Friday, June 1, 2012

Step 1 & 2 : Clean out the cupboards and make lists

Day 1. One meal down. But my preparations began about a week or so ago when determining that I REALLY wanted to serve my family mainly (or even solely) whole foods. I did two big steps in preparing for this experiment.

Step 1: Remove the temptation

The first thing I did when I was still trying to convince myself that removing processed foods from our daily eating would be beneficial was to clear out our cupboards of processed foods. Mostly I moved it all to our basement shelves (just in case I changed my mind). The items that are unopened will go to the food pantry at the end of the month if we are going to continue eating mainly whole foods. The opened items will either be tossed or held onto for special occasions. There were a few items like flavored yogurt and cocoa wheats that the family will finish up in the next few days, and then I just won't buy them again. I know you see the dramatic TV shows where a personal trainer or nutritionist goes through a family's cupboards tossing anything processed or sugary into the garbage. I'm too frugal and practical to make such a bold move.

Step 2: Make a list of things you (and your family) will actually eat

One of the scary things when changing to any eating plan is seeing food lists that are filled with things I've never heard of or don't like. When I started my healthy eating plan last November, I highlighted the items I liked and planned my meals around those foods. Along the way I tried some new items, but at the beginning I stuck with what I knew. Now that I'm working on making a change for our whole family, I started making lists of non-processed foods that the kids will eat. I classify them by meal. That way I know to have those items on hand. For example, the kids like raw spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers, so I'll be sure to have those on hand and ready for meals (along with ranch dip made with yogurt). Most of us rely on processed foods because they are easy and quick. If I'm going to have my family eat whole foods I need to make them easy and quick as well (although that requires preparation on my part, but I've been doing that kind of prep for myself for six months now, I just have to increase the volume). Here's a list of snack ideas that my kids like (I hope to expand the list):

1. Fruit & yogurt smoothies and parfaits (leftover smoothies can be frozen in popsicle molds)
2. Apples with peanut butter
3. Almost any fruit you throw at them
4. Cheese (I quit buying the imitation processed complaints from the kids)
5. Air popped popcorn

I currently have several lists going. I'm working on a way to organize them for myself to help with meal planning and grocery shopping. I also want some kind of a teaching tool where my kids can choose from different options to learn how to make their own healthy choices.

I do want to say that when we are guests at another person's house, I don't expect them to prepare only whole foods. I expect that when the kids are with either grandma, she will indulge them with goodies they haven't been eating at home. I don't expect to NEVER eat processed foods, I'm just trying to remove them from our everyday eating.

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