I woke up after the holidays, as many of us do, feeling fat and pretty grossed out with myself after eating everything I could fit into my pie hole over the last 6 weeks. I accidentally got a look at myself naked in the mirror (yikes!), and dragged myself to the gym while thinking about what I needed to do to get back on track. First priority was to buy a juicer. I’ve been longing for one for awhile but didn’t want to spend the money. Luckily my in-laws bought me one for my birthday in January, and I have juiced everyday since. I feel like the juicer had a domino effect. It kick-started my health/diet/food/whatever you want to call it, makeover.
I decided my goal was to work out five days a week. Let me preface this with, that is my goal, not to be confused with what actually happens. I have always worked out but when I get busy with work, my work-out routine suffers. It’s now the time of year when my work is slower so it’s easier for me get to the gym in the morning. I take classes with a handful of girlfriends, which highly motivates me. I have selected classes that are cardio and weights together, and separately, and all of which have good music, since that’s another huge motivator for me to put on my gym clothes and schlep to the gym in 20 degree weather. Good music is a must. I run outside about once a week but for the most part classes are what I enjoy and see the best results from. You will never find me running aimlessly on a treadmill or on an elliptical. I’ve also borrowed the Insanity videos from a friend so I have something to do at home on days when I can’t make it to the gym. Let’s face it, we are busy and the gym isn’t always possible. Running outside is a good back-up as well.
For the most part we eat pretty healthy, but I decided to take a closer look at what we are eating as a family, and really dissect it. The boys’ dinner most often consisted of Bell and Evans chicken fingers, Dr. Praegers fish sticks or an Applegate hot dog with Amy’s organic mac and cheese (or if I’m feeling adventurous, some frozen squash) with a side of fruit and/or avocado. Some nights I would make meatloaf or pasta and meatballs, but for the most part I felt like too much of what they were eating was coming out of a box, either from the freezer or pantry. Not awful, but I felt like we could do better. Not only was I feeling guilty for not making more of an effort but I was tired of making two, sometimes three, meals every night.
Early February I went to a Cookbook club at the Stone Barns Farm which featured Dinner, A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach, and a huge door was opened. She had so many wonderful tips for cooking for, and eating with your children every night. Something she has built her life around. Since then, I’ve stopped asking what my boys want for dinner and have started making one meal that I think we will all enjoy. Sometimes I have to make adjustments to their meal (by adding or deleting something from ours) but for the most part, we are all eating the same thing most nights. And some nights the boys love dinner, and some nights they don’t. Don’t be misled, there are still nights when I open up the freezer and pull out a box of something or another for the boys, it’s just happens a lot less than it used to. I also threw out all of the processed food we had in our house. Anything that had unrecognizable items on the label, or was too high in sugar, went in the garbage. Jenny has alot of wonderful tips on her blog today for dissecting labels and how to avoid the junk at the grocery store. My favorite tip – “It’s wise to stick to the perimeter of the store — produce, dairy, meat — where the fresh products are sold. Interior aisles are filled, floor-to-ceiling, with processed foods.” There was also a fascinating article in the NY Times Magazine this weekend by Michael Moss. Definitely worth a read.
homemade pizza, something we make often as a family
This all began with a conversation I had with my friend Christina, and was put into real motion after reading Dinner, A Love Story. Christina mentioned she was planning out their meals every two weeks and ordering all the ingredients from Fresh Direct. Hmmm… I was going to grocery store almost every day, stressing out about what I was going to make, spending too much money, and wasting too much food. I wasn’t paying much attention to the menu line-up either. It was time for a change. I decided to attempt meal planning. Every weekend I plan out the week’s meals and typically order from Fresh Direct or go to Trader Joes. I cook at least 5 nights a week, choosing healthy ingredients for homemade meals. We now have a wall painted in chalkboard paint in our kitchen where I write out the menu on Sundays. Planning out our meals allows me to choose our meals wisely, and make better use of leftovers. Since I work from home, I try to make things that will work well for my next day’s lunch as well.
EAT MORE VEGGIES
The last effort I’ve made was to enroll in a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, which starts this summer. All of our fruits and vegetables will come from a local farm, Roxbury Farms, from June – November. I love the idea of not knowing what we’ll get in our box every week, and the challenge of creating meals using what has been provided. I think it will be a great example for the boys, even if they don’t love everything we get.
To follow my food journey you can follow me on Instagram, where all of the above photos were shared. Request to follow and I will gladly accept you. Please note, these changes didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy at first, but now were in a good routine. By no means is it perfect everyday, but this is what we strive for. For added support we all take the Juice Plus vitamins. I highly recommend.