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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not and Economical Snacks

This first week following the end of my mat leave has zipped by. Probably because I am so busy and there has been zero down time. I had my volunteer orientation at Mount Sinai hospital and Adam and I did our CPR recert course. I have been furiously working on my course assignment for school and I taught the Brazilian Butt Lift class on my own for the first time (and was in complete agony the next day in my lower half!). Wow! The good news is that Little A seems to have adjusted to Sherma watching her very quickly and already she seems more independent. I guess she's finally realized that mommy and daddy can go away and they will always come back again. I think she's also just having a great time with Sherma. They're a good match.

Unfortunately, Big A has been very challenging this week. The mornings have been especially hard. Yesterday in particular. This brings me to the topic of wasting. If there is one thing I hate, it is wastage. Adam and I are both pretty frugal and we try to be environmentally conscious but it seems like wastage of consumable products when you have children is inevitable. Kids are oddly drawn to tissue and toilet paper and seem to just love overusing both. And the amount of food that goes to waste when you have children is just sickening. Yesterday morning Big A was up very early so Adam poured her a big bowl of cereal before he left for work. I have often tried to pour her a small bowl of cereal and she will whine for more, even if you promise you will pour her another bowl later. Anyways, the bowl was barely touched 15 minutes later, so I urged her to keep eating. She complained that it was soggy and said she wanted something else. I grudgingly threw out the cereal and gave her the hunk of cheese she said she wanted. After 2 bites, she said she was super full and couldn't eat anymore. Yet when we were about to leave for daycare, she complained that she was starving and wanted a banana. Sigh! I should also add that she went to daycare without shoes or socks on because she was fighting me on absolutely everything. It was ugly.

The wastage of food with Little A is also frightening. You can never predict when she is going to go from eating something to squeezing it between her fingers and throwing it on the floor. It makes me crazy. An article on food wastage in the Toronto Star a while ago said that something like 30% of the food we purchase gets thrown out, even if it's still perfectly fine for consumption. It's really disgusting but I have yet to figure out a way to deal with it in terms of feeding children. Adam and I certainly don't waste much so I entirely blame my kids.

Being careful with spending is on my mind a lot lately seeing as my mat leave is over and I resigned (officially) from my corporate job last week. I now have very little income plus hefty tuition and book fees. One of our major expenses, of course, is food for the household, especially because we like to eat healthy food and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Adam grumbled when he came home from the market last week about having to spend $12 on plums for me. I will admit I tend to eat a LOT of fruits and veggies. It is recommended that you consume 10 servings a day and honestly I think some days I get closer to 15 or 20. I can munch through a pound of baby carrots in just a few minutes and I tend to eat several pieces of fruit at once when I'm snacking. And dinner is almost always chock full of veggies (except if we're having "breakfast for dinner" in which case I include a couple servings of fruit). Although I think snacking on fruits and veggies is great, I realized my habit was costing us a lot and probably taking my daily fibre consumption a bit beyond what is reasonable...so I decided that several days a week I am going to swap one of my daily snacks (I almost always have 3 meals and 2 snacks), for something cheaper. I figured a healthy protein is probably a good alternative so I was going to go with hard boiled eggs, but Adam pointed out a new product at the grocery store: Satisfaction yogurt, fortified with extra fibre and protein to keep you satisfied between meals. You get 6 tubs for about $4.69, which is very expensive for yogurt, and I'm not really a huge yogurt fan but its a lot cheaper than some of my fruit binges (I've been known to eat $10 worth of cherries in one sitting - they are one of my all-time favorite foods). So I decided to try it, figuring 2 tubs would make a reasonable snack for me. One tub is 80 calories, 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fibre. So I have to say, it wasn't bad. And I did make it from breakfast to lunch without feeling super hungry, although I had less of an appetite this week anyways because I was so stressed about all of my school work. But I think I may eventually start boiling up a bunch of eggs to snack on over the week seeing as you can get a dozen omega 3s for about $3.49.