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May 22, 2014

When Couponing Doesn't Work

If you have followed me for very long, you know my love for finding a great deal!
Yes, I am a couponer~ I love to shop great deals at Harris Teeter and CVS, and I love to use Southern Savers as my guide.

While I love a bargain and find great deals on a lot of what our family uses, there are most definitely times when couponing does not work for us. You see, most of my "couponing" is actually for non-food items...

When Couponing Doesn't Work
When Couponing Doesn't Work

Let me explain: Many coupons are for items that we do not use - processed items, [unhealthy] frozen foods, etc...junk that I do not want to feed my family. When I enter the grocery store, I find myself shopping the edge of the grocery store - the produce department, the fresh meat section, the refrigerated dairy area, etc. I completely avoid the soda aisle, the racks of cookies, the sugary cereals, the high-sodium canned goods, etc. I read labels - pretty much every.single.label.

While there are certain situations that are difficult to control, and I definitely do not want to be an extremist, I do work very hard to make sure my kids are eating as whole and healthy as possible.
It is my husband's diet that is the hardest to control. *smile*

From the time my littles start eating solids, they eat real food - tons of produce...lots of good fats, tons of fiber, gobs of vitamins, you get the idea. Junk food, candy, sweets, etc. - not an option. Sure, they get tiny little tastes of things when they visit their grandparents, attend a special event, etc. As I said, the goal is not to be completely extreme - but to focus on balance...moderation...of all things good.

Below are the categories and how we do things around here:

We try to stick with organic milk, antibiotic-free cheese, free-range eggs, and plain Greek yogurt.

As much as possible, we like to use grass-fed beef, hormone-free chicken, nitrate-free lunchmeat, etc.

Our diet is HEAVY on fruits and vegetables - From the time my kiddos begin eating table food, they are completely inundated with every kind of fruit and vegetable you can think of - literally! We frequent the markets, and we love to involve the little ones in picking out produce/interacting with local growers/etc.

Snacks & Drinks:
We avoid any snacks/drinks that include processed sugars, dyes, additives, etc. - yes, this includes most juices. Goldfish crackers, animal crackers, [most] granola bars, etc. do not enter our house...unless the grandparents bring them...and then what's a girl to do? My kids get enough of these kinds of snacks at church and other pre-school events. I would rather send my own snacks for them. I would rather there not be any snack at all.
However, (Oh, how it drives me crazy, though!)

Sauces & Dips:
We avoid sauces, dips, etc. that include high-fructose corn syrup and/or high levels of sodium.

Fast Food:
Our kids have no idea what that is - Well, they do like Chick-fil-a's grilled nuggets with a fruit cup and milk. Does that count?

We don't buy junk for them. Therefore, they don't eat junk. If you've found yourself in a bad cycle with this, quit buying certain foods, and they'll eventually get hungry enough to eat something healthy. You may think that sounds harsh, but I have encountered many a kiddo who simply need to have their taste buds retrained.

I love that my kids eat a diet [mostly] free of processed sugars, dyes, preservatives, additives, hormones, etc. This is what they know. This is what they eat. This is what they think is "food". I like it that way, and I hope they always crave real food. Exceptions are made for small tastes of treats - Exceptions are made at Grandma's house - Exceptions are made when we eat out at a restaurant - We want our kids to experience all different kinds of textures, tastes, varieties, etc. - for many reasons, but also so they don't go crazy when they get around processed junk that everyone else is eating - but (except for those blasted goldfish crackers that they seem to get everywhere.they.goes) they typically refuses junk and goes for something real.

And if the day comes, and I realize it may, when they are sitting around with their buddies stuffing their face full of greasy pizza and soda pop, I pray that they will remember with fondness the days when broccoli crowns and preservative-free cheese made them happy.
*Insert Dramatic Sigh*
(and a smile)

For More Healthy Eating Ideas for Little Ones: Making Homemade Toddler Food