Week 12: NO Sweeteners

Ok, so this last week was a tough week, especially at breakfast time. We were not to have any of the refined sweeteners we couldn’t have a couple of weeks ago as well as any honey or maple syrup. To be honest, this was a difficult week for me as a shopper, a cook and an eater. I’ve learned in the past how important it is to read labels, but this was the week that really put home that I don’t always think as hard about what is in the food others prepare.

I took my girls shopping at the grocery store Monday to be sure we had food for this challenge. Since most bread products with yeast will likely have sugar, or at least honey, I knew that was out. But tortillas don’t need to rise, so I looked through the selection of 4 or 5 brands offered only to find every single one of them had sugar. Then I looked at several other options only to discover sugar everywhere. I finally settled on a package of organic brown rice cakes — the only ingredient was organic brown rice. Fortunately, the kids loved them. They said they taste like popcorn and I agree. We finally left the store with little more than those rice cakes and fresh produce. Oh, and a couple containers of plain yogurt.

As I said, coming up with breakfast was a bit of a challenge. My youngest’s favorite Multigrain Cheerios were a no-no this week, along with pancakes with syrup, yogurt with honey, muffins made with honey or syrup… We ended up having eggs with veggies and fruit on the side on a couple of days, a simple smoothie of bananas, plain yogurt and milk with a side of fruit and homemade biscuits on a few days. Lunch was a little easier, we had leftover salad of corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro on one day. Sardines, Sunbutter, fresh fruit & veggies and rice cakes were included in our mid day meals. One day, while shopping for clothes for the girls, we stopped in at the food court (I know, I know!) for lunch. Pizza? No, sauce and crust probably have sugar. Sandwiches? No, sugar in the bread. Japanese stir fry? OK! As we sat there eating, I was reminded that the teriyaki sauce probably had sugar. Darn! Well, we did try, but that is when it really hit me that I don’t always think to such great detail about what is in food someone else prepared. I need to think more beyond the main ingredients and think about sauces, dressings and dips. I can’t just think “whole grain bread”, I need to know what is in it besides whole grains. Dinners were the usual, except that I usually make my own salad dressings with a little honey to balance the flavor. We had one especially good meal of whole grain pasta topped with a cherry tomato sauce made from tomatoes we picked that afternoon at Carriage House. Sweet as candy! On the side, we had yellow and purple beans we also picked that day.

These last two weeks of challenges (has it been that long already?) will really help reinforce the habit of thinking about the foods prepared by others, of reading labels and asking questions with something other than my daughter’s peanut allergy in mind. This week our challenge is to eat no artificial ingredients. The final week will be to eat no packaged goods with more than 5 ingredients. Once these weeks are over, I will go back to some of these challenges, try to improve, come up with more related recipes and find some more fun food facts.

There is a tour of our beloved Carriage House Farm coming in October! If you would like, you can sign up to be a part of this fun OEFFA event.

As I said, this week was definitely a challenge, especially for me with my sweet tooth. How would you have to change your meals if you couldn’t eat any sweeteners?

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