Food Quandry

Food is stressing me out this week. This has nothing to do with the extra “padding” around my middle that seems to be settling in for the winter, but with the ridiculous amount of packaging that comes with most of the food we consume in the Kersh household. Today I did an inventory of our mixed paper recycling and found the following contents:

2 seltzer boxes (thank you Cat and Derek for starting our 2 pk a week seltzer habit!)
2 frozen waffle boxes
3 empty cereal boxes
1 granola bar box
1 organic chocolate animal cracker box
1 Kraft Easy-Mac box
1 box from mandarin orange cups (nevermind the cups)
1 box from peaches in gel (again, nevermind the cups!)
1 box wheat thins
1 box from turkey deli meat
1 cardboard oatmeal container

I think I’m kind of a mom in the middle about feeding my kids (perhaps you would disagree with this statement after reading above referenced recycling inventory!). We don’t eat lots of sugary cereal and sweet snacks, but my kids could pick out Lucky Charms in a lineup and they’ve been known to down an Oreo or two as a treat. Because we’re on the go a fair amount, I’ve fallen into the trap of purchasing lots of individually packaged snacks because, let’s face it, they’re much easier to toss in the car and a bit less likely to spill in the abyss that exists in the bottom of car seats.

Just yesterday I did my big back to school grocery shopping extravaganza. Starting on Monday I’ll be packing two snacks and a lunch every day. I vowed that I would do better and purchase less pre-packaged stuff, but it’s so hard to avoid. I still bought at least 6 big boxes of crackers/animal crackers/graham cracker-like products (you’ll find no one on the Atkins diet in this house!), each in it’s own sturdy cardboard box with large plastic bag inside. If only Cheese-Its were available in a biodegradable bag, I could clear my conscience!! I know that I could make a trip to Whole Foods and purchase snacks in the bulk food aisle, but I somehow don’t see my 2 year old downing unsweetened banana chips at the preschool snack table.

The topic of food packaging and waste came up over the weekend at the beach, where I took my daughter and several friends/rising kindergartners for a mommy-daughter weekend. My friend Erin’s sister, who lives in West Texas, is committed to creating no waste with the food she purchases. She’s reusing bags and containers and purchasing all of her food from local farmers and producers. I truly admire her efforts and it’s a goal I would love to achieve. But there are so many consequences–changing our diets (Cheese-Its may not be the healthiest snack, but they sure are tasty!), driving to a number of places to purchase food, spending more money, being less lazy. I’m really trying to weigh my options of being a more responsible parent and member of society, with my desire to avoid being completely inconvenienced. Perhaps I should be a little less hard on Al Gore and have higher expectations of my self!

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