5 Simple Swaps I Made When I Cleaned Up My Family's Diet
Moms want to do the best they can when it comes to their family and nutrition. But with our busy lives and as complicated it can be to sort out the good from the bad, it’s challenging.
My family does not eat perfectly, but we’ve made some simple changes to improve healthy eating habits over the past several years. Before that, I was doing some things right. My kids have always loved their fruits and veggies and we mostly avoided soda. Yet, we were an on-the-go family that ate dinner from drive thrus once a week, and “center aisle” foods made up the majority of my grocery cart.
When I started the nutrition program that vastly improved our family’s habits almost five years ago, it made a good portion of our nutrition choices simple, quick, all-natural and extremely nutrient dense. And, I was exposed and more open to good information and clear recommendations on how to eat cleaner and more healthfully around those products.
As I started feeling better than ever and noticing how my family was no longer getting every sniffle and bug that came around, I was convinced these changes were key to our health. Today, there are more and more organic and healthy food choices, healthy restaurant options and more convenient ways to get fresh food. Healthy eating has become accessible, even when you don’t have time to prep a meal.
I don’t read and research every ingredient on every label that comes into my house. The swaps I’ve made are pretty straightforward and have become part of our everyday lifestyle. Here are 5 simple changes we made.
1) Drink choices got clearer... Plain old filtered water is now our beverage of choice. We installed a water filtration system so good-tasting, contaminant free water is always accessible. I fill a large glass container with filtered water, squeeze in lemon and keep that in the fridge. We occasionally drink flavored seltzer water. We bypass Gatorade and fruit juices, other than the occasional fresh squeezed orange juice. We add a clean vitamin-infused powder with electrolytes to water for sports. We are also tea drinkers. But instead of the more acidic black tea I used to laden with artificial sweeteners, we drink green or herbal tea and add a little sweetness with honey.
2) Fast food is slightly slower... Instead of relying on fast food on busy carpool nights, I take half an hour and serve a home cooked meal. It’s truly only a half hour, which isn’t much longer than the trip to fast food took because I rely on meal delivery services. I love this option because I don’t have to try to decide what to make, sort through recipes or aimlessly wander the grocery store looking for ideas or searching out ingredients. Yet, I still get the pride of serving a home-cooked meal. I have tried a few options and my current favorite is Green Chef because it’s organic, well balanced, everyone in the family enjoys the variety, and it is fairly easy prep (a lot of the chopping is already done). We also throw away a lot less food and save money because we aren’t at the grocery store as often.
3) 3 C’s stay out of the cart... My family will always be fans of sweets, but there are certain things, namely packaged cookies, candy and cereal, that are so laden with sugar, artificial ingredients and downright junk, I just don’t want them around the house. I’m not banning them from my kids’ lives, but I decided why make it easy to overdose on high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated oils, and other not so great things by having them handy in the cupboard.
4) Familiar names became strangers... We were on a first name basis with Jack’s Pizza, Lego Waffles, Ball Park Franks and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but they are no longer welcome visitors. Now, for those times we want a safe bet on the run, I stock up with frozen organic chicken burritos, protein shakes and bars, steal cut oatmeal, and bean tamales from the local grocer.
5) We stuck a fork in greasy spoons ... When we went for a night out with the family, our favorite spots used to be the local fried chicken spot, a pizza joint and the popular burger place where you throw your peanut shells on the floor. Now our favorites are places where healthy, yummy choices are available like the grill at our local supermarket, a fresh taco place and casual bar/restaurants that serve things like grilled chicken salads and fresh fish sandwiches.