Sunday, March 13, 2011
Fit on Food Storage
For the past three months I have been experimenting.
I wanted to see if it was possible to "eat clean" on food storage. Food storage has a bad reputation for being unhealthy. As part of my church we are encouraged to have a long term supply of food stored in our homes for emergencies and times of economic distress. When I started eating more healthy I swore off all whites (refined flour, white rice and sugar) and I turned my nose up at all my canned goods that I had in my pantry. These items before this had been a major part of my diet. When our family began to transition I pushed them aside and they started to collect dust. In the last few months, however, I have felt strongly that I need to try to find balance in using items that can be stored long term and my definition of healthy eating. I have not only discovered how healthy long term storage can be but how satisfying it is to create healthy, inexpensive meals.
Here are some things I have discovered while trying to eat healthy on food storage:
Fresh- Fresh is best, frozen is next. Lets make sure that is clear. Luckily I am not in a situation yet where I have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables so they remain a staple in our diet. Although we use food storage daily to rotate it, we do not maintain an all-food-storage diet. We try to have either a fresh fruit or vegetable at every meal and I often have them ready to serve before I make dinner mostly because my kids start to swarm like sharks looking for a meal when I start to cook. I search the weekly ads for the best deals on fresh produce and buy accordingly
Legumes- I am discovering the wonderful world of legumes. I was unfamiliar with legumes, they scared me, they just seemed complicated with all the soaking and varied cooking times. But I have them in my storage. I have recently discovered that you can cook beans in the crock pot! It is so easy. And just 2 cups of dry beans can feed an army. They have to be one of the least expensive meals on the planet. They can be cooked with onions, herbs and other flavors to make a savory meal or set a side for taco salad or chili later on. Most legumes are not considered a complete protein (with the exception of soybeans). To be a complete protein they need the entire set of amino acids. Legumes need to be eaten in the same day with a seed type food or they can be sprouted to complete the amino acid chain. They can be pureed to make yummy dips for veggies. For you clean eaters hummus and black beans are already very valued clean eating foods.
Rice- We already know that brown rice is a champion food. Although high in calories (compared to other foods) it is very high in fiber. White rice is much higher in calories and has less nutritional value but stores much longer than brown rice making it more optimal for long term storage. Brown rice can store for 6 months at a time while white rice can be stored for up to 30 years if stored correctly. We have a small supply of brown rice but a large supply of white rice from before our clean eating days. For now my husband and I try to eat the brown rice or cauli-rice while our kids eat the white. I am still working with this one.
Wheat- Although they are not considered "clean" because of the sugar and oil my kids love our wheat blender pancakes they like them much more than white flour pancakes! Also I have been making bread everyday for the last 2 months, something I never imagined possible. I have timed my self it takes me 4 minutes from start to clean up. I cheat of course with a bread maker. I will have to post the recipe but it uses wheat that we have stored. I ground it in a neighbors wheat grinder. We have to watch the calories with the bread but it is a healthy whole wheat bread and I know exactly what goes in it. It doesn't last much longer than a day but with my little family it doesn't have to they eat it up.
Canned Goods- Foods can be preserved by adding salt and sugars. This is one reason why canned goods get a bad reputation is because the long term storage methods used to make them tend to decrease the nutritional value of food...but really canned green beans are still much better for us then french fries or other convenient foods that may take their place if not used. I had a neighbor that had a canned veggie and a fresh fruit or the other way around with every meal. I use the same method at times.