When it comes to “diets”, I’ve done it all, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Sugar Detox, Atkins, etc. I’ve had success with all of them but life has always won in the end. I’ve got a problem with sugar so this time around I’m focusing not on excluding it completely as that won’t be practical in the long term, but on really minimizing it and maximizing the nutritional value of what I eat so that when I do choose to indulge, it’s with intention and minimal impact. I now use the word diet now to refer to what I eat, not how I’m restricting what I eat. It’s a mind shift and I believe very much in living my life. I know I won’t stick to something long term where I feel deprived. We are social beings and when we get together, it usually involves food.
As a mom, I have a responsibility in raising my kids. We watched a documentary entitled the kids menu on Netflix the other night. I talked with my older girls throughout the film about sugar and how I’m focused on making good choices for our bodies. It was a great experience and on our next trip to the store, when the girls were helping to pick out snacks for the week, on their own, they both looked at the labels and noted the sugar amount and put things down without any direction from me. SCORE!!
Wife + mom to 4 kids (ages 8,7,4, and 11 months) + full time HR Director for Fox 4 + 45 minute commute each way to work= one BUSY lady. The secret to my sanity is planning. I’ve been meal planning our dinners for several years but with the BodyWise Challenge I’m focused on all of my daily food, not just the meal I share with my family each evening.
My current meal planning routine is to lay out our weekly dinner menu on Saturday and “shop” on Sunday. With 4 little ones, spending time in the grocery store isn’t high on my list of fun weekend activities so we use a curbside pickup service. With meal planning, I only buy what I need and it saves from throwing out food and the stress of having to come home at the end of a long day and figure out what to throw together for dinner.
We use a bento style box for my kids to pack their school lunches. I make sure to stock healthy things that they choose from when making their lunches so I just have a regular list and add those standard items to our grocery order.
I use a lot of online recipes for our dinners and save the links which get shared with my husband so if he gets home before me, he can start dinner. We use a simple magnetized white board on our fridge which gets updated weekly so the kids can see what’s coming too, a blessing and a curse J.
I typically plan a couple of crockpot meals throughout the week as there is just nothing better than 1) Opening the door to the house and getting hit with the smell of dinner and 2) Easy clean-up 3)Extra family time! The other really helpful trick is to double the recipe so I can freeze portions for the future.
I’m trying to move my diet more towards Clean Eating (avoiding processed or refined food, essentially using as little packaged food) while again keeping that real life balance in mind. Here are some of my current favorite recipes:
Egg white scramble served with ½ sliced avocado and a slice of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread toasted
* Kale/baby spinach blend sautéed in 1 tsp coconut oil
o I fill snack size baggies from a big bag and keep them in the freezer so I can just dump into the pan
* 1 piece Canadian bacon or sausage diced
* 1 tbsp finely shredded cheddar cheese
* 1/3 cup egg whites (equivalent two two egg whites)
I try to plan my dinners so that I have left overs for the next day’s lunch, but for times that I don’t I usually have a combination of a few of the following; Greek yogurt topped with high protein granola, ½ sweet potato with grass fed butter, raw veggies dipped in a Greek yogurt dressing, a ½ whole wheat pita with tuna, sliced avocado and fresh tomato, or a salad with a mix of leafy greens, crumbled goat cheese, hard-boiled egg, precooked sliced chicken breast, avocado, strawberries and a healthy dressing.
Here are some highlights from the last few weeks of recipes: * Caprese Chicken & Roasted Broccoli – http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/caprese-chicken-roasted-broccoli - This was delicious! The chicken was so moist and I enjoyed it just as much for lunch the next day! * Debbie’s Crock Pot Chili – http://www.food.com/recipe/debbies-crock-pot-chili-45069 - I subbed 1 can of the kidney beans for black beans to add some variety and used grass fed beef for the ground beef as my family loves the flavor difference. I think the secret to this one is pureeing half of the beans. It’s delicious and freezes well. My son loves this one too so I freeze little portions for his lunch at daycare.
* Clean Eating Slow Cooker Mexican Style Chili Mac – http:///www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-slow-cooker-mexican-style-chili-mac/ We have 4 extra guests staying with us for a few weeks. This one was a huge hit with the teenagers in particular! I was able to feed 4 adults, 2 teenagers and 4 kids with this recipe and have two servings left over for lunches later in the week! We served with avocado and corn chips on the side. * Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Strawberry Mango Salsa - http://cleanfoodcrush.com/grilled-shrimp/ - What a burst of amazing flavors together! We served this with brown rice and it was delicious! No leftovers L Next time I’ll double this one…it was that good!