Diet. Nutrition. Healthy lifestyle. Those words mean different things to different people. Some people choose to go low-carb, low-fat, or low-salt. Others choose high protein, or no red meat, or will only eat organic. And if you're trying to suddenly eat "healthy", it can be difficult to nail down exactly what that means to you.
In our home, I was always the healthy-mom-type. I kept sugar and treats to a minimum, shrugged off processed foods, and served whole grains. But over time, I've grown lax in my management of our family's nutrition. I haven't completely jumped ship, but I also haven't been keeping things "ship-shape". I still don't give the kids chips and soda at home, and I serve lots of fruits and veggies with every meal. But sugar cereals and nutrition-less snacks have wiggled their way into the pantry, and white bread and hot dogs have too often pushed out the healthier options.
Well, my husband and I have decided it's time to make some changes around here. My daughter's illness has been a wake-up call to us, and we're kicking out preservatives, processed foods, and other "junk". At least we're moving in that direction. We want to opt for real, natural foods and lots (and lots!) of fruits and veggies. We're giving up on most pork products (we love them, but our tummies don't), and we're looking for more vegetarian dishes. Also, in an effort to discover the source of Mackenzie's health problems, we're removing all dairy and gluten from her diet for several days, just to see if things improve. And while the dairy and gluten changes might not stick around, I think the other changes are here to stay.
What now? I've grown comfortable with the same-old, same-old. I've gotten used to fixing meals with very little thought involved. I make something simple (without worrying too much about how healthful it is or isn't), add some carrot sticks, and call it a meal. But that just won't cut it around here anymore. So, I'm attacking this from two directions. First, we're going to go ahead and finish up the less-than-healthy foods in the pantry and freezer. I'm too cheap to just toss them. But on the other front, I'm going to have to get creative. I'm going to actively look for recipes and ideas that we will enjoy. Instead of focusing our attention on the foods we no longer want to eat, I need to showcase all of the yummy options we have to choose from.
Some of our favorite foods, like white bread or salad dressings, won't completely disappear from our kitchen, but we'll be looking for healthier, homemade recipes. Of course, if we find out that we need to cut certain foods out of our daughter's diet long-term, then I'll be revisiting what "healthy" means to our particular situation. But right now - today - I'm going to do what I can. I'm going to crack open the cookbooks and search the internet. I'll take a hard look at our grocery budget and evaluate how I can spend my time making healthy foods more convenient. We're finding out just how important our health (and our children's health!) is to us, and I'm convinced that the extra effort will be worth it!
Here's this week's menu plan:
Spaghetti with tomatoes
Beans and rice
Sausage and eggs
Veggies and dip
Be sure to check out more menu ideas over at Menu Plan Monday.