Have you ever questioned the health of your family? Have you ever wondered if your family is getting all the nutrition they need from the delicious quick meals you prepare every night? And by quick I mean, the less-than-the-too-elaborate-for-my-taste food tv show’s 30 minute meals!
Well, I have. I do it all the time. Especially now that my daughter is in school, I wonder if the lunch I am packing for her every day is the right amount, the right portion, has enough protein, fiber and all the nutrients she needs.
Some days I pack her the most delicious and complete meal. I feel on top of the world for covering all the food groups into her lunchbox, only to disappoint myself later when I unpack the box and find every single item of food is still there. Been there?
What about those nights you crack open your “healthy” cookbook (okay, you IPad), and follow step-by-step preparing that sure to score some point with the hubs, of the most succulent and hearty dinner. You go to the store and happily select the perfect tomatoes, the freshest fish, only to later find out that your husband already ate or he doesn’t feel like eating seafood tonight. C’mmon! It’s not just seafood!! It’s fish!! I prepared it!!!! I know you can relate.
The truth is, we sometimes, stretch ourselves too thin. Go too far to plan and please, without realizing that simplicity and the basics are the way to go most of the time. So, I now try to be more practical with my lunches and dinner and make sure we are all on the same page as far as nutrition and food choices.
So here are a few tips that has helped me being successful and keeping my family’s nutrition in check every week:
* Plan and Prep – pick a day to go to the store and buy all your foods for the week, including meats, veggies, snacks. I suggest making a shopping list first and if you need even more structure, you can make a menu ahead of the time too. When you get home, take some time to clean, sort and store your lunches and snacks. So bag your fruits and veggies on tiny zip bags, season your dinner meats, pack snacks to go, etc. You can prep other items in large quantity ahead of time too, like boil a dozen of eggs, cook a box of whole grain pasta, quinoa, and make an extra batch of ground beef for sauce, etc..
*Pack a healthy snack for you hubby too! He will love that and it is a much better option to snack on some nuts and dry fruit, or hummus and veggies than grabbing something from the vending machine!
* Involve your family during meal planning. Ask what they would like to have (and even help) for dinner and lunch this week. Establish a “snack of the week” system, and go with that. It is important to share that task with your family because everyone is partaking from it.
* Have your kids pack their snacks and lunch for school. Give them options, though – cheese and ham or chicken nuggets, strawberries or banana, etc. Teach them what a nutritious lunch should look like for growing kids! One protein, one veggie, one fruit, one healthy treat. Pack water instead of sugary drinks or milk.
* Plan for a big crockpot dinner once a week at least (on those big sports days) and plan for a delicious left-over from it for the next day. This is my favorite!! So chicken breast and salsa crockpot (And, that is the recipe!), can be chicken and rice one night and chicken tacos next day!
* Go with the easy already washed and cut bag of veggies that it’s super simple to either make a salad or toss with olive oil and sea salt to roast in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes! Yes, that’s another full recipe here. Almost all veggies are good roasted! Have your tried roasted green beans?
* Save not so healthy treats for a special family day. Ice cream for movie night, chips for game night.
* ENJOY cooking for and with your family!! God has given us soooo much! All these healthy and fresh foods readily available everywhere for us to enjoy and delight ourselves in it! (Did you see they have organics at Target too? 😉
Cooking for our families and eating healthy is a privilege and a gift we can all enjoy every day. It does not need to be complicated. At all!
For more ideas on clean eating and for more information about my work, visit my facebook Like Page: Valeria Health & Fitness