My first attempt to include a tiny bit…I remember when I first became a stepmom of a 2-year-old, 4-year-old and 8-year-old. They spat out half of the foods I cooked with an emphatic “YUCK”! I began hiding vegetables in foods and alas, earned equal results. I commenced to asking friends with kids for advice (many of whom are also dietitians) and I remember one of my dearest confidant’s exact words, “I think you’re just going to have to start using more processed foods”. I was astounded! I’d avoided processed foods since I started studying as a nutrition major!! Furthermore, shopping means making a list and buying what I need as rapidly as possible and getting the helloutta dodge! While shopping, I don’t browse and I don’t make decisions. Meal planning and list making are all complete before the dreaded shopping trip occurs! As I marinated on this preposterous concept of feeding my children, I concluded that this new lifestyle of cooking would provide two options: Option #1: searching ingredient lists and nutrition facts labels (imagine pushing a cart with kids on every side, asking for each and every item in view, blocking my cart from movement on all sides or blazing down the isles at top speed). Leisurely perusing every label of jarred tomato sauce? Notta gonna happen. Option #2: abandon the last 21 years of education, research, and concern of artificial flavors, colors, fat, cancer-causing preservatives, additives and pesticides and buy whatever the kids want. What to do, what to do…. I’ve combined option 1 and 2. Keeping my sanity takes precedence. After all, there’s not much left. Yet, finding convenience foods I can live with is a work in progress. Mikey often shops alone and loves (although he may not admit) to survey each and every isle for good deals and new items. He may leave having purchased nothing, an incubus of discouragement for me. If I were to go alone, I suppose I would peruse an isle or two. I would never leave without purchasing something. A few days ago, I sent the hubster to the grocery with a list of items I suspected didn’t exist, including healthy instant rice. He came home with this!! The ingredient list? Parboiled whole grain rice. THAT’S IT! One. Single. Ingredient. No preservatives, no additives, no flavor enhancers, and no artificial anything!! Boil water, 10 minutes, done and done! It’s perfect for my last-minute go-to-dinner of crock pot chicken and rice! I love sticky sushi rice, Basmati, Jasmine and long grain wild rice, but cook time can take up to 40 minutes! When you have four kids, you’re busy and instant rice saves your minutes and your marbles! Yiiiipeeeee! Another time-saving meal-component I can feel good about! I’m learning. Thank you, Uncle Ben.