Eating Our Vitamens

So I’m a couple of chapters into START by Jon Acuff, and right off I identified with his point about one of the barriers to starting is that we want to have the whole thing planned out, and how that just about never happens. That making a small start, “sample yogurt sized” as he puts it, is where it’s more likely to root successfully.

One thing I’ve decided is that out of my ideas that I’m flirting with is that I can’t possible start everything all at the same time. So I need to prioritize. Clearly I’ve put firing up the old blog at the top.. mainly because right now I’m seeing it as a tool for working through the other things. For thinking my thoughts. After that I might tackle one new start every week or so for the next few months. I’m starting small with my starts.

Up Next comes the food thing.

This is one effects the kids so I want put this high on the list. We don’t eat well. We used to before the drama but now, not so much. By well, I’m referring to nutritionally, rather than volume or quality. Two factors contribute to this, first we are on the go all the time with the girls sports schedules. And second I hate to cook, or more correctly I hate to clean up afterwards, the cooking I’m okay with actually. So as a result, given those factors we have snacked and munched our way through summer and very little of it holds that much value.

Summer is ending so it’s a good time to change.

The truth is I’d love to be a whole-food, vegan dish preparing mom whose kid’s lunches are little bento boxes of wholesome organic goodness. That is the BHAG, That is where I get stuck on this food thing. I have felt like it has to be an all or nothing, zero sum change. We have to go all in or not at all. But that isn’t going to happen. At least not overnight. So I sat down to figure out where we can START.

Here are my goals with #EatingBetter:

  1. I want to eat well enough so that we are getting our needed vitamins and minerals in our food and drinks. If it doesn’t help fulfill this goal, we probably don’t need to eat it. I’m looking at you Cheetos, we love you but really what is your point?
  2. When given the choice, I’m going to pick versions of the things we like that are more natural or organic or  free range or hormone free or whatevergogurt
  3. There are still somethings we’re allowed that aren’t going to fit into those first two rules but that fit into our lives: like Pop-Tarts. That is okay.
  4. We will limit meat but aren’t going to give up meat or dairy – I feel that the girls need the protein and the calcium sources in their diets. But again, better choices and better sources. We might work our way toward vegetarian but probably not vegan.
  5. It’s okay to treat ourselves occasionally – yeap I’m looking at your snack sized McFlurry

So there are the 5 rules I’m going to START taking with me to the grocery store and through the drive through and into the take out menu.

I’ll let you know how it’s going next week.

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Food Rules: Or the lack there of

infinite_food_tshirts-rff85332d577c4af7a7189ac6f4bf40ae_8nfss_512 The food rules in our house are quite different than what I suspect you find in most homes. That’s okay we all do it a little differently.

1. Just because I cooked it, does not mean you have to eat it. (and vice versa)

I grew up in a house where the opposite of this was a hard and fast rule. As a result I spent a great many meals forcing down food I didn’t like. The end result of this was not that I grew to have a varied and sophisticated pallet but instead, what I was left with was a long lasting dislike of food.  I view a meal as something to be gotten through or dealt with and it holds no enjoyment for me at all.

I am the opposite of an emotional eater.

In fact, food in general just pisses me off and stresses me out. It carries expectations and emotional land mines. I’m aggravated that I have to source it, pay for it, and hand it out. I get angry when dealing with it pulls me away from something I’d rather be doing. Food is a necessary evil.

Eat what you want.

2. We do not all have to sit down at the table together to eat it.

Mostly I eat standing up in order to quickly get it over with. I don’t expect others to do that. So by all means eat when and where you want but please do not expect me to stop what I’m doing three times a day and feed you or eat with you. Eat when you’re hungry, get it yourself. I have a great big table, it seats 8 but don’t look for me.

Caveat – I make the kids eat at the table still though, mainly for cleaning up purposes. They are messy eaters and I require them to clean up their mess when they are done. This is easiest for everyone if it’s all contained around the kitchen table and chairs. They are not however required to maintain a three meals a day routine. Surprisingly due to social norms and school routines and probably a little healthy rebellion, they prefer to, therefore I do my best to make sure they have the time and opportunity to do it.

3. We don’t eat junk.

You might expect that given the two above rules, my kids live off waffles and french fries. They do not. It’s pretty simple really – if you don’t buy waffles and french fries, no one eats them.

We buy healthy food and therefore they eat healthy food.

Is there an occasional pizza? Sure. But it’s not a regular thing. Mostly they eat vegetables, pasta, cheeses, fruit, and chicken or pork. I’m not a big beef eater with the exception of having a requirement of ground beef in my spaghetti sauce. As a result they gravitate towards the same.

Since we live in Florida – it was inevitable they discovered seafood. I’m not a fan personally but they are, especially the young one. She loves her some shrimp. I make sure she has a regular selection of seafood as well.

My children have a very healthy diet and zero weight issues. While genetics play a pretty good role in this – it’s also due to the fact that they don’t sit around eating bags of chips and gallons of ice cream. It’s not rocket science.

4. The older you get, the more you learn to feed yourself.

Do I expect my 8 year old to make her own dinner, of course not. But I do expect my 12 year old to  take care of her own breakfast and lunch.  And she’s been learning to cook since she was around 10. Now 2 years later there’s not that much that she can’t safely make herself. She is not expected to cook dinner, but she is allowed to if she wants.

As I see it, it’s my job to prepare her to be able to take care of herself. This includes cooking for herself. As a result she has a much healthier and normal relationship with food than I do. She’s a scientist at heart and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. She determines her own food agenda.

5. Make your own plate with a reasonable amount of food for someone your size. Adults eat more than kids because they are bigger. Teenagers eat like bottomless pits – pile it on. Everyone’s plates of food should not look the same – adjust to what is appropriate to you.

Since mostly I feed two little girls, this doesn’t come up often. But when family  or friends visit, this rule comes into play.   We eat what will fill us up. If you need more, then serve yourself more. If you don’t need as much then don’t put it on your plate.  Simple.

This rule gets me some looks sometime. When I give my kids the appropriate portion for a person their size. They are smallish girls who don’t need 5 pounds of food to fill up. I’m always surprised when people give adult portions of food to children.

6. We don’t eat from the bag/box/carton/packaging.

Get a plate, a bowl,  or a cup. We may not all sit around for family dinners but we do have manners. If you want some popcorn fine, make it and put a single serving in a bowl to crunch on – don’t sit there an eat from the bag like a horse from a feed bag.

7. Children don’t drink soda.

They just don’t. Water, milk, juice, Gatorade, I’ve got it all. Any soda brought into this house if solely for adult purposes.

    So what are the food rules at your house?