Do you actually look at your dinner plate?

Mondays we typically have stir-fry.      My beloved chops up fresh veggies then sautes them into a wholesome dinner. Tonight we paired the veggies with pasta.

What did you have for dinner?

In our fast-paced, zoom-zoom-zoom life, I wonder if anybody actually looks at their dinner plate anymore.  Meals have become something you eat on the go, something to curb the appetite, or something to do while you’re watching American Idol.  Let’s face it, we’re hungier than ever because we have no idea what we’re even eating. Let me tell you — it’s mostly crap.

As you know, I’ve been on a food journey these last few months.  In the effort to eliminate all the hidden sugar in my diet, I’ve eliminated soda, and I’m strictly controlling the amount of processed sugar I consume.  It’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s working.  I’m losing a couple of pounds a week, and I’m seeing positive changes in my physical health.  Understand, I’m not dieting. I’m simply eating better.  And so is my family.  My son has lost weight, as has my beloved.  While there is still a long way to go, we’re getting there one plate at a time.

This whole journey began as we developed the blog. During the writing process, I’ve learned a lot about myself and exactly how healthy our family – wasn’t.  I’ve also come to realize that modern American families know very little about nutrition.  I certainly don’t, and I know few of my friends understand it either.  We’re constantly talking about the struggles of simply getting a meal on the table.  For many families, it’s easier to grab something on the way home than to roll up our sleeves and head into our beautifully-appointed kitchens.  I understand — I’ve been there and done that.  But it’s time to get over it and put those fabulous stoves to work.

One of my favorite bloggers recently posted a picture of what she had packed for her child’s school lunch.  It was a photographic delight that any child would be thrilled to find in their lunch box.  But as I read her post, I was shocked that, for all her knowledge about “real food,” she had made a grand mistake about meal planning.  Nearly everything she packed in that lunch was sugar- or fructose-based with very little protein included.   My 48-year-old body couldn’t handle that much sugar, and frankly, I don’t know how her 1st grader could either.

“Here’s my 1st grader’s lunch: Triple-decker waffle/cream cheese sandwich, fruit (mango/grapes/blueberries), and a little homemade trail mix (sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds/dried apple rings/dried mango). What did everyone else pack today?”

For some unknown reason, I decided to call her out on it.  Dozens of moms took me to task for it.  One even told me that the cream cheese alone was 10 grams of protein and that six-year-olds only needed 30 grams per day.  I don’t know about them, but my mother would never consider a triple-decker waffle/cream cheese sandwich as nutritious, especially when paired with fresh fruit and dried fruit trail mix. And I don’t either.  While it might make an excellent midnight snack, as a meal it’s just–whacked.

We all make nutritional mistakes. Goodness knows I still make them.  I once posted a recipe on this blog for muffins that was so full of sugar that I am surprised it didn’t cause someone to lapse into a diabetic coma.  (See how much I’ve learned?)

I think we all need to step back and rethink how we organize our meals and actually look at what’s on our dinner plate.  We know this stuff people. We’re smart, educated individuals.  Our mothers raised us to know what was healthy and nutritious — thru osmosis if nothing else.  But what are we teaching our children?  Too busy to cook? Call for pizza delivery.  No wonder obesity is now the norm; we’re nutritionally bankrupt.

We need to open our eyes and actually look at our dinner plate.  What do you see?  What will that food do for your body?  Will it provide you the energy you need?  Will it build healthy blood cells and strong muscles?  How much of that food will turn to sugar?  If you don’t know, then head for your nearest internet search engine and find out.

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting on our Facebook page and on Instagram what we’re eating for dinner.  I invite you to follow along.  Disclaimer: our meals are not something you can create in 30 minutes or less, and they certainly aren’t “semi-homemade.”  But each meal is full of nutrition, and the leftovers are often packed for lunch.  How do we do it?  We cook together, and we plan ahead.  My favorite tool in our kitchen? The deep freeze.

Join in. I invite you to share photos of what’s on your plate.  It’ll be fun, and maybe we’ll all learn a thing or two.

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