Re: OT - Recommendations for better eating (for the whole family)
posted at 8/26/2013 11:46 AM EDT
I am not one for giving things up, but moderation I'm very good at. I've had success with using small plates to control portion sizes.
I love to cook and both DH and I get home by 4PM so I can usually get dinner on the table by 5 or 5:30 (before you get too jealous, remember we're all out of the house by 6:30AM). I am a huge carb fiend; carbs really are my favorite. DD1 is a protein queen. DH and DD2 will eat anything put in front of them in large quantities. I plan out my whole week's worth of meals before I go grocery shopping. I brainstorm what I'm going to make every night, trying to work in variety as well as anticipate leftovers and strategize how to spend less money by using the circular to plan the protein and build around that. I make a list so I don't forget anything and we go grocery shopping early in the morning before it gets too crowded. This sounds kind of crazy if it's not what you do, but once you get used to it you will realize that you are actually spending less time thinking about dinner and a lot less time in the store. Plus, if you do it right you'll spend less money.
What I do is sit down with the circular and look at the meat prices. I figure out what is cheapest value-pack this week and build two meals around that by adding different carbs and different veggies. For example, if drumsticks are the cheapest I'll plan pasta with a loaded sauce and lots of veggies for one night (one when I don't have much time) and grilled drumsticks with sweet potatoes and corn and green beans another night, later in the week. I ALWAYS plan at least one night with beans as the protein. Rice and beans with avocado and salsa and plantains are a big hit in my house. I almost always have some kind of stir fry by the end of the week, using either leftover rice from the night before (I make more on purpose), or soba noodles. With stir fries I do lots of veggies and tofu, sometimes even leftover meat if we've got it. The girls aren't allergic to anything so I'll make a thai peanut sauce. You can buy a jar of it if you don't feel like making one. That usually gets me to Thursday or Friday, when I will plan on going back to the store to get some fish. Omelettes are great at night. If you plan ahead, you can used leftover baked potatoes and make home fries, mmmm. When it's cold I do a lot of soups. The girls love them and they reheat great at lunch at work.
Pretty much anything you make yourself from scratch is going to be healthier than something else. So when I make fried plantains, sure, they're fried and definitely not "everyday food" but it's not the end of the world. It helps that my daughters and my husband all eat anything that's put in front of them. Some of that is just luck and some of it is that they don't really have any other options. Keep it whole-grain (NOT "multi-grain," that means nothing) for your carb. Soba noodles, brown rice, farro, quinoa, bulgur wheat, etc. Add a protein, garbanzos, peanuts, tofu, tempeh, shrimp, lentils, black beans, chicken, pork, lamb, beef, fish, etc. Lots of veggies and you're all set. A sauce, if you're into that sort of thing.
When you're making your grocery list, remember to get enough veggies for snacks. I chop mine and put them in a tupperware at the beginning of the week (ok, DH chops them for me usually) and dole them out as needed for lunches and snacks. Lots of hummus and salsa consumption in this house.
I know people feel overwhelmed cooking after working all day. I feel like I'd be more stressed out not knowing what I'm going to eat and having to go to the store all the time. It doesn't take long to make things, really. It's not like you're going to try to roast a turkey on a Wednesday (though turkey drumsticks are a huge hit for their Renaissance Faire appeal haha). Boil water for pasta, rice, or potatoes, saute veggies and meat, then serve. Less than an hour, usually.