I was ready to type out a recipe for the blog when the thought occurred to me. I really need to define what I deem healthy because it may not be how others define it. I’m very careful to pair the term “healthy” with my recipes since I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist. (although I would love to be one day!)  I couldn’t tell you how many calories are in 1/4 cup of butter or how many carbs are in 2 cups of flour without looking at the food label.  So because I’m not skilled or educated specifically in these areas, I tread lightly.

To be honest, I never scour my cookbooks or online for recipes that use the term low-fat or low-carb. I’m not interested in taking a heavily caloric meal and taking it down a few notches by replacing butter with margarine, or by substituting a chemical sugar in place of real sugar. What I look for in recipes are the initial, basic ingredients. The more simple (as in more in their original state) the ingredients are, the more apt I am to choose the recipe.I keep the words “whole” , “fresh” and “clean” in mind when cooking.

I don’t count calories. I eat until I’m full or just before.

I don’t purchase low-fat cookies or chips. I get the regular and use self-control…usually 🙂

I don’t use splenda as a substitute for sugar. I use white and eat it in moderation.

I don’t avoid carbs in my diet. I choose whole grain and eat them in balance with the rest of my food.

Is there a time and a place for those things above? Probably. And in certain people’s circumstances, I might recommend it. But just like anything I do in life, I want it to be a part of a long-term lifestyle change. I want to put into practice qualities that I deem respectable in my life into my physical life. Eating is no different.

I let other factors define what I consider a healthy meal is, and what I would like to fill and fuel my family with. When I choose a meal, I base it on how it will ADD to my families health as opposed to going through a checklist of foods I dare not touch. I generally like a stripped down version of food. Then I like to add and modify as I see fit.

However, there are things I typically avoid:

– High Fructose Corn Syrup. I see that “they” are on an advertising kick about it not being that bad, but just listen to the name of it!

– Trans Fats. You can’t live in America and not know what those are! Be careful though because they can declare it 0 trans fats even if it has traceable amounts (less than .5g)

– Chemical sugars….or anything not meant to replace sugar. I don’t purchase things like lite yogurt or granola bars. (Sometimes the phrase “no sugar added” is used. If so, check the label) OK. You caught me. I do love Diet Coke! But it’s only about 2-3 cans a week!

– Foods with LOTS of weird, long words. I admit. I am not 100% on every single thing I purchase. There are times I purchase a boxed item with a funky ingredient name, but that’s not what would define most of what we eat.

– Boxed cakes, brownies, muffins etc. Am I 100% on this? No way. 2 weeks ago I made a coconut cake out of a vanilla cake mix. Do I think it’s the end of the world if I use boxed? No. But I do try first to make it from scratch.

– Low fat or Low carb anything. SHOCK! What they take away in fat, they add in more sugar which if I had my druthers, I’d take the fat. I’d rather purchase the regular sour cream, cheese and chips and just use a little self-control. You generally won’t see my pantry filled with lots of that stuff.

I usually get asked every now and again about organic food. My answer is this. If I had lots and lots of extra money in my grocery budget to spend on organic, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but the reality is, I don’t have that kind of money. Now I know the people pro-organic would tell me that any amount of money is worth doing this for your health, but at this point, I feel that I balance being “healthy” in so many areas, that I feel OK with the route I go. I will say, however, I try to buy meat and poultry that maybe isn’t certified organic, but would have no growth hormones or additives (shout out to Duma Meats!!). If I can find organic yogurts or milks on sale, I will purchase them (I always stop in the organic section) but as a general rule, it is a small portion of my groceries.

I’d love to hear how you guys choose the food you have for your families!I am by NO MEANS a professional or expert in this area. I’m not telling you to stop what you are doing and make it match with mine. I just thought I’d share what works for me. I do a lot of reading in regards to healthy eating and lifestyle and I do find that my general view on healthy eating is supported by many of the leading fitness experts and nutritionists, so I can’t be TOO far off! 🙂

My next blog post will be about how I meal plan for our family. (I get asked that a lot too!) Stay tuned!