Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Food will not be ruling this house

Thank-you very much.

We’ve been on a downhill slip ‘n slide this summer into the deep dark hole of sweets, treats and fast food. And folks, it ain’t good. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that our rotating lunch schedule pretty much consists of frozen pizza, mac & cheese and grilled cheese and it’s nearly always followed by my 4 year old requesting dessert of some kind. And if that’s not bad enough, stick us in a car anytime within about 1/2 an hour of a meal and we’re probably not passing by the multitude of fast food joints to go home for a salad. I mean, really, when you pull into the drive through at Taco Bell and you hear your not quite 2 year old in the back going “yummmmmmmm,” it’s kind of funny. But when she does it at pretty much every single fast food restaurant? Yeah…then you’ve got a serious problem on your hands (not that I’m talking about my 2 year old or anything).

And it’s not just the kids and finding something that they actually WILL eat, it’s us grownups too. I’m so busy taking care of everybody else’s needs that by the time I get around to eating I’m STARVING and will pretty much just grab whatever’s there (which is usually full of sugar or comes out of a bag and/or box) and that generally does not end well. And my poor husband! Let’s just say he’s simply defenseless against all the goodies I keep on hand to try and bribe my children to eat.

So before this family is too far gone, I decided to take control. I’m the the grocery shopper/meal preparer around this house, though I will gladly acquiesce both of these titles to someone else (anyone else…takers?). So if there are going to be healthy eating habits around these parts, it’s going to start with me. Period.

Ironically, for the little extra encouragement I needed to get started, I had planned on purchasing some new cookware, (hey, you do what you gotta do right? Who wants to make healthy tasty dishes in ratty old pots and pans anyway?) something perhaps along the lines of Le Creuset. And wouldn’t you know it, it was right about then that Jamie from CSN Stores contacted me to see if I’d do a review for them. I could pick anything I wanted to review. There’s over 200 stores on this virtual mall carrying all sorts of different products, everything from toys to ceiling fans, including…COOKWARE!! I’m chomping at the bit. (So yeah, you can be looking forward to a review in the near future and what’s that? **SNIFF SNIFF** I think I smell another giveaway. Stay tuned…)

But drastic times call for drastic measures and can not wait for new cookware. So, I got started. I planned out our meals, I cleaned out the fridge and pantry, pitching every single garbage food item I could find (and the fossilized pickles) and re-stocked with healthier goods. I moved the snacks up to a higher shelf so little hands can’t get at them unaided, but kept the fruit & veggies easily accessible. And I went puree crazy with the hopes that I’d be able to slip a few fruits and veggies into the dishes I prepare for my kiddos (and husband) unnoticed a la Jessica Seinfeld and her Deceptively Delicious cookbook.

It’s been about two weeks now and except for a late night tango with a can of mild cheddar cheese dip my husband bought for me after a particularly rough day (it was a weak moment) and an end of summer field day/party at my mom’s full of eats that aren’t quite on our menu anymore, I’m happy to say we’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve discovered my 4 year old LOVES celery and my anti-veggie 2 year old will happily devour them if they are disguised as something else, like say cheese sticks for example (it had cauliflower in it if you must know, but don’t tell).

Now the trick I believe will be sticking with it and the key to that might just be in the meal planning. If I just take 15-20 minutes to plan out our meals for the week and write up my grocery list accordingly, I’m good. The danger sets in when I grocery shop on a whim with no plan. I might as well go in hungry to because I’m probably stocking my cart with things that may look tasty, but I probably don’t actually need and would be woefully disappointed if I ate (at least after I ate it anyway).

So I’m totally open to suggestions you guys. Old habits die hard and this isn’t the first time I’ve hit the reset button. So how do you stay on track and keep your family’s diet in check? And what sort of things do you keep on hand so that when the “I’m huuuuuuuuuuungryyyyyyyy” whine creeps in the middle of your making dinner, you’re prepared? And feel free to send a few words of encouragement my way too, because honestly, this may be far harder than the marathon for me. Seriously.

'Til next time...

P.S. Are you in the Gu Giveaway yet? Really, it’s so easy to enter it’s ridiculous. Look I’ll even give you the link right here so you don’t have to find it. That is how extraordinarily terrific I am. In fact, I would just go ahead and enter you myself, but that really wouldn’t be fair to the people who have already entered. Maybe next time ;-)


Jessica said...

Been there, done that. Several times. We're in the process of "restarting" our eating habits, too.
I used to be addicted to frozen dinners because my husband travels for work and I wasn't about to make a full meal just for myself.

I've recently made a list of all of my favorite frozen dinners and I started making my own healthier versions of them and freezing them in individual servings.

As for snacks ~ when I get that "I'm so hungry I don't care what it is, I'm going to eat the first thing I see" feeling I try to grab a handful of trailmix. Or my latest obsession is Babybel cheeses. That will usually take the edge off so I can think straight again and make myself a proper meal.

Good Luck!!

TLS said...

Been there also. For me time is usally the killer, so I try and get as much of the meals prepared in the morning so its faster for me to put together and it makes it to the table sooner! You may want to befriend your slow cooker, you would be amazed what you can cook with it! Good luck!

