I make a very conscious effort to feed my family as naturally as possible. I do not, however, buy organic (simply because I can't justify the cost). I prefer to call our eating style authentic. I shop locally, utilizing a great butcher shop, dairy, and farmstand that are all located within ten minutes of my home. I love the fact that I know where our food is coming from and I really appreciate being able to support local farmers.
I do have to supplement from traditional grocery stores with things like: cereal, "snacks", juices, pantry staples, etc. When I do this, I buy very selectively. I avoid trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and generally anything that appears to be concocted in a labaratory. I have found that even if labels suggest that there are no "trans fats" or are "all natural", this can be very deceiving (legally they can claim 0 trans fats if there are less than .5g per serving). I just read today that even if 2% of daily calories include trans fats, the result is a 23% increase in heart disease! I read each list of ingredients before buying a product. Before you think I am the picture of health, I do this so that we only have healthy choices at home....last week we "inherited" some chips and starburst...and guess who ate most of them?? I have no self-control unless the junk is not around!
When preparing meals, I try to serve at least two vegetables and/or fruits. We usually don't have a problem reaching the recommended amount of fruits, but sometimes struggle with all the veggies we should be eating. To make this a little easier, I will prepare two vegetables with dinner, not necessarily something that everyone likes, but I try to get my kids to try different foods prepared different ways (sometimes they are surprised that they like something they thought they hated!). Another "trick" I use to up our veggie intake is to prepare soups or include different veggies in a pasta sauce.
When cooking or baking, I use butter and sugar (I think margarine and sorbitol are of the devil), olive oil, and canola oil. I have not fully switched over to lard from shortening, but I'll get there, as soon as I find a great product!
I also do not buy any "boxed" foods (cake or brownie mixes, store-baked items, etc). I try to bake every other day so that we have a better alternative to candy. I can regulate what I put into my baked goods, subsituting ingredients when possible (sometimes this does not turn out, like the hideous cake I made last night). The pre-packaged goods are filled with extra ingredients, preservatives, etc.....in many cases, it is almost as easy to mix a few more ingredients and have a homemade version. I also keep ice cream on hand, from our favorite dairy (which uses no growth hormones). I realize that I am blessed to have extra time at home and I had a little taste of how working parents feel last week, but even if you can incorporate some new healthy ideas into your food consumption, it will be beneficial.
Feeding my family healthy food is very important to me, but not so much that it is an obsession. I think health can become an idol very easily. I know people that are so focused on eating healthy, that they lose sight of enjoying life. I simply am intentional about making everything from scratch (that I can) and ensuring that my family has a well-rounded and balanced diet. Truthfully, I realize that if I spent as much time feeding our soul(s) as I do our stomachs, we would be spiritual giants (I'm working on that, too....it is a constant struggle).