Food to inspire healthy habits in kids and help make meal-times fun
Dairy & Chilled Aisle:
While everyone’s dietary needs are different and things like allergies, religious beliefs, doctors orders, general food restrictions, and any goals or training needs must be taken into consideration, we’ve found that by going section by section through the grocery store to be a winning strategy when it comes to feeding our families.
The Dairy aisle can be a great space to find healthy snacks and elements that can form the foundation of many well balanced meals, its also fraught with excess sugar, fat, and artificial ingredients that can add up in a hurry.
This is the aisle where our family tends to find a good portion of our protein for the week. In addition to key staples such as eggs and milk, we also take advantage of the versatility that things like yogurt offer our rotational meals. For us, we try not to go overboard in this aisle (hello saturated fat!), but our primary focus is to avoid food additives (sweeteners, artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, etc) and lean Organic whenever possible
On the List:
- 2% Dairy Milk
- Non-Dairy Alternative (typically unsweetened, unflavored Almond)
- Part Skim Cheese Snacks
- Plain or Plain Greek Yogurt
- Block of Cheese
- Half & Half
For this Kookist family it’s not so much about what we put into our cart – I’m sure many readers could point out any number of things we could be doing better – its about what we keep out of our cart and work to build healthy lifestyles and diets for our family that have wide appeal and are versatile.
We give our kids Dairy milk and stick to the 2% variety – hoping for a balance of milk fat, calcium, and protein. While the kids will drink milk with many meals, the adults will use it most frequently in our cereals, smoothies, oatmeal, and baking. We also tend to buy organic if available and not prohibitively expensive.
Greek yogurt gives us a wonderful source of additional protein and calcium while also helping with gut health. Whether being eaten with fresh fruit, honey, and chia seeds in the morning, going into a smoothie, or subbing in for Sour Cream, Greek Yogurt is a rock star in our house. Here too we go Organic, although with prices seemingly surging, sometimes we opt for the conventional option.
We offer our kids mozzarella cheese sticks periodically as a healthy snack and when we cook or bake with cheese, we’ve learned to buy the basic block instead of the pre-shredded bags. Not only does this save money, but I’ve found the cheese doesn’t spoil nearly as quickly, melts creamier, and simply tastes better! I’ve heard that the (lack of) anti-caking ingredient that goes into the shredded variety is what makes the difference and while I can’t speak to that – I’d encourage you to give it a go. All you need is a box shredder or sharp knife and you’re in business!
PRO TIP – Use the Dishwasher to clean your metal box shredder. Don’t cheap out & buy a plastic one.
A pint of half and half for my coffee replaces the colorful flavored creamers that helped hook me on coffee almost 20 years ago. Just take a glance at the sugar level, artificial sweeteners, or simply the length of a typical ingredient list and you’ll understand why I made the switch. Butter we use sparingly, but the theme continues – we use real butter, not margarine, or other butter alternatives – no matter their labels, claims, or marketing tactics. We try to eat real food as much as possible.
While this Kookist family will never claim to have a perfect diet, I am very proud of the thoughtful approach we take with our food and since having children we are very careful about reading labels and ingredient lists. With everything we eat, we aim to eat well, educate our kids, and inspire healthy habits for life.
What does your cart look like? Are there anything you’d add to our list? Share your thoughts, feedback and meal ideas in the comment section and let’s see what the Kookist community thinks.