Caratunk Girl said...

Yup, I have been there too! It is harder when the people you live with don't care about eating well. Good luck!

Teamarcia said...

The treats are out of control here. I keep threatening them with 1 per day...I need to hold to that.

Christa said...

I so hear you!! For me it all comes down to planning. I try to 'plan' out at least 2 weeks worth of meals. Not necessarily what we are going to to each day but then at least I know that I have the food in the house.
I love being 'deceptively delicious'.I bury pureed zucchini in all my meat products and then pureed squash in pasta ( including home made macaroni & cheese). I still try to give my kids the 'fast food pleasures' but on a healthy version. Last night I made homemade chicken nuggets & homemade french fries.
Also, a thing that I have found to help (especially during the busy school year), is when I cook to make 2 of the same meal and freeze one. So that on the busy days I can just pull out a meal.
I have also found that if it isnt in the house then we cant eat it. We eat alot of fruits and veggies as snacks, also alot of cheese & crackers. I make alot of breads (zuchinni, pumpkin, etc..) we eat those too. The nice thing about the homemade stuff is that I can alter the ingredients and make them quite healthy, I have a few cookie recipes that are so healthy you feel guilty calling them cookies.
You have taken the first step- you will do great!! We tell our kids (9,7,4,3) that you can get everything that is out there- but only in moderation. So we indulge every weekend or so and make homemade milkshakes or have some other sort of dessert.
If you want any details or recipes let me know and I can send them your way. Keep up the good work!!

Laura said...

I'm so hungry I could die!

- apple and nut butter
- bananas (my sweet addiction.. seriously)
- pbj (YES! great great snack!)
- hummus and veggies and/or wrap/bread/crackers

Once a week I cook up stuff that I can then have for lunches/snacks.. EMERGENCIES.. during the day.

I cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker. The kids and I use it for lunches through the week.

I cook sweet potatoes. We all love them and makes an easy grab healthy carb to throw in a wrap/salad or just scarf standing in front of the open fridge.

I just started making home made hummus too. It's so easy. soak the beans the night before simmer on the stove in the a.m. Let cool then toss in the food processor w/ your ingred of choice (garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper.. water or oil to reach desired consistency)

I ALWAYS have fruit and nuts in my bag when I leave the house in case we hit that GOTTA EAT NOW when I'm out. Apples travel fairly well in a bag.. or dried fruit and raw nuts. (though this combo is hard on some bellies)

So there's a start to what works for me... and I'm a die hard oatmeal and an egg for bfst girl. (post work out of course) :D

You are doing a great thing for your family. We've kind of fallen apart this summer too. And you are so right about this being the woman's charge!

Laura said...

PS. Would love the 'cookies that are so healthy I feel guilty calling them cookies" recipe from Christa.

Zaneta said...

Wow!! That is AWESOME that you are making changes... I'm sorry to say that I dont really have any advice :( I usually just eat whatever, whenever... my life is crazy busy and I live at home so it's always hit or miss with dinners... and, I have a strange obsession with ice cream (I even started working at an ice cream store 6 years ago and still work there) lol... I've tried to cut back on my ice cream intake though... I have tried to eat more fruits and veggies though! Keep it up!! :D

Runners Fuel said...

Good job!!

Kiesha said...

About every 3 months I decide I need a diet overhaul. You'd think I'd be able to extend the healthy streak but so far it hasn't happened. Now that school is back in session maybe I can get our routine back on schedule. Thanks for the reminder!

Melanie said...

Like Kiesha, I have to revamp our diet constantly. I found it easier to force my kids to eat healthy when they were littler. Now they have friends with bags of chips and Little Debbies, and they wonder why we can't live that way. We do keep some junk food around, but I often use it as a ploy. You can eat this, after you eat that. Or, even better: You can eat this after you do your chores. I even bribe myself!I think the best thing I've done is talk constantly about what's good and bad for you and why. It sticks in their head. Even when they eat something bad for them, they are aware of it and try to make up for it with a good food. Nice to see them making their own choices.

runsis said...

I'm very interested in Christa's cookie recipes too. I've been rewarding myself with Kashi oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, not really sure they're a "healthy" cookie but the oatmeal counts as healthy, right?

Berryfine said...

Ummm since we're all women here (and you boys should know this anyway), I'm GREAT 3 weeks a month and then the dreaded week prior to a certain aunt visiting all bets are off. I'll go three days ignoring my craving and then I just can't do it anymore! I can't imagine trying to track my health goals for the fam! Whew!

Also, I see mtself on the side bar- WHOOOOO!!!! thanks :)

Cassi said...

I hear ya. For me it's all about things that are easy to prepare and keep on hand, but healthy and filling. A few favorite go to's: Hard boiled eggs, gala apples (refrigerated makes them more like a treat), sweet potatoes (you can bake them for the week and usually kids love them too), and my favorite salad lately is baby field greens topped with almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cranberries, low skim mozzarella cheese, and apples - topped with balsamic vinegar. You can add pre-cooked grilled chicken strips for protein. Easy and delicious - and super healthy. Hope that helps!

Christa said...

I sent you some recipes I hope that you got them.