How I Feed My Family of Five Whole, Nourishing Foods

Reader Contribution by Rosemary Hansen

I love cooking from scratch. Feeding my family whole foods is a gift for their current and future health. 

When I first started cooking from scratch, it was easiest to start with something simple, like breakfast. Most of us are used to eating cereal or toast for breakfast. But packaged cereals have been treated with high heat (making all fats go rancid in the grain). Store-bought granola, granola bars, quick oat mixes, cookies, store-bought bread, breakfast cereals, and other packaged grain foods will have high amounts of phytic acid in them and should be avoided altogether, in my opinion. Cereal companies will sometimes use chemicals to soften and “chew” up the grains for a consistent feel in the mouth. Then synthetic vitamins added back into the cereals are still destroyed by high heat at the end of the process. So, I concluded that eating these foods are not nutritious and nourishing for your body. If you want to read more about it, check out Sally Fallon’s famous cookbook, Nourishing Traditions

As a general rule, I like to find ways to substitute processed items for whole-food items in any given meal. What I mean by that is instead of toast with store-bought bread I will boil and mash potatoes or grate a sweet potato for latkes. If you can’t seem to kick the cereal habit in the morning, a better alternative is fresh sourdough bread with a slice of grass-fed butter on top. Look for “sour culture” or “sour leaven” in the ingredients to be sure you’re getting the real sourdough. However, I recommend trying to make your own sourdough. Store-bought bread doesn’t really hold a candle to homemade sourdough bread! In fact, commercial bread usually has lots of hidden ingredients that are not healthy for a person. 

These are our favorite healthy breakfast ideas from my family to yours:  

Whole Food Breakfast Ideas 

Oatmeal from simple rolled oats. Not packaged, sugar-added quick mixes – those  are expensive and unhealthy! Make a big batch of oatmeal ahead of time, then reheat small servings each morning. For our family of five, I do 2.5 cups of oats + 5 cups of water. Boil it for 10 minutes while stirring frequently. Then store it in the fridge. For re-heating: Heat a small amount of water in a small saucepan, then add a few spoonfuls of cooked oatmeal and mash it into the hot water. After about 3-5 minutes on medium heat, your re-heated oatmeal will taste fresh and hot just like the morning you made it. Add a spoonful of raw honey, raisins or frozen blueberries, cinnamon, chia seeds, and plain yogurt for a tasty breakfast full of fiber. Check out my Rainbow Hot Cereal Recipe.

Scrambled organic free-range eggs. Preferably from a local farmer: cheaper. Try sun-dried tomatoes chopped and mixed in, or mushrooms, bell peppers, chives, feta cheese, cheddar, or any number of other combos. 

Poached eggs on mashed potatoes.

Fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice (packaged juices have lots of added sugar & synthetic vitamins). Or eat the whole fruit itself — you will get all of the fiber along with the sweet juice. 

Homemade muffins are better than store-bought cereal. Try subbing honey for sugar. Make them healthy by using grated apples and raisins. 

Quinoa salad with lentils and feta cheese. Add capers, garbanzo beans, chicken, olives, arugula, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a protein-filled healthy breakfast.  Try out my Quinoa Lentil Salad Recipe!

*Note: Try to avoid muesli or granola, which are often treated with the same processes as packaged cereals. 

Foods to Have Ready in the Fridge 

These ideas work wonders with toddlers and young kids who are growing like weeds. Plus it helps busy adults when we don’t have time to make a big meal. 

  • Fruit that’s already cut up. Having these juicy fiber-rich alternatives in sight help you to make better choices. Make a fruit salad or just cut up apple slices and make a nut-butter dip. 
  • Cut-up veggies with hummus/spicy avocado mayo. Try raw turnips (peeled of course) for a spicy change! 
  • Cheese sliced ahead of time. Add some cherry tomatoes and maybe even some steamed chard with a vinaigrette. When I buy chard or kale at the store, I always steam it right away and it keeps longer in the fridge that way. Then I can quickly make a salad with it and throw in some other nutritious ingredients. 
  • Soaked nuts and seeds roasted with tamari and mixed with raisins, goji berries, and mulberries. 
  • Rice or potatoes pre-cooked. I always have these in my fridge, since I have growing kids who have massive appetites. Having those two staples ready is a good idea since you can add them to almost any dish. Soups, stir-fries, you get the idea!
  • Try aberry-rich smoothie for lunch with no-sweetener and with full-fat probiotic yogurt. Add bananas or dates for sweetness. You can freeze five 500-ml mason jars full of smoothie on Sundays, then take one to work each morning. 
Rosemary Hansen is an author, homesteading Mama, and a chef. She has spent the last 10 years “homesteading” in the city. She and her family have just started their off-grid homestead in rural British Columbia, Canada. Her books, Grow a Salad In Your City Apartment and Rosemary’s Natural Cosmetic Guide are a great way to ease into a healthy, pure lifestyle. You can connect with Rosemary at her website or on her YouTube channel. Read all of Rosemary’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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