Saturday, December 26, 2009

You Won't Find It In A Box

Recently (okay sometime in the last 6 months) my place of work participated in a family activity where we needed to bring an activity. We landed on the idea of using homemade blocks to build larger than life towers / buildings / etc. So, obviously with this plan - you need a LOT of boxes. We sent out the call to our whole building and soon we found ourselves surrounded by piles of boxes. As we began the work of sorting through and prepping them to become building materials, I noticed that most of these boxes were from food products. Being someone on the mission of improving my diet - I took a moment to reflect on the food choices of others - and guess what I found? 99% of those boxes were total CRAP food! Crackers, Meal in a Box, Chips (okay, there's really only a few chips that comes in boxes), cookies, snacks, processed cheese-like items and the list went on.

So do you see the theme? No veggies, no fruit. You would never hear a dietitian / doctor EVER say "Try to increase your consumption of this___________ (insert product in a box)." So the lesson learned here? First, most of these empty boxes would have filled our landfills (therefore infuriating my inner green-ness). Second, if you had to have ONE SIMPLE rule to improve your eating habits I would go with - "Don't buy your food in boxes". Want to test my theory? Go to your cabinet right now. Open the door. Count how many natural / nutritious / chemical free foods you find living there - that came home in a box. I'll wait...

Frightening, isn't it? Now, I know, raisins can come in boxes. Oatmeal can come in a box. There are a FEW cereals that come in boxes and don't have enough "extras" to be classified as junk food. So I will admit there are a FEW exceptions. But even if you ONLY bought 3 boxes (that were like the above "good examples) on each of your shopping trips -how much better off would you be?

And am I the only one that thinks maybe all these boxed wonders are the very things that derail our healthy eating plans? It's all those goodies that I would rather pack up for snacking. All of the easy to grab items that have a long shelf life that I store in my office. Those food-ish products that I easily consume multiple servings of before I've been satisfied - they all come in boxes too. So, I'll add this to my process of self-improvement.

Now, in case you see me in the grocery aisle - I know that going box-free will not be a cold turkey process. But I'm going to make a real effort to examine WHAT I'm buying in boxes and what kind of nutrition it's offering me. Without being surrounded by my favorite boxed temptations - maybe I'll get better at reaching for healthy choices instead. Nature doesn't come in a box...but here's a thought - does it come in a bag? Maybe we'll leave that for another day...

3 comments:

Karen said...

It's true, Regina.

That's one of the best things I've learned along the way. When we cut out all the preservatives and sodium, it really helps our efforts. I like to use the freshest stuff possible because I like to know what's going into my meal.

Janet said...

Very true Regina. Why is it though that the stuff in the box tastes so good? I think I was raised on box stuff, with a working single mother, that was easy and convenient.

I read a similar rule that if your great grandmother would not have recognized it as "food" then you shouldn't eat it. I doubt my great grandmother would have eaten Teddy Grahams or Tuna Helper.

Tricia said...

Great post!