The next topic I blog about has to be nutrition. But where do I start? There’s no way I can include everything today, so please know that many future posts will also address this topic. I will begin by admitting that I have never enjoyed food and actually felt burdened by hunger… until we really dialed things in these past two years. I went from being a slow eater, always the last one done, to now devouring and thoroughly enjoying my food. Lately I’ve been beating Brian to an empty plate! Not sure of its implications, but it is pretty curious and kind of funny to notice since the change occurred at the same time I dialed in my food choices. Prior to that I couldn’t count the number of times I’d told him, “I just wish there was a pill I could take that would stop my hunger and be the exact nutrition that my body needs.” … take a food pill and move on with my day… wouldn’t that be kind of handy? Handy, but not as desirable now. This change and newfound excitement for food is probably my body’s way of giving me feedback… “Ya! That’s it! Way to finally give me what I’ve always been begging for! Way to figure me out! At last, some real food! The nutrition I’ve longed for! The fuel that will in turn give us more *energy*!” (look for a future blog post describing how that word has taken on a whole new meaning for me)
I will briefly touch on the changes we’ve made, but please know that I will explain each of them in more detail in the future.
*One of the changes we’ve implemented was a simplification of our weekly grocery list and meal plan. We seriously eat the same meal for lunch 6 out of 7 days of the week and suppers during the week are one off a short list of 4-6 meal options. We think that variety is not the spice of life in this instance and have loved our simplification. And I’ll be dead honest… we enjoy these meals more now than ever before, have not grown tired of them and truly crave each approaching meal. The key is dialing in your meal options and ingredients. We use quality food that in turn tastes amazing. So when I do tell you what meals we eat on a regular basis (stay tuned to future posts!), please know that one man’s version of a chicken breast, for example, is surely not the same as another’s! My point being, that we would not be able to be excited to eat chicken breast every day of the week IF we had to eat overcooked, dried out, unflavorful meat from unhappy chickens. I’m telling you… it makes a difference where your food comes from, what IT ate and how you prepare it. What I’m also going to tell you, is… figure things out for yourself. Figure out what meals settle well for you and your loved ones, which ones give you lasting energy and also figure out how to make those particular meals as freaking delicious and enticing as you can! Then… enjoy them again and again… and again!
*As my ongoing mental list of “I know better and will always do better now about this one” list! is getting longer and longer, my sadness for not ‘being able to eat them ever again’ has gotten less and less! There are foods on that list now that will just never be worth it. ...never. be. worth. it. Not worth the grumpiness. Not worth the headaches. Not worth the sluggishness. And especially not worth the brain fog. Please note I never said, “Not worth the calories.” You’re focusing too much on calories, people.
*We totally indulge on a certain meal at a certain restaurant twice per week. It’s our sanity saver and our tank topper off-er after a nice stretch of ‘running lean and clean’ for a few days. Without this indulgence, our stretches of ‘running lean and clean’ would not be so successful. But I must note… when I say we eat to our hearts content at a Mexican restaurant twice per week… it is still a meal choice that treats our bodies right, gives us energy and makes us feel good. In fact, it’s such a just-right meal for me that I can/do pig out eating it for lunch a few hours before some of my best runs/lifts. So the key is finding such a meal that not only satisfies your taste buds and need to indulge, but also settles well so that it doesn’t bog you down for days. My go-to indulgence may not be another’s go-to indulgence. Find what works for you, then let yourself enjoy it because it’s strategically effective.
*We eat the same thing for breakfast every. single. day. It tastes amazing every day, settles well, and sustains us for long periods of time. Wouldn’t you love to know what it is? Well, you’re going to have to wait until a future post. Just like you’ll have to do for the above mentioned changes we’ve made. This post is getting lengthy enough ;)
I can’t claim to be so precise or “clean” when it comes to our kids’ nutrition. We are more relaxed with them for a few reasons.
*We can’t expect that they’d eat the same thing for lunch everyday like we do, or the same 4-6 suppers nightly, without getting burnt out.
*They’re kids. I remember being a picky eater as a kid. I would have hated life if my parents weren’t realistic in terms of catering (within reason) to my super-selective palette.
*Our hope is that, like water on a rock, we will build a foundation of nutritional knowledge and awareness, but not cram it down their throats (hee hee, catch that?).
Now, that’s not to say we are lenient and let the kids eat whatever they want. No, no. We are choosy. It’s all about balance. Some foods fall into the category, “Ya! Have as much as you want when your body tells you it’s hungry (chicken, peanut butter, apples, beef, cheese, coconut milk, pumpkin seeds).” Some meals are, “Yes, you must eat that tonight. ...because it’s healthy, we haven’t made you eat it in a while ...and because we said so (beef or chicken quesadillas, eggs and bacon, tacos at our favorite Mexican restaurant, chicken breast and sweet potatoes, local grass-fed beef/no nitrates added/local hot dogs, etc.).” While others are a once-in-awhile meal or treat (corn dogs, Goldfish crackers, Big Bird/Grover bars, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets). And still there are other foods that we’d prefer to stay away from completely, but instead we limit and strategically plan into their week (cheese curls, fruit juice, candy made with ‘food paint’ - any time I say this I am referring to artificial dye). With this latter group, we have a method behind our madness as to when these foods are allowed. If we are heading out the door to drive an hour, have studio pictures taken, skip a nap that day, and accomplish other things outside of our typical routine, then I refuse to give them any kind of food that messes with their best. Such foods alter their ability to cope and I can’t afford to risk any additional melt-downs or stubbornness than is already common and expected for toddlers and young children. However, if it’s 7 pm and their bellies are full of grass fed beef quesadillas and all we need to accomplish the rest of the evening is our bedtime routine, and the next day will also be routine, then yes, a treat from the “rare and limited” category is alright. Indulge, my little ones.
Call us super picky if you’d like. Won’t hurt my feelings. We see it as strategic and intentional and pretty damn effective. We’ve experienced some learning lessons along the way that verify why we do what we do. If we can give our kids every possible advantage to feel their best at the times when it’s best to feel their best… then we will support them and do that. But you’d also better believe that we don’t want to cram our nutrition obsession (not really an obsession, I’m just poking fun at ourselves) down their throats. My biggest reason for doing so? I don’t ever want to run a dictatorship (read dictatorship as a “NO JUNK. NO TREATS. NO FUN. EVER” approach) that would cause them to completely swing to the other end of the pendulum when they are 18 years and 3 hours old. We are balanced. We are realistic. But our biggest goal? To help them to help themselves choose and decide how to feel their best. Sound familiar? Hey.. there’s this Kelly girl who wrote a blog... and in it she says that her litmus test for every choice she makes is “Will it make me feel my best?” How’s that for pretty good advice? I plan to teach my kids that too.
I am a wife, mom to two and teacher. I have a lot of things I'd like to go after in this lifetime!