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Make a list, check it twice

Make a list, check it twice

By: By LEANNE ELY The Dinner Diva

The other day on our radio show, we had a call from a woman who wanted to make some changes in her life with regard to the food her family was eating. She said she knew it was out of control and things had to change. She felt bad, she had no energy and she wanted a better way.
Does that describe you? You know things aren’t right in your pantry. You know you could do better in your fridge, too. Dinner is a wait-and-see proposition. Sometimes you have time to make it, but most times you drive-through or order pizza. There is no semblance of order to the food in your life and the concern for nutrition is secondary and only comes in pangs of guilt, not from planning.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Taking care of the food in your family’s life doesn’t have to be hard, massively time consuming or brain numbing. You just have to spend a small amount of time on it and it will pay you back in dividends. I promise.
Here are five simple rules of thumb to keep in mind next time you’re in the grocery store. This will help you get the food that will make you feel good, not guilty:
1) Buy stuff that is grown in the ground and easily recognizable. Also known as fruit and vegetables, most of these items won’t come in boxes with colorful labels.
2) With few exceptions, most food purchased with a coupon is really pseudo-food that you’re not going to want to put in your body. Even if you can double a coupon and buy Hot Pockets, Bagel Bites or something else equally unworthy for less than a dollar, do you still REALLY think this is such a good deal when you consider the negative nutrition you’re really going to consume?
3) Read what’s in the food you are considering purchasing. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it. Further, if you don’t know what some of the ingredients are on the list, don’t buy it either.
4) Make sure you are buying food without dyes. Did you know that the pink coloring of “Good and Plenty” candy comes from cochineal beetles and their eggs? Pink yogurts also have this coloring and, yes, it also comes from dead bugs and their offspring. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
5) Use a list. For goodness sake, you can’t make magical menus appear off the top of your head, shopping in the grocery store without a list. It takes planning, a menu, a little creativity and, yes, a grocery list. I have a bunch of sample menus (with the grocery list) for you to use if you want to give them a try. You know where the Dinner Diva lives.
We have enough on our plates (bad pun, sorry) without having the food in our house be an issue. Don’t you agree? Then hop on the band wagon and let’s get the food in our households under control so that it is helping us to be the best we can be, not weighing us down, making us feel guilty.
Life is too short for crummy nutrition. Do like Santa. Make a list and check it twice. You really do need to know what foods are naughty and which ones are nice.
For more help putting dinner on the table check out the Web site or the Saving Dinner Book series published by Ballantine and her New York Times Best Selling book Body Clutter, published by Fireside. Copyright 2007; Leanne Ely. Used by permission in this publication.
Published in The Messenger 12.21.07


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