The food choices we face when trying to eat better can be challenging, and sometimes downright daunting. Vegetarian or Flexitarian. Raw Foods or Whole Foods. Organic or Supermarket.

I am determined, however, to eat better and help my family eat better too. But what does “eating better” really mean?

The answer can be different for each family. For some it means simply eliminating sugary sodas and refined sugar snacks. For others it means eating only whole foods that have not been processed – even grinding their own flour. Many people feel all organic is the way to go. Vegetarians vary in scope, some eating animal products and others never.

Me? There are aspects of all of these food systems that I find appealing. So here is what I will be implementing in my home, something I am going to call “balanced bounty.”

Eat Less Meat

This past summer I watched the movie Food, Inc. and had my eyes fully opened to how the majority of animals are raised for food in this country. I now cannot buy a cheap package of giant chicken breasts without feeling guilty. But the cost of a free range organic chicken is out of my budget for daily meal planning. So the only answer for me is to eat less meat. I am sure I will be better for it.

Eat More Vegetables and Fruit

I love fruit. Sweet, ripe bananas . . .crunchy, juicy apples. Fruit isn’t the problem. It is vegetables that challenge me. Even when I say I am going to eat more vegetables, I somehow don’t. I am tired of the old side salad and green beans. This will take some work.

Eat Whole Gains

Most people know 100% whole wheat bread is better for them than classic white bread (don’t they?) And I buy it for sandwiches. But I have to say, I still love, LOVE, a good artisan baguette. Is that okay? I think so, as long as I eat whole wheat most of the time. But there are so many other whole grains to explore! Quinoa, bulgar, millet . . . gotta get to know you!

Greatly Reduce Processed Foods

You notice that I said “greatly reduce” rather than eliminate.  I simply do not have the time to grind my own flour!  But I can eliminate boxes and bags of highly refined, salty and sugary snack foods. I guess that means the Gardetto’s have to go. Drat!

I have to say that I feel I already eat pretty healthily. I don’t eat fast food or take out. My freezer is not stuffed with frozen pizzas. So these changes are going to challenge me to step it up a notch – really understand my food choices, and make better ones. Each week I will share my hurdles, successes, and helpful information on how families can eat better, on a budget.  I welcome your comments and suggestions!