Following Michael Pollan’s Advice (“Eat Food, Mostly Plants”) On A Limited Time/Money Budget
I’ve come up with a list of tips for parents who want to attempt to follow Pollan’s rules for eating:
- Get a rice cooker and make a habit of cooking up a big pot of rice every other day.
- Buy as much fruit on sale as you can afford, and try to start each day eating some.
- Frozen veggies last long and are often cheaper than fresh. Plus, some kids will just eat frozen corn and peas as snacks.
- Canned veggies aren’t as good as frozen, but better than no veggies. Except maybe canned asparagus. That shit is nasty.
- Butter and sprinkle Parmesan cheese can go a long way toward getting most kids to eat more vegetables and to making vegetables more satisfying.
- Don’t buy snack foods. Ever. Saves money and the kids won’t drive you nuts begging to eat crackers all the time.
- Crock pots are awesome – just throw all the stuff in a pot in the morning and turn it on. (Some kids have a hard time with big chunks of different foods mixed together. One fix for that is using a hand mixer and making pureed soups such as potato.) I love this Crock Pot cook book.
- Bread makers are also awesome, and I’m always seeing cheap ones for sale in thrift stores.
- Buy less milk and cereal. Oatmeal is way cheaper than cereal and milk, and often healthier, too. The dairy industry has hyped the nutritional value of daily milk consumption.
- Put all the veggies in the pasta. If the kids complain about chunks of veggies, puree it into sauces. Cauliflower works great in cheese or cream based sauces, and pretty much any veggies will puree well into a tomato sauce.
- Meat is expensive, full of fat, and lots of kids just want to eat that and then not veggies, so try to use it sparingly in rice or pasta dishes that stretch it further.
- Use beans more as a protein. They are cheap, are already cooked in the can, and can be prepared a gazillion different ways to suit different tastes. If worried about the salt in canned, you can cook dried beans or just rinse the canned ones.
- Make a lot of potatoes. They are cheap and taste good. The easiest thing I’ve found to do with them is chopping them into wedges, spraying them with veggie oil, sprinkle with salt, and 25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees.
- In general if you have the time to cut up all the veggies or the money to buy them already cut up, roasting veggies is the bomb. Most veggies will roast well at 400 degrees for 40 min-1 hour. Ones I’ve gotten my kids to eat regularly: butternut squash, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, red peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes.
- Make refried bean quesadillas on corn tortillas. It’s as quick and easy to prepare as a toasted cheese sanwich or box of mac-n-cheese, but healthier. Corn tortillas and refried beans are cheap, and a small amount of melted cheese gets most kids to gobble it up.