Monday, June 24, 2013

Keeping up with the Produce

Today it took ninety minutes for the kids to finish lunch.  Breakfast was about an hour long.  I can hardly believe how much time we need to devote to meals sometimes...the kids just eat and eat.  I also can't believe the amount of produce that we purchase...and consume.

For lunch today we made peanut butter sandwiches.  To go with that, I made an 8-cup smoothie that filled my Vitamix to the top; in it were:  2 cups organic blueberries; 2 cups organic strawberries; 3 spears of pineapple; 1.5 cups frozen mango; 3 packed cups of organic baby spinach; 1 cup yogurt; 1/4 cup hemp; 1/4 cup chia seeds; 2 Tbsp agave nectar; and enough water to make it all smooth.  The kids inhaled the smoothie and their sandwiches.

After lunch was finished, the boys said that they were still hungry and asked if they could make a salad.   Lizzie said she was starving.  So they pulled out the spinach, grated cheese, bacon bits, and dressing and made themselves a big platter of salad to share as a threesome.  After finishing that platter, they made another full platter of salad.  Between the smoothie and the platters of salad, they consumed about 3/4 of one of those large packages of spinach that we get from Costco.

They were still hungry and pleaded for oranges.  I ended up slicing six oranges and they inhaled them all.  Yesterday at Costco I bought two of those large boxes of oranges and the first box has only three left in it.

At Costco yesterday, the cashier commented on the amount of fresh fruits and veggies that we were purchasing and asked what the occasion was.  "Nothing," I said, mildly embarrassed.  "It's my kids.  And this'll all be gone in a few days and we'll be back again."

I don't know where they put all of the food, 'cause they're all pretty lean kids.  I don't even always know if I should be feeding them so much.  But the thing is that it's all healthy food (well, maybe not the commercial salad dressing and bacon bits, but everything else), so I just keep saying yes to it all.

But our grocery's just getting higher and higher every month, it seems.  And they're not even teenagers yet.


  1. I'm afraid to know how much my boys would eat (and even Lil, if I let her snack all day as she seems inclined to do) if I gave them free reign. I can eat constantly, too, if I let myself, but grocery budget realities and vague notions of "moderation" (ha!) keep me somewhat restrained! I know, it's so hard to tell what is necessary for the events where we let them go back for seconds and thirds they rarely identify feeling home they are often given close to what I give myself, and at their ages, I figure that's likely fine (and they always look healthy and weigh in appropriately at check-ups)... I find your posts interesting, since my approach is really different - they get what they are served, and are not to ask for food between meals and snacks (and I do make sure they have snacks with both a protein or carb and a fruit or veggie). We make a point of letting them know that we will provide what they need and they can trust us, and that like everything, food costs money, and we need to be responsible consumers of it. One of my boys does not self-regulate with food, and our youngest would end up wasting a fair bit if left to her own devices. Still haven't figured out a brilliant solution to ease up a bit and give a bit more choice about when to snack and how to access reasonable amounts at those times...hmm.

  2. They are very different approaches, Joy, I agree with you. It'll be interesting to see how they both play out over time. Both approaches will likely end up being just fine!

    The thing I keep comforting myself with is that all three kids know when they feel full and they'll stop...even half way through chewing a bite of cookie sometimes, which always makes me laugh in amazement. Seth and Lizzie took about a year+ to finally start feeling full (after coming home to Canada) but they definitely know the feeling now. There are also times when they're simply not hungry at meal/snack time and they eat little or nothing...this isn't common, but it's comforting to me that they understand their bodies. They are definitely allowed to eat 'junk' food, but they eat mostly very healthily and a wide range of foods, so I feel comfortable, too, knowing that they're getting a very nutritious diet...they're not overeating on the junky food.

    The other thing I notice (as I've mentioned before) is that it's when Lizzie feels controlled (by me/us) in her eating that her preoccupation with food clearly begins to grow. Almost to the second, as soon as I start making food readily available now, she expresses being done/full, etc

    Who knows. I'm someone with a lot of food baggage and issues and, despite trying to do things differently for my kids, I might be messing this up!

    We'll keep the discussion going, and I hope time helps you figure out, too, what will work with your's a maze, isn't it?


