Saturday, January 11, 2014

Healthy Eating part 1

So one of the struggles we've had over the past few years is eating well.  Not that we don't know how to eat healthy- we just have our days so full of stuff (good stuff) that when a meal comes along we are suddenly faced with a 'Holy Cow! I'm hungry- what should we do about that?' Our minds are usually so wrapped up in whatever we are doing we have to break out of that mentally and start to focus on food.  Which usually ends up being a 5 minute discussion about what we want to eat and then segways into a conversation about whatever project we are working on ('I'm having the hardest time getting this texture to look right in my painting' or 'I've been looking at my code for an hour and I cannot figure out why it isn't working').  Then after about 30 minutes we realize once again that we are still hungry.  At that point we just grab whatever we have around the house and eat it so we can get back to our projects.  Honestly introducing kids into the mix hasn't really solved the problem.  It just means that I prepare them something to eat while talking to my husband about food/projects- and we just hang out in the same room as the kids while they eat and then grab whatever and go to our offices.  (*note here: my office historically has been in the same room as the kids play room OR at the very least right next to wherever they play- so we don't just feed the kids then abandon them... I noticed when re-reading that paragraph it didn't sound quite right)

Anyway- the result of this habit of being stressed and not making time to make healthy foods has been detrimental to our health in more ways then I can count.  This year we have made a resolve to start eating better as a family- and to each (the parents) loose a significant amount of weight.  We puzzled together and apart as to why it is so hard to eat well.  I mean outside of the fact that we both are full time students and have full time jobs of one sort or another.  We came up with what I think is a clever list.

#1- if it isn't instant we aren't going to eat it.
The sad fact here is this- we don't have time to prepare a meal for 20-40 minutes; and most meals require that amount of time.
#2- too many choices!
Frankly when you go to prepare a meal- or go grocery shopping you are faced with an INSANE amount of choices of food- this isn't bad; but it makes super busy and already overwhelmed people have a difficult time narrowing down what to make/eat.  The result of this has been a lot of food going bad in our fridge before we could get to it.
#3-planning healthy meals for a family is hard
I need to clarify this one a bit.  There are lots of yummy meals that I know how to make- and most of them have a lot of elements of healthy food.  It's not that I have a difficult time making healthy food persay- but when you don't have a good structure for what you are making when it is easy to go to a simpler meal that is really not good for you (even if it pretends to be good for you.)
Also- have you ever looked into 'dieting' at all?  There are lots and lots of amazing meal plans you can get on the internet- well balanced, practical foods and stuff that you could continue eating after you have lost the weight you want to.  They are also created around a single person loosing weight.  So while I'd love to snatch one of those up and just use that it isn't practical.  Scaling those things up for the family takes a LOT of time- time that I might as well have spent collecting our own recipes and making a family meal plan that we would actually like.  I know there are meal plans that are created by all of the awesome mommy bloggers in the world- complete with shopping lists and whatever; they are pretty awesome.  Unfortunately do not take into account the fact that there are many people out there with dietary restrictions.  I sadly have many dietary restrictions.

Now the solutions.

#1 - this is the one I hope I solved today. We went a bought a whole bunch of veggies and fruits today and instead of just tossing them in the fridge with the idea that we would later prepare them to eat; we actually chopped them up today and put them in little cute containers.
look the inside of my fridge- I know you wanted to see it :D
I'm probably a little to excited about this; and probably many of you already do this- but I feel like a genius.  Everything is ready to go; if I want some cucumber slices on a sandwich I just grab the thing full of cucumber slices and toss them on.  No work.  At least not then.  You know what I mean.  
So this (I hope) solves the issue of 'its not instant'
#2- We've decided to limit our protein consumption to eggs, chicken, ground turkey, fish and beans.  I know that is still a big list- but it gives us structure when we go shopping; it also forces us to think within more specific types of recipe.  It really does simplify life.  Fruits and veggies we can have as many of whatever happen to be in season during that time of year. ('cause it is cheaper to buy in season) and dairy... well I'm not able to eat most dairy so outside of milk for the kids, cheese and yogurt we really don't have much around anyway.
#3- I actually solved that at the beginning of last semester- I took a week out of my summer and planned out a months worth of meals and grocery lists that I could rotate.  Next week for phase 2 of healthy eating I'm going to revise that to match up with our new dietary restrictions and use that for the next few months.  (I have a day each week built in  to try 1 new recipe (on a day I don't have class)- that way the meal plan doesn't get to boring)

I'm excited- and I'm hoping that phase 1 works this next week.  Hopefully we'll be eating better by default because most of the instant type food we have around is pre-cut fruits and veggies. :D



  1. Ooo! Great idea! I need to do stuff like this too. Let me know if the fruit/veggie stuff is working because we have the exact same issue with it's not instant! x.x But for us we end up just going out.. which is so bad! So yeah, keep me posted!

  2. Will do- I actually have a part 2 that I'm going to post tomorrow (Saturday)