Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to incorporate more of the good stuff (Food-Wise)

bountiful baskets

The other day when I posted my new (but old) eating plan, I was asked by a reader in the comments section how it might be possible to do this without the support of kids and/or spouse.  I must say that without the whole family jumping on board it does make it a lot harder to start, let alone stick to this plan.  We live in a society of convenience and what’s more convenient than a prepackaged, ready to go snack full of additives and preservatives?  We lead busy lives and it’s hard to find the time to make a home cooked meal or plan ahead for snacks. 

Well, hard as it might be, it CAN be done! 

I was lucky to have my whole family excited to start eating real, whole foods.  Anthony and I had talked to the kids about the benefits of eating real food and they were completely on board.  We even went so far as to tell them they would feel better.  We didn’t know that yet but we believed it.  Turns out it was true. 

As I mentioned in the last food post, Anthony suffered headaches at first while his body detoxed but he fought through it because we knew that was one of the symptoms for some people.  After that, he felt better than ever.  And the truth is, after a couple of weeks of eating clean, neither of us had the cravings for sugar that we used to.  In fact, there were a couple of times we decided to treat ourselves to something ‘dirty’ and both of us could actually feel the effects the sugar had on us.  Once it was a Snickers bar and not only did it not taste as good as we remembered, it also made us both feel sick.  Another time we tried a root beer float and almost immediately we both felt shaky and queasy.  Never before had those kinds of treats had that kind of affect on us.  Weird!  And at the same time, it felt good to know that we no longer craved those things!

Our oldest daughter, K, had suffered from headaches ever since we can remember.  She even had a CT scan (or was it an MRI?  I don’t know the difference…) done a few years ago to see if there was something wrong.  Everything came back normal which was great but we couldn’t figure out what was causing her head to ache as often as it did.  We started eating real foods and guess what!  Her headaches were all but gone!  I don’t know if she has an allergy to sugar or something that is in processed foods or what.  All I know is that she can tell when she’s had too much of the yucky stuff.  Her headaches come back and she practically begs for fruits and vegetables.  The other day she even came home after a sleepover with Grandma (my mom) crying because she had only eaten fast food while they were together.  She wanted something good for her.  (Mom, don’t feel bad!  She’s just extremely sensitive… you know that.)

So, if you’ve got reluctant whole food eaters but would like to start eating whole foods yourself, here are some tips that might help. 

  • Try incorporating whole grains a little at a time.  If your family normally eats white rice, try buying some brown and mixing in a little at a time so they can get used to the difference slowly.  You’ll have to cook them separately because they cook at different rates but it could be worth a try.  Same with breads.  If you make your own, you can slowly incorporate more whole wheat until your family is used to it.  My little K claims my homemade wheat bread is the best bread she’s ever had. 
  • Always have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand.  A great resource for that is Bountiful Baskets.  Check to see if they have a pick-up near you.  Pictured above is one of my hauls from BB.  TONS of produce for only a minimal price.  Definitely worth it.
  • Going along with having fresh produce available, also make it accessible.  One thing that I have found helpful is on my shopping day, I come home and cut all my veggies at once so they’re ready to eat.  If I bought carrots and celery, I cut them into sticks and put them either in zip top bags or air tight containers in the fridge.  Same with broccoli and cauliflower (and everything else).  Cut them and I promise your family is MUCH more likely to eat them.  And you too!  No one wants to have to cut their veggies every stinkin’ time they want one.  Too much work, get it all done at once.  Besides, this makes it easier for cooking, too.  They’re recipe ready!
  • Try your hardest not to buy the ready made snacks and treats.  Especially soda pop!  We like to say if you want a treat that’s fine (once in a while) but it HAS TO BE homemade.  That way you know exactly what’s in it.  Over time, you might get a little more comfortable with replacing certain ingredients with healthier options. 
  • Be an example!  Your family members might be inspired to try eating better just by watching what you do. 
  • Don’t give up!  There might be days, especially in the beginning, that you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon.  Get back on!  Don’t get down on yourself.  We all have bad days. 

I hope this helps someone out there.  Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you might have.  I love comments (who doesn’t? ;)) and I’d love to hear from you. 


Cari said...

Great tips! Preparing fruits and veggies is a must, so much easier to eat when it's accessible. I agree, it would be difficult if your spouse weren't on board. There was a guest post on 100 days of real food where her husband gave some tips on getting men on board.We also have a rule that if you don't like something you have to tell mom in private, no announcing it at the dinner table (prevents chain reaction dislike). If I get excited about it my kids are excited about it.

Brooke said...

I love the 100 Days blog! I didn't read that article yet though. I'll have to go look it up. Your rule about disliking the food is great. I think we'll have to use that one. And yes, if the kids understand why we eat better and how it's going to work and if mom and dad are excited they will be, too. We have found that to be true.