Okay, I know we are still getting acquainted here, but one thing you should know is that I'm one of those rare and lucky people who actually enjoys spending time with her in-laws. They are wonderful people and I truly feel that I am fortunate to have married into their family. That being said, however, thinking about my in-laws and our real food transition has been stressing me out a bit.
See, the problem with liking them is that we spend a lot of time with them. Which was never a problem until we switched to real foods. My mother-in-law is actually quite a healthy eater herself, but my father-in-law, bless his heart, is not. The man avoids most fruits and all veggies, and doesn't consider a meal to be complete unless it contains some sort of animal product. As a result, while we always have salad and fruit on the table at my in-laws, there is also a lot of meat, along with convenient sides like Stouffer's mac & cheese or Bob Evans mashed potatoes. Plus, my children have gotten into the habit of enjoying ice cream with sprinkles at the end of most of their meals there. In the past, I've always let it go, figuring that it's nice for the grandparents to be able to spoil their grandkids a bit. With our new food attitude, however, I knew something had to change.
We usually eat at my in-laws twice a week, which seems too often to just ignore our guidelines. And yet, while I am trying to be consistent for the sake of my family, I am very aware of not wanting to "put anyone out". Over the past few years, I've gradually come to the mindset that this is the best way to eat for our family. I know, however, that many people do not understand or agree with our choice, and I'm not trying to change that. So I've been faced with how to sensitively approach the topic so as to change our eating habits without making my in-laws feel offended or uncomfortable. At just two weeks into this transition, we had started by basically letting it go, with the plan that my husband would talk to his parents in the next day or two to try to work out a system. Our goal, with their permission, was to stock some staple items, such as whole wheat pasta, all-beef hot dogs, and grass-fed ground beef in their pantry and freezer, so that we could easily substitute items when needed.
Imagine my surprise and pleasure, then, when we arrived today for lunch after church to find the following menu: baked chicken, brown rice, salad, and mixed strawberries & watermelon. The chicken was free-range, the salad greens organic. My mother-in-law had purchased organic milk for the kids to drink, along with organic yogurt and organic frozen fruit to make smoothies as a special treat. I was honestly blown away. As I am the one who does the majority of the shopping in our household, I know firsthand how much more expensive it is to buy organic produce & dairy, and humanely-raised meat. I am so touched that my mother-in-law went out of her way to purchase all these items just to make us feel more comfortable at her home. It's just one more example of how kind and generous my in-laws are. It has also allowed me to feel more confident that we may actually be able to sustain this change.