To start we need recognize an inconvenient truth – that it’s both very difficult and very simple to eat well and to feed our families good, healthy food.
There are several reasons that it’s difficult to eat well. First of all, access to good, healthy food can be spotty. Following the Dirty Dozen can be difficult if you don’t live in an urban area with access to local natural food stores or farmer’s markets that require their farms to be certified naturally grown. Grocery shopping and filling your buggy with better meats (grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken/pork, wild caught seafood), organic dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables (organic is possible) can become really expensive and blow the grocery budget. Your family is weary of how the “healthy food” is going to taste. Preparation takes time and fast food isn’t an option. Even “better” fast food is still loaded with fat and salt. Not to mention the rules keep changing. Gluten Free is what we should all be doing or wait, your co-working is doing great on the Paleo Diet. Vegan seems interesting but restrictive and it all just feels so overwhelming!
There are equally several reasons that it’s easy to eat well. This is where just a little planning can go a really long way! Keep a well stocked pantry – so you can always cook a good meal. Meal Plan so you know what to eat every day and to help you make a grocery list. Automate breakfast and make that ahead. Egg muffins, overnight oatmeal, pancakes, smoothie bags…there are so many options. Make enough for dinner each night that so you have lunch leftover. Make one or two really big meals a week to minimize the time you spend in the kitchen. Make your slow cooker a trust sous chef – it’s great for big cuts of meat or a whole chicken, but also great for beans, potatoes, beets. What about the “way” we should eat?
I’m going to be really honest and let you know where my struggle gets real. The weeks that I spend the time meal planning are a dream. The weeks I use my slow cooker are even better. It’s the weeks that I don’t put the time in to plan – they are a disaster. We end up doing “better” fast food breakfast a few times, lunches are my version of hamburger helper (grass fed beef with Annie’s Mac & Cheese) or my son ends up eating Santa Fe Pilaf – everyday! And dinner tends to be a free for all. At the end of the week I feel terrible, both physically from not eating well and emotionally because I know better. I know how to eat well and I know exactly what it takes. But I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not perfect, and after a week like this I’ll pick myself off, dust off and start again.
Listen to me when I say this – this journey, it’s about progress, not perfection. It’s about changing our habits. It’s about believing that what we eat matters.