The Loh Life

Healthy Food Mom, Part Three: Basket Case

Sandra Tsing Loh's issues with healthy food.

If healthy food really were easy, there wouldn't be a zillion Google hits on "How to Make Healthy Food Made Easy!" And the so-called, "helpful hints" wouldn't be like this - To wit: "Meet Kalettes, the Love Child of Brussels Sprouts and Kale!"  To learn where to even find this seasonal and high-maintenance love child, you have to join its Facebook and Twitter.  Really?

It's unfortunate, because we can use some new vegetables.  For instance, can we admit, right now, that no one ever eats the broccoli and cauliflower that come in Costco vegetable trays?  The ones nestled like hard rubber dog toys with grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, and that little black bucket of runny ranch dressing?  At the end of a party, have you ever seen such a vegetable tray that wasn't still basically full?  Have you ever heard anyone say, "Man - people really scarfed down that raw broccoli and cauliflower!  I wanted to get some, but - woo!  Five minutes and those cruciferous vegetables were GONE!"

I was puzzling over this because, given a series of Molasses Chip and Kettle Chip and other junk food violations, in a household with 12- and 13-year-old girls who needed to learn about nutrition, I was trying to devise really healthy summer lunches.  Which Mom was bringing to their day camp in, yes, a new wicker picnic basket!  I'm not kidding!  I was getting Medieval on ourselves.  I was postponing my own work to spend hours a day on our healthy food project, which seems to involve running to the grocery store one, two, sometime three times a day.

After taking a giant misstep into Trader Joe's kale-quinoa-cranberry-walnut-salads that have, in one serving, like 45 grams of fat!  What?  I settled on the clever and popular "hummus quartet" and a variety of exotic, confusing vegetables - "It's not cucumber, it's English cucumber!  That means it's English!"  I paired those with a small army of cunning little foods - sun-dried tomato spread, whole wheat mini-pitas, a can of lentil-and-white bean soup that could perhaps be re-costumed as a kind of cold... summer... dip?  Perchance?

The art was all about re-naming, re-costuming and re-packaging veggies and spreads into ever smaller and more adorable MATCHING Tupperwares - Which is how I find myself finally in Healthy Food's dark heart - the Container Store.  Summer really has crawled to a halt when your afternoon destination is the Container Store.  But, so exciting!  What with the 4- and 2-ounce non-BPA glass containers in geometric shapes with fresh "seal lock" technology, stacked ever so ingeniously - I have a sudden urge to begin hand-grinding my own baby food!

My obsession was becoming unhealthy!  So, that night we had burgers.  But now that I'm Facebook friends with brussel sprouts and kale -


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