Tips for Mamas on Healthy Changes in the Kitchen
Hey hey mamas! So, I am on day 26 of my Whole30 challenge and I feel amazing. Wow have I seen serious changes! I truly feel like all I had to do was change my mindset and then it all fell into place.
I have struggled with my weight/appearance for the last 10+ years. I know much of that was my own mental game, where I needed to extend myself more grace, acceptance, and self-love. However, society does not promote that. I tried everything, every diet, every idea, even some scary ones like those terrible heart-racing pills that were popular when I was in high school (Extreme eye roll!) Eventually it became pretty darn clear that the best (THE BEST) plan for your body is eating healthy and being active.
Plain and simple.
Why do we constantly try to overcomplicate things?? Right? I grasped that as I aged and became a mom, but then when you become a mom your world just alters and you can hardly tell up from down. I used to plan out the most delicious, seasonal, foodie-type meals for Evan and I pre-kids and now I am seriously on the struggle bus most of the time trying to plan out meals.
In the last month, I have learned a few things. We are still in ditch and switch mode, because there are SO MANY things we are surrounded by. I get excited when I find a healthier alternative.
Recommendations for healthy snack switches:
The apple/almond butter Z Bar or all fruit bars (Trader Joes) instead of NutriGrain or grain bars—we are trying to keep an overload of carbs (and sugar) out of our daughters. Studies actually show how too many unhealthy carbs can lead to harmful side effects.
Fruit vs other stuff- I buy berries and they are gone in two minutes. I try to put bowls of fruit in front of them vs other stuff full of preservatives. I try to buy seasonally too, changing up the fruits and even buying exotic ones, so they can try different flavors.
Nut milk vs. cow milk (or if you buy cow milk find low-pasteurization) – there has been tons of research coming back about how bad cow’s milk is (and the high pasteurization process is). I have switched my girls to almond milk for cereal, granola, making oatmeal, baking with, my little will even drink a glass of it no problem!
I always talk to my girls about healthy eating, why we are eating this way, why we want to choose these choices, so they don’t feel like I am just keeping them from eating a certain food. I tell Halen that candy isn’t good for our bodies, that our bodies love a rainbow of fruits and vegetables best. So now, she hands me candy that others give to her, because she understands it is not good for her.
Gluten-Free—I know this one is a trendy switch many have made. I have made this switch (in most things) in our kitchen because I truly feel our grains are not made like they used to be, healthy parts are taken out, our farmlands are being taken over by scary things, so we choose small-batch gluten-free oats, pancake mix, pasta, etc. My girls have no qualms with this switch.
Colorings—we steer clear of added colors…like in many yellow cheeses. Yellow 5, Red 40…these are seriously dangerous and can create behavior issues in kids linked to hyperactivity in kids, behavioral issues, UTIs, tumors, cancer, etc.
Smoothies- these have been such a fun way to get greens, fruits and body boosting nutrients into our systems. I make them and the girls drink them up. Easy way to building a healthy snack.
Yogurt—wow does yogurt have a lot of sugar! I mean 12 grams! What the fork? So I found a dairy free kind that has 2 grams of sugar from a brand called Ruby’s Rockets.. they have blueberry, strawberry, and tropical options. Made with coconut milk vs. regular milk, they come in squeeze tubes and Halen loves them.
Water water water- I do not give my kids any other drinks really, except water. Aside from the occasional glass of almond milk, or Mootopia chocolate milk, or orange juice my girls drink water. Plus, our shot of Ningxia Red in the mornings.
No junk—It drives me crazy when I see parents trying to eat healthy and handing their kid junk. Our kids are the future, and their systems are in a building stage, we are doing them such a disservice to not cater to their growth needs. I refuse to buy junk. Last night our girls got to split a homemade cupcake from a friend who has a food blog. That is about as junky as I will go. Supporting a friend, I know it is homemade with love. Our usual “dessert” is dark chocolate covered frozen bananas from Trader Joes. I am so so so so serious about sugar intake now that I know it fuels cancer cells that I just cannot justify handing my kid things that have a lot of sugar. We buy coconut sugar now and use maple syrup or honey to naturally sweeten things we may bake.
This one has become such a challenge for me. I try, I really try to sit down, look up recipes and then build a grocery list, shop for those items and stick to a menu. It does not work for me. We go with the flow a lot, I am not a regimented person and it is going out of comfort zone to be on a strict schedule. So even though I go through the time to find recipes, get the necessary groceries, I end up making something else with the said items. Which is completely defeating the purpose of menu planning.
SO … what does work for me? Having enough options to choose from that I can whip anything up with. I make sure our house has the essentials: plenty of grass-fed, organic meats, fresh and frozen vegetables, fresh fruit, bone broth, chicken stock, shallots, we now have a variety of fresh herbs growing in our backyard, sea salt, cracked pepper, garlic, olive oil, ghee, etc to use. Last night’s meal:
Seasoned Chicken Thighs & Roasted Roots
I put salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and chipotle pepper spice on them and rubbed it in. I let them sit for 30 minutes to marinate and get to room temp so they could cook evenly. I put them in my Dutch oven with plenty of olive oil on low to cook.
I chopped up sweet potato, carrots and Yukon gold potatoes and rubbed them with the same seasoning and put them in our toaster oven (if it is hot out I try to avoid putting our oven on lol) 400 degrees for an hour, I would move them around with my wooden spoon so all sides were getting a nice roast.
I warmed up some edamame (I am still researching this one…) for the rest of the fam aside from me, I chopped up some apples and voila—dinner. It can be as simple as that. You could add in fresh herbs, sub other veggies you have on hand etc.
I think as long as you have plenty of great options to choose from, you have a great foundation for a healthy meal.
Breakfast in our house:
Sugar free bacon
Gluten free pancakes with honey
I swear Halen has the most diverse lunches when she goes to pre-school. Yesterday, she had green pasta, veggie straws, Ruby’s Rocket strawberry yogurt, and red grapes.
Eggs are a major go to for me, hardboiled, scrambled, fried… I know I can always eat an egg.
Cashew milk is pretty great as a creamer for coffee!
As busy as families are today, we owe it to ourselves (especially our children) to ditch and switch from sugar laden, pounded with preservatives, junk. Companies are sneaky today and that is why we cannot decipher what is actually in their product… dextrose, sucralose, those are both a secret word for sugar. If we start to do research, and become more proactive about the foods we feed our families we will notice awesome results from boosts in energy, happier demeanor, better sleep, stronger growth, more focus in school, and maybe even weight loss in parents. Monday I weigh in after a month on whole30 and I am pumped, not only that I am going to get my body composition test done to show all the ins and outs of my personal body and how my weight is distributed, etc. Stay tuned and choose wellness!
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