If you are a mom who uses coupons, you have probably had times where you felt guilty (or through the comments of others, were made to feel guilty) about the food that you are giving your children as a result of using those coupons. Let's be honest – if you were to only feed your children “coupon food”, then you would be feeding your kids a lot of junk.
But since I'm sure you aren't feeding them just “coupon food”, it's time to get rid of any guilt.
If you read parenting books or some magazines or even just listen to other moms, it seems that anyone who isn't feeding their children hydroponically grown vegetables (that never touched icky dirt) or grass-fed free-range beef (that is gently nudged to it's death with the sounds of Bach in the background) is ensuring their children a lifetime of obesity, illness and early death. Give your child a Pop Tart? You may as well hand them a bottle of cyanide!
To that I say <deleted>!
Like all things, moderation is the key. Give your child that PopTart. As long as you are also giving the grapes, bananas and other fruits & veggies you are fine! And somebody please tell me…what is the difference between me giving my child a Pop Tart as an after-school snack instead of the generally-accepted-as-hunky-dorey cookies? Nothing.
“But what about high-fructose corn syrup? Trans Fats? Hormones in the meat and dairy? Genetically-engineered crops?”
Yes, I agree that many of these things are not desirable (especially the hormones thing, as I have a daughter). For a long time the tinkering around with our food supply got way out of hand and it probably still isn't the best. Thanks to public pressure, many manufacturers are changing their production methods. The trick is to know what is and isn't ok.
The biggest question I always get when I tell someone I only spend about $50/week on groceries is: “How is that possible? You must not eat any fruit or vegetables!” We do (ok – I do…as far as the rest of my family is concerned, anything but bananas or grapes is evil…thank goodness for V-8 Splash!). I buy TONS of frozen vegetables (mostly without sauce) because I can get them for next to nothing. Think that frozen vegetables are nowhere near as healthy as fresh? Check out this article and this one, to name just a few. Frozen fruit can easily be made in to smoothies (or “milkshakes” if it means that your child will eat it….call it whatever you need to!). They get most of the vitamins as with fresh fruit while you saved money!
Finally – before you feel guilty for popping a hot dog in the microwave (although try to make it all-beef…you get fewer lips in your hot dog that way) or handing your child a peanut-butter and fluff sandwich, please try to remember how you grew up. While I am sure there were quite a few GranolaMoms when I was young, I grew up with with the skin on my chicken, drinking Kool Aid, and eating hot dogs and Wonder White Bread like there was no tomorrow. And my favorite candy? Those little bubblegum cigarettes that blew out a puff of powdered sugar…..they were cool! Somehow I managed to live to the ripe old age of 39 and the most serious illness I have ever had was the flu.
So the next time you feel a pang of guilt for popping a hot dog in the microwave for your children, take a look at your child. Is she healthy? Is she happy? Is she developing at a normal pace? If you can answer “Yes” to these questions, then stop feeling guilty.
Just know that you're doing the best that you can.