Mom and kids at costco

“Mom, what is that?”

My 8 year old asked this while watching an old family video. She had seen me handing a bag of “fruit snacks” to my then 3 year old (now 14). She’d never seen that glorified gummy confection before, because I haven’t bought them in her short lifetime. An older brother remembered and explained.

“Oh Mom, we used to get those!” exclaimed that same older brother, pointing at some Cheez­its as we entered Costco. He hadn’t accompanied me there in some time, and reminisced as we passed many products which had been staples of our diet in the past. “Remember bagels and cream cheese for lunch?” “Oh man, nacho cheese!” Poor guy nearly tripped over himself.

I always thought I did a pretty good job feeding my family. Meals were much like they’d been when I was growing up. Cereal for breakfasts, but not Cap’n Crunch or Cocoa Puffs (I said farewell to those in the college cafeteria), instead Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats. Lunches were sandwiches, cheese crisps, bagels, corn dogs and chips. Or Cheetos. Oh, Cheetos… I did always make my kids eat some fruit before they could have a small piece of candy for lunch dessert. I felt a balanced dinner consisted of a meat, a veggie (which could just as well have been canned corn as salad) and a starch—rice, potato or pasta.

Life was so busy.

With kids, homeschooling, and always a baby or toddler, I took advantage of many pre-­fab dinner items. Chicken tenders, Rice-­a-Roni, pot pies, and chimichangas were often on our table. I had some favorite casseroles too, many using cream soups, which now I won’t touch with a ten foot pole. Usually, one night a week I didn’t want to cook at all, and we’d pick up a hundred tacos from Taco Bell. Okay, not a hundred, but we did buy in 10 packs to save money.

And snacks, oh my. Gallons of apple juice, pallets of Goldfish, cubic yards of graham crackers were consumed by my dear children, administered by me, their nurturer. I’m so ashamed.

But that’s what everyone else I knew did too. And maybe that’s what you do, and you’re thinking, “What in the world wrong with that?” Or maybe you’re shaking your head in disbelief, that your chiropractor could have let his wife feed those things to his family! No, you’re not doing that. You’re too nice. Anyway, looking around at my peers, my thinking was, “I’m doing pretty well. I’m not that mom who lets her kid eat mac ‘n’ cheese and hot dogs at every meal because that’s the only thing he’ll eat.”

Want to know about a few of my past daily habits/addictions?

I drank Coke. Every afternoon. I felt like I needed it to get through the rest of my day. Then at night, after the kids were in bed and the house was quiet, ah—time to relax with a soothing bowl of ICE CREAM! Then there was the fly-by-sneak-a snack-when-the-kids-aren’t-looking: an Oreo here, a handful of Wheat Thins there, a few peanut M&Ms stealthily swiped and swallowed…

Personal care products, with few exceptions, were the ones I could find on sale with a coupon, or bought in bulk at Costco. I really never gave a thought to the chemicals I was putting on my and my children’s bodies. All those 30­-letter-­long words on the ingredients list meant nothing to me, and why would I take time to find out what they were? I figured if it had been deemed safe by the FDA, safe it must be.

With so many kids, when one of them brought home a bug from Sunday school, it could mean weeks of illness as it went around our family. To avoid this, I’d spray down every touchable surface with chemical disinfectant, and make sure everyone washed well with anti­bacterial soap. I wish I’d known then what I know now.

Are you still with me?

If you are, I want to encourage you. Whether your life looks similar to mine did, or much worse, or much better, we can all improve our lifestyle. There’s good reason to change—your health affects your whole life! I thought I was doing just fine, but as I have learned and applied, I have reaped the benefits. And you can too! In the next post I will talk about where I had to start. I hope you’ll join me!

More from Cari’s Corner

Meet Cari

Where Change Begins

How to Kick the Sugar Habit

7 Ways to Cut Carbs

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