  3. This is really interesting, especially the different ways of approaching food and how kids respond. The other thing Ruth is that it sounds like your kids are very active so their bodies are using the "fuel" provided, especially all the great healthy foods. Perhaps you should consider buying a grocery store to get fruits and veg at cost. :-) I remember as a child our family traveled to BC one summer and we stopped at a cherry orchard to pick some cherries to bring home. The rule at the orchard was that kids were allowed to eat any cherries fallen on the ground already. We ate a lot of cherries that day. I can imagine your kids loving being in an orchard with freedom to eat any fallen fruit! Lots of things in parenting to consider and be deliberate about. I really enjoy reading your blog and comments from others. A wealth of info and btdt to help those of us waiting process what life might be like! Allison

  4. Ha ha Allison - I laughed out loud at your comment about buying a grocery store!!

    Last summer, I took the kids strawberry picking and I kept hoping the owners wouldn't come down our row...'cause let me assure you that my kids ate more than we purchased that quite a margin!

    Mmm...eating as many cherries as you THAT sounds awesome, cherries being amongst my favourite fruits. I think we'd all prove ourselves gluttons under such a situation!

    Yes, I love having others comment on their styles and variations because it's all part of learning...and hopefully these things will store up for you for when your kids are home!

    Thanks for being here Allison.


  5. Hi Ruth, I so enjoy your blog. I always smile when you post about how much your kids can eat. As a mom of 2 teenagers, all I can say is it doesn't get any cheaper. Wonder what I will do with all that money when we finally become empty nesters.
    I am curious about how your flower pots turned out. Would love to see some photos.
    Susan (from PAC)

  6. Thanks Susan - how lovely of you!!

    Sigh - so I really do need to buy a grocery store, as another reader suggested, in order to reduce our grocery expenses?? I'm kinda thinking that this might be why so many empty nesters travel after their kids leave the nest...there's so much money left over for such luxuries!

    Flower pot pictures coming up - thanks for asking!



  7. I'm posting this for a friend, who had trouble posting a comment here so sent me an email instead, which she has given me permission to share. Thanks Janelle!!


    Hello Ruth!
    It's been a long time since I've had a chance to respond, but hopefully I'm not too rusty! I'll reply first as a social worker weighing in. Second as a sister of a lady with a past that includes absolute starvation. Third as a woman who seems to have transformed each of the many food issues one could have into extra pounds to be lugged around.

    As a social worker, I have seen every style under the sun in terms of managing "food issues" (for lack of a better term). From the daily food rationing to the buffet of all things yummy, but seldom nutritious, I have seen it all. Yet, the only thing I'm consistently seeing is that every style works for somebody, but often times, I'm convinced the families have their somebodies mixed up. :) Thankfully, most every family has the best of intentions, they want to raise children who have adequate nutrition and are in tune with what it takes to keep a body healthy. Where it seems to go askew is a few years past adoption when food preoccupation is still alive. An undercurrent that you know could you take you down if there isn't a flotation device attached to your family's food planning/patterns. I often wonder if people just get tired of having to be so aware of their children's eating, when it seems effortless for other families. Up until the time that the food issues become the food battles, I think all styles have their merit. However, I try to get families to think about choosing what would make them the most comfortable if their adult children query their food history. It makes what you're doing seem like a kinder choice and likely one that leads to greater security around nourishment in the long run. This might be a different story if the mass consumption you highlight consisted of less stellar food choices. You're sure giving them top-notch nutrition!

    (to be continued)

  8. (this is Janelle's comment, continued...)

    As the sister of a little lady with a horrendous past of having been starved, I likely have less to contribute, but it still seems relevant. The only thing I can really add is that nearly twenty years later since our family was blessed with her, we know we made the right choice. We allowed her full access to a variety of healthy foods and a touch of junk food too. When she ate less and became quite picky, we still made sure that she knew she could always choose more. A few times, I was quite convinced that I was helping to raise a glutton. However, I was also keenly aware that on some level she would always recall a time of absolute starvation. As the years passed, it became easier to just follow her lead. Her pre-occupation with food still shows itself from time to time, but we just know that's a sign to increase snacks or access in general. Allowing her to be in the driver's seat around food consumption has resulted in a healthy, appreciative eater who has a fraction of the stress over food that I do.

    As an overly fluffy woman who was raised by the same parents as my sister but at a different time, I believe that I am the product of the world of food restrctions. Don't get me wrong, I have fantastic parents and was never starved or overweight as a child. Plus, I have every opportunity to change now, but haven't quite got there yet. The thing is though, there were so many restrictions that when I started to become my own food patrol board, I forgot anything about moderation. Add some turbulent disordered eating in my late teens and voila, you have a fat social worker who still thinks food should be an all or nothing ordeal. A very happy, fat social worker at least! :) Bottom line, I've no doubt that the way we're raised around food can have incredible benefits or consequences. I'm delighted to see how much thought you continue to put into this. I'll keep an ear to the ground about other creative ways families are managing this matter.

    All the best. Sorry for rambling as per usual!