Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Year Long Adventure: Month 10: Reducing Consumption of Processed Foods

For the past 9 months, I have been trying to find ways that I can reduce my family's impact on the earth. For February, I am going to be focused on reducing the amount of processed foods that we eat. Not only are these foods not so great for our bodies, they are also taxing on the earth... processing food takes lots of water and energy, causes the food to be transported, and also necessitates increased packaging. All things that are harming the environment.
The problem is, my family (and most of our society) is addicted to these types of foods. Although we try and choose more natural snacks, we eat a lot of corn chips in this house. We also keep stashes of crackers for Phoebe to gnaw on and granola bars on hand to grab as we run out the door. With busy lives, these foods are convenient snacks, and something that I have become a bit too reliant on. I don't plan to eliminate processed foods from our home (I am not crazy), but I would love to reduce what we consume. 
This month, I am surely not going to swear off processed foods, but I am going to make an effort at buying less of them. This mean replacing some of those quick and easy snacks that we are accustomed to with homemade snacks. Eating more fresh fruits and veggies instead of crackers and granola bars.This means more work and planning on my part, but I think it is do-able. Hopefully I will find some new and exciting recipes that I can share here.
If anyone has some great recipes for some easy homemade snacks, please pass them along. My family will thank you! Pin It Now!


  1. I posted a delicious granola bar recipe last week! They are super-easy to make and much healthier than store-bought. My two kiddies love them and I feel good knowing all the ingredients that go into them :)

  2. While we do eat a lot of corn chips and crackers (especially now as I ease back into work), we also eat popcorn (the homemade on the stove kind)and homemade trail mix, which is really anything you want - peanuts, pretzels, dried cranberries, chocolate chips (are those processed??). In the past, I've made muffins and scones (scones are super easy).

  3. This one is hard. I've cut us down a lot, but we do end up having crackers and cereal around much of the time. My kids love this recipe: (We cut into squares, as I don't have a cute wee cutter and would probably burn out on cutting them anyway).
    Here is one I pinned, too, and hope to try today with my big kids:
    Since I did not buy crackers this week, here's hoping that happens. :)

  4. This is such a challenge! I started realizing that quite literally everything is "processed"...haha.

    But, one of my favorite recipes that I used when I was cutting out processed foods for my kids, was this whole wheat graham cracker recipe:

    I would make a double batch, cause we all loved them. I like them with peanut butter on them!

    We really like eating trail mix as a snack (I mix up my own.) I've found that just a few chocolate chips mixed in makes it a lot more satisfying and tricks me into thinking I'm getting a special treat. ; )

    I also like to make these "healthy" peanut butter cups when I really need a sugar/chocolate kick.

    I make mine in a mini muffin pan so that they are bite sized and "realistic". (If you line it with oil, they pop right out with a knife). I try to keep them on hand, because it's much better than most desserts that I would end up eating... I also speed up the time in making them by just sticking them in the freezer for 3-5 minutes in between each layer so that you don't have to wait as long. Makes them super simple!

    Anyways! This comment is way too long. I look forward to hearing more about your challenge!

  5. We make a relatively low sugar date oatmeal cookie that is really more like a granola bar in cookie shape. I'll try to post the recipe soon. We bake a big batch and freeze them, so we can grab one when we need a quick snack.

    We're starting solids with our little guy (who already has a mouthful of teeth at 7 months), and we made a dense whole wheat bread, which we then sliced and toasted further in the oven. I cut the slices into "bread sticks," which we also freeze, and he likes to gnaw on those. For us, having a deep freeze for extra freezer space really helps with avoiding prepared foods.