I bought four supper meals, wine, snacks and other random odds and ends for right at one hundred dollars.

With this type of savings for me, I can buy more local meats and veggies! Now if I could just make it to the farmers markets on a more regular basis. Baby steps, it’s all about baby steps.  


Monday, June 10, 2013

My First Guest Blog Post

When I was first asked if I wanted to write an article for "Lexington Mommy," I must admit I was totally freaked out! Excited, but none-the-less freaked out! I mean, I am not a Doctor, Nutritionist or Teacher. Who am I to talk about children and food? That's when it hit me. I am a mother of two small children and a wife of a recovered "meat and potatoes man." I am a mom that feeds her family whole nutritious food and...they like it!!

There are a number of ways to train your family to eat "right." It's hard to find what works and doesn't. So I thought I'd offer a few tricks that work for me, in my home.

The biggest one is making sure the kids see us eat the same things that we feed them. One meal, all together at the table. Even when daddy doesn't want to eat it, he does, and in return, they do. This eliminated the "Daddy isn't eating it" for us.

We never force them to eat anything, just encourage them to try new things. Some foods take a few offerings but everything usually gets tried at least a few times.

Some foods take a good masking to start out. For example, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus aren't always exciting at first taste! For veggies like these, I started out adding some yummy bacon while it cooked, then over time omitted the bacon. This left the undesirable food well, more desirable. Okay, I still occasionally add the bacon, I mean it is bacon after all!!

Next, I would say to start early. Even before the kids had a mouth full of teeth they ate "real" food. Steamed veggies were a staple item during the "gumming it" stage. I wouldn't add anything to it, like butter or salt. I just kept it simple. Now we've moved on to roasted and grilled vegetables.

Involving your children in the process of grocery shopping, prepping and cooking is another fantastic way to help encourage them to eat! It's amazing what they will eat when THEY make it!

Just remember that it's what you do most of the time that matters. So don't beat yourself up because you hit the occasional fast food joint. Soon enough eating healthier will become what you crave and the drive through will be a thing of the past.