2015 Family Nutrition, Health and Well-being Overhaul – Weeks 1 & 2

We made it through our first couple weeks of our overhaul!  The lesson: focus on celebrating the small victories, chosing to be flexible in certain situations and when we fall short one day to get back on track the next… don’t give up!

We started our overhaul off strong and full of determination.  The T.V. stayed off, everyone got creative and fresh meals were being made. TV offWhile everyone was still home for the holidays I decided to serve lunches basically consisting of a healthy snack variety plate. It was so easy and the kids loved it so much. No elaborate cooking involved and barely any cleanup after.  Dinnertimes were also going very well. I gave the kids VERY small quantities so that I wasn’t setting them up to fail.  The rule: eat your dinner in front of you if you want a snack after dinner.  Simple.kids food

Then real life hit!  Bitterly cold winter weather arrived, I came down with a terrible head cold, we were attending a lot of birthday celebrations that included the present shopping before and typical birthday foods during.  While out shopping with the whole family one day Mike and I decided to stop for lunch at a chain restaurant.  Before entering we made a game plan already knowing their menu.  We decided to let the kids have typical “kid food” as long as they incorporated a vegetable instead of fries.  Beau chose cucumbers and chicken fingers and Holden chose a hamburger and steamed carrots.  Mike was a little nervous about finding something healthy on the menu.  Once we had been seated things started going down hill fast!  The babies were cranky, Mike couldn’t find a thing on the menu and decided to skip lunch and we were told that they had raw carrots but it would take too long to steam them… what!!???  I made the decision to give Holden raw carrots which he and Mike quickly protested to.  Mike kept giving me these looks across the table like “this is not working”.  I was enjoying a delicious salad complete with beets, peaches and grilled salmon and Beau starting digging into her cucumbers which I have never seen her eat before.  We started to make a little progress.  Holden ate his mini hamburger and then panic started to set in about trying raw carrots.  The poor kid was starting into a full blown anxiety attack.  That’s when I switched gears.

I decided to turn this into a teaching moment.  For anyone who has a child who suffers from sensory issues, you know that texture, temperature, colour and smell can all contribute to childhood anxiety.  “Okay”, I said to Holden,”Forget eating the carrots.  Please do something else for me.  Pick it up. Hold it in your hand.  What colour is it?  Is it soft or hard?  Why is is not soft?”  This began a discussion about the carrot.  Holden immediately relaxed and became very engaged in explaining that it hadn’t been cooked and it would probably crunch if he bit it.  We demystified the raw carrot.  Mike and I accepted this discussion as a win and we hope that the next time a raw carrot crosses his path he may not become so overwhelmed by it.

We tried a few new recipes this week and the biggest winner was from the Oh She Glows cookbook; Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta.  Drool-worthy!  This easy vegan dish has cashew “cream” sauce.  I couldn’t believe how quickly this meal was gobbled up.  It was incredible and Holden has been begging me to make it every week.  This one will for sure be a future staple in our home!Luxurious pastaAlthough my energy was low due to my cold I pulled together enough energy to cook up a big pot of soup also from The Oh She Glows cookbook.  I chose the Eat Your Greens Detox Soup to help us recover from our holiday food hangover and so Mike would have something easy to bring to work with him for lunch the following week.  This nutrient packed soup was perfect to help kick my stubborn cold’s butt and as Mike put it, even the after-taste is delicious!Eat Your Greens Detox SoupEven I got a little creative in the kitchen!  Here are two lunches I made for myself that were quick, healthy and very tasty!

BBQ Chicken, Kale and Apple Sandwich: BBQ chicken breast, kale, sliced apple and whole grain dijon mustard with a dab of mayo on a thin multigrain bun.  I added a side of greek yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and raspberries.

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Sweet and Salty Walnut Whole Wheat Pasta: Whole wheat bow tie pasta with sautéed spinach, red peppers, tomatoes and red onions mixed with olive oil, sea salt and brown sugar topped with walnut pieces.

IMG_2924I know, I even surprised myself!

I didn’t get too creative with my breakfasts yet, I stuck to my good old quick, healthy and simple staple this week: soft boiled egg, quinoa bread with almond butter, water and coffee (nope not giving up my coffee).  I did however trade out my skim milk for unsweetened almond milk in my coffee.breakfastAnother note-worthy meal was fajitas.  To make a healthier version we used whole wheat wraps, swapped out sour cream for avocados and sautéed portobello mushrooms along with many other delicious veggies.  This meal was a great option for Holden and Beau to be able to pick and choose what they want and try new vegetables.  Fajitas will for sure be added to our weekly rotation and in a couple of weeks Mia and Everly will be able to enjoy it along with us when we start Baby Lead Weaning.fajitasThen there was the exercise… there was a lot of discussion about working out, planning on it, staring at our home gym but we didn’t finally start until the end of these two weeks.  This will be priority starting next week!  I also had to start getting creative with the kid’s exercise since we were in a deep freeze.  I had been wracking my brain and didn’t feel well enough to drag everyone out to an indoor playground (the way Canadian parents survive winter).  Then it hit me!  I grabbed some sidewalk chalk from our garage and raced to our unfinished basement.  May I present to you “people town” as my kids call it.  Complete with a hardware store and market.

people townHere are some take-away tips: 

Take the time to cook some quinoa and barbecue chicken breasts at the beginning of the week and have them ready in the fridge for wraps, sandwiches etc…  Yes, we are those neighbours that dig a path in the snow to our BBQ!

Make your food pretty.  Because I knew I was going to be photographing my food I took the time to create a nice looking meal.  I even took quick on-the-go snacks out of the wrapper and sat and enjoyed them.  I found myself slowing down and eating when I did this resulting in being more satisfied after.  My new favourite healthy on the go snack: the Kashi granola bars with chia seeds.  Mmmmm…IMG_2901

Our goals for next week:

Master some new recipes including breakfast recipes.

Find some healthy boxed and frozen options I can buy at the grocery store since santa didn’t seem to get my request for a black hole of extra time each day!

EXERCISE!!! I don’t know how, I don’t know when but this needs to happen!

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