Welcome! Come on in! Make yourself at home and stay awhile. But beware of the odd flying toy, fighting child, dirty sock, or even a mad Mama. If you are looking to read about about a perfect family, this is NOT it. But if you want a real snapshot of day to day life in the deRegt household, you might just find that here. My desire through this blog is to keep in "real" touch with family and friends, beyond the picture-perfect Christmas form letter (hey, what can I say? I believe in wearing your heart on your sleeve). We consider ourselves blessed that there are so many wonderful people in our lives that we can't even keep in touch with everyone. Please leave a comment now and then, we'd love to hear from you, too. Except if you are perfect, then we want you to go away!!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Confessions of a Sugar Mama

I have a confession to make. My kids sometimes eat white sugar on butter on white toast. Before you die of diabetic shock, let me tell you more. I can't remember the last time Reuben ate an actual vegetable. If he will eat half a container of yogurt (sweetened of course) and a Bear Paw cookie, I consider that a healthy lunch and might even give myself a pat on the back. I send juice boxes to school in my kids' lunches, not water in re-usable containers. Aiden has a gumball machine...in his room. Shall I go on?

Before you send me hate mail or even worse, lecture mail, or even worse--lecture Facebook posts, let me assure you, I KNOW!! I have read all the nutrition books, I had gestational diabetes with two of pregnancies and have been thoroughly educated on the subject, I can list the Top 10 healthy, immune-boosting, fat-busting, age-fighting, disease-suppressing superfoods out there. I can create a healthy meal plan to rival that of the granoliest of granola people. It's not for lack of knowledge, or lack of belief.

I'm not here to explain it (heck, if I could psychoanalyze myself to the point of understanding this, we wouldn't be in this blog together right now, would we?). But in the realization that the quantities of sugar consumed by our family might just be worth buying shares in sugarcane, I am considering a new year's resolution....can we really give up all (most) sugar for a month? Could you?

Before I beat myself up too badly about our habits, I feel the need to share some of the neat little tricks I've been learning and doing to "healthify" our eating. It was shortly after we had my daughter's friend over for dinner and she looked at the white minute rice on the table and said "what's that?" that I realized maybe we need to catch up to this healthy bandwagon and jump on.

So, after many failed attempts, I have learned what works and what doesn't. One of Reuben's first words was "disgussing", learned from his dear siblings who would expressively and unreservedly tell me what they think of my new approach to cooking.

What works vs. what doesn't (in my family):

1. Basmati Rice (still better for you than long grain white or Minute brand) vs. Brown Rice (a.k.a.,cardboard shavings)

2. Smoothies!! At least three mornings a week I make smoothies with Greek 0% yogurt, frozen fruit, flax, and spinach. As long as there are blueberries in the mix, they can't see the green fleks. YAY!! This works so much better than putting fat-free yogurt in front of them, topped with whole blueberries.

3. Flax. A super food. I put it in everything because it's so easy to do that! I grind it in my coffee grinder, and put it in smoothies (see point 2), cookies, oatmeal, granola, hamburgers, soup, bread and pizza dough. It adds fiber and protein. I've even begun to wonder if one can consume too much flax? Much better alternative to trying to make the kids eat bran flakes.

3. Breadmaker!! This has been a fabulous investment. Not only are we eating way yummier bread that costs less than storebought, we can also be sure there are no preservatives in it, AND I can sneak flax and hemp into it. And, little do they know I am slowly replacing the white flour with whole wheat flour and unbleached flour. Again, this is more successful than buying "bread with nuts in it" that my family spits out.

4. Pasta sauces. This is something I've been doing for years--finely diced veggies of all sorts thrown into the pot to blend into the tomatoey red oblivion. Zucchini, peppers, grated carrots, celery, spinach, etc, etc. What I've just recently learned is that I can do this for white sauces too!! Last time we had chicken fettucine alfredo, I cooked half a head of cauliflower until it was mush. Then I mushed it some more in my Magic Bullet, stirred it into the noodles with the alfredo sauce and voila! More veggies!! And again, more successful than the stir fry that congealed on their plates.

5. Beans, beans, beans. Good for the heart. Tacos? Nachos? Quesadillas? Burritos? Anything Mexican-ish that requires fried ground beef gets a healthy dose of smashed beans mixed into it. The kids think it's just extra saucy. This goes over much better than serving them, say, just beans. My mother used to try that. It still turns my stomach.

6. Whole grain noodles. Lately I've noticed the grocery stores are offering the healthy noodles at the same price as the white ones. Marcel says it has something to do with abolishing racism. I am just happy that I don't have to choose between healthy and affordable in at least one food category! And it is more welcomed than the zucchini noodles I attempted to serve last summer and the spaghetti squash that got laughed at.

7. The after school snack has had a makeover. I have chased away visions of the good mother taking freshly baked cookies out of the oven as her children arrive home from school. Air popped popcorn is a great one, apple slices with melted peanut butter to dip them in, fruit skewers with yogurt dip, cheese and crackers...yes, yes, yes. No to the carrot sticks and red pepper slices.

8. Sneaking veggies into baking. Ok, so aside from point 7, I do still bake for my family, believing it makes me a good mother. But I've been trying to make things that have a healthy component--carrot muffins, zucchini bread, banana bread, pumpkin muffins, blueberry bran muffins. These are great school snacks instead of the sugarized granola bars that used to (ok they still do sometimes) get thrown in there! They didn't like the cranberry health cookies I made.

9. More activity, less couch! Our family gift this year, which we opened on Dec. 5 to celebrate Sinterklaas, was a Kinect video game system. It doesn't use controllers. Your body is the controller. So as we are river rafting, playing beach volleyball, raquetball and many other things, I am feeling less and less guilty about the "screen time". This has completely replaced our tv time. So while my kids' are still tuned in to a screen, they are also raising their heart rate and sweating. And so am I. Because, honestly, it's such a rush to kick Marcel's butt at boxing. KO!! And this is so much more fun than dragging them outside for a walk in the rain.

10. And lastly, I just ordered a brand new product from Epicure that is coming out January 2012, called the Chipster. I attended a demo and it's the most amazing little thing. You take a potato, peel on, use the slicer tool thingy to slice it into very thin slices. Place them on this silicone tray thingy. Put the tray in the microwave for 4 minutes. Out comes perfectly crispy potato chips. Season with a little Herbed Garlic sea salt and hello! Move over, Lays! No oil, no additives. Nothing but pure potato. This will now be replacing our potato chip addiction!

Looking forward to starting January 3rd with our kick-the-sugar month. I'll blog about it if I don't pass out from hypoglycemia!


  1. Great post! I agree, some things work for our family, others don't. I am becoming more relaxed when Daddy takes kids for a slurpie treat, realizing that's what it is, a treat. Smoothies are a great one at our house too. I also recommend Jessica Seinfeld's cookbooks for veg sneaking - as much for my picky husband as my kids :)

  2. I've always wanted to get Jessica Seinfeld's books. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. My mom is thrilled that I don't have white bread or hagels at home because when we come over she doesn't have to buy anything special and the kids feel spoiled. Lol.
    Incidently, Oliver and I have just finished a month without sugar - including grains - (November) and the kids were limited. I feel fabulous... but got a little lightheaded when I didn't eat enough fat. :)

  4. Our Henry is over 6 feet tall and incredibly strong - all his life he has been scared to death of vegetables - a very picky eater - all vegetables except potatoes - he would not eat fruit either - except applesauce. They usually somehow survive.