Cast your mind back to food shopping before you were a parent. Perhaps you wandered in on your way home from work. Nicely attired without sticky hand prints adorning your outfit. Brain alert after a day of adult interaction. Perhaps you browsed the steaks, looking for the perfect combination of deep red colour and marbling. Perhaps you pondered wine, then laughingly threw in a second bottle. Chances are you could swing the basket easily in one arm and had enough change at the checkout for the odd trip to Paris (OK, maybe I’m getting a little carried away now).
Then came the kid(s) and shopping became a different ballgame. A very different ballgame. Trades are made. Without thinking you hastily throw things in that you think are important.. By the end of the final aisle you are exhausted. You can barely maneuver your beast of a trolley into the checkout. You have forgotten where Paris is, you just hope there is enough change for a proper coffee because you sure need one after that ordeal.
Perhaps it’s time to reclaim the trolley. It’s simpler than you might think. Just take out all the food that you buy just for the kids, and that you wouldn’t choose to eat on a regular basis yourself. Add up your savings and treat yourself to one of those luxury items that somehow dropped off the bottom of the list under an avalanche of packaged snacks that have all the nutritional and flavour appeal of cardboard. Use the rest of your savings to buy more real food. Do this every shop and the before you know it your cupboard looks a little more uplifting and your day is littered with small treats that warm your soul; pine nuts, parmesan, pinot noir (or whatever your equivalent youthful loves are) ….and it doesn’t t stop there..
You can skip straight past the snack aisle without stopping. There’s a whole heap of heartache saved right there. No more ‘can we have this, can we have that’, you’re whizzing past too fast for them, it’s all a blur.
Once the kids get used to a pantry full of real food they’ll get used to helping themselves from the fruit-bowl when they’re hungry and helping you bake something if they want something else. There will be less packaging. You won’t be blinded by a sausage so bright it gives you a headache when you open the fridge after a long sleepless night with a teething baby. The Wiggles will stay in your TV and not stare freakily at you from the pantry. Life will just be simpler. Perhaps you’ll remember where Paris is, maybe you’ll take the kids there one day and you can all linger in a bistro eating real food (OK, getting carried away again now).
Amy Black, Munch contributor