In a grocery-buying age, it’s much more difficult to know everything about our food like we did in the days when we actively grew and harvested what we ate. However, we can take the time to better understand what our food contains, looking for simple, wholesome ingredients.
In the post-recession era, consumers are on a quest for going back to basics with food, with the use of simple, wholesome ingredients, with minimal processing. It's been happening in our household for many years since my kids were born. This movement is gathering storm as I recently read a food industry research report that products marketed as "like grandma made" and using "from the cupboard" ingredients are taking off, alongside rising consumer interest in "home made" and "homestyle," and "natural" and "preservative-free" foods.
On a bag of Lay's Classic Potato Chips I was about to eat, I read "made with these three simple ingredients and that's it." In fact, my family's two favorite morning cereals are Uncle Sam and Trader Joe's Shredded Bite Size Wheats because they contain simple, and few ingredients. In fact, Shredded Wheats contains two: whole wheat and Vitamin E (to preserve freshness). Since when my children could read, I taught them to learn about what's in the food they are about to to eat. I told them to read the ingredients, and see if they can easily pronounce and comprehend the words contained in the label, even for a ten and a six year old, i.e. whole wheat, flaxseed, barley malt. Look for foods that have fewer ingredients, and simple whole words = whole foods. My general rule of thumb: if there are too many polysyllabic words, most likely it's not that good for you.
Of course if we lived in another time, we would spend most of our waking hours growing, storing, and preparing the food we would eat. In the 21st century, most all of us go to the grocery store and just buy our food. Focus on buying foods with simple and wholesome ingredients. Better yet, find out what foods you want to eat that are right for you. Then, teach your children. Teach each other.