Without fail, my daughter will turn her nose up every single night when I place her plate in front of her. My oldest will eat around all his vegetables and my middle will eat all his vegetables and protein and exercise extreme self-control with anything that looks like it may be a “treat”. I have five completely different personalities and opinions at our family table. Cooking healthy meals while meeting my own nutrition goals can be quite challenging! Some nights, I’m not going to lie, I have made five different meals. Ridiculous!! The struggle is real. So, I am also in this battle too, but I have figure out a few things that work and I want to share them with you.
- · PLAN AHEAD
This sounds redundant, but it is true. I have found that if I take even one hour during my weekend to plan the lunch supplies and dinner menu then I have train tracks for my week. This is also key to staying on budget…which is another post. Maybe you let the kids choose their favorite things one meal a week and figure out how to make it the healthiest version you can. There are so many tools out there to help you do this like Pinterest, food bloggers, Instagram etc. You really don t have to dig around long before you come across something you want to try out in your own kitchen. I haven’t always been good at planning ahead, but I find that if I have an outline for my meals for the week it saves from making unhealthy choices in a pinch. It also helps to have one day a week where you roast up several veggies, meat, energy bites, and snack packs to make your choices easy to grab and go.
- · TRACK BACKWARDS
Tracking backwards just means you fill out your dinner at the start of each day and then plan the other three to four meals around it. I don’t always track my macros, like in My Fitnesss Pal, but I go through cycles where I do. It isn’t something that I am going to obsess over but it gives me a good idea every so often as to how I am doing with balancing out my proteins, carbs and fats. For me it also gives me the awareness that I am eating enough. As silly as this sounds I sometimes go without eating enough calories in a day to sustain the activity level that I have. I know that many people have the opposite problem as well that you consume far too many calories. Without getting hung up on calories, I give myself a check in for a couple of weeks at a time every few months to keep me balanced and intentional with my meals. If I am going through a “lean out” phase, like I am doing this month, I track faithfully. I also recommend that all of my new clients to do the same to give them an idea and awareness about their own nutrition. It’s a good tool to help you reach your goals if it isn’t an obsession.
- · KEEP IT SIMPLE
I am very good at the one pot meals! When you have children, you likely have an over abundance of evening programs that keep you running here and there. My boys play hockey and my daughter is in dance and gymnastics. So almost every night we must drive someone to their sport. We basically live in our car. I am a big fan of quick, flavorful, one pot meals that do not take up a lot of time. This way even if you don’t eat the exact same thing as your children do…you aren’t wasting your life cooking…just doing dishes.
- · MAKE YOUR HEALTHY MEALS FOR YOUR KIDS TOO…just don’t tell them!
This is also something I do often. I make my macro friendly meals for the whole family. If I make sautéed veggies and lean protein I will make a pot of rice to go along with it for my kids. I also make sauce on the side, or for mine as well depending on my goals, that everyone will love. It’s not only perfectly ok to bring the family along your journey but it’s setting them up also for a healthier pallet and good eating habits. Kids learn through example so if they see Mom and Dad making healthy choices often they will eventually follow suit.
I think it is important to find what works for you and your family. What someone else does might not work for you but you don’t know unless you try. Trial and error only means that you are growing and becoming aware of the ways to further enjoy your life and the food you consume. What you put into your body really is 80% of the puzzle piece but it doesn’t have to consume our thoughts and time. Stay tunes for recipes that I love that are healthy and family friendly😊