We have somehow gotten ourselves in a TERRIBLE style of eating.
Even though we love healthy foods, we eat poorly mostly due (I think) to poor planning and convenience.
DH loves fast food and hasn`t really ever eaten mostly nutritious, natural foods. I on the other hand, know better - and have eaten very very healthy in the past - as a way of life. It seems the month we got married, I let all of this go down the drain and need to get it back!
(I was also pregnant when we got married so this probably has a lot to do with it) DD is 11 months now, and although DH and I both work and have busy schedules, we NEED to find the motivation to get our lives back in order.
Current eating habbits:
I almost entirely -dont- cook. I actually love to cook... so it shouldnt be too hard to convince myself to start again...
We go to the grocery store about twice a week. When we are there, we can usually manage to think of something to make for that nights supper and we get a few basics (milk, bread, cheese, yogurt, eggs, cereal, bananas and other fruit)
All is well until its the next nights supper and we dont have anything planned and we are starving and we go out for dinner or get take out. We eat out for probably 6+ meals a week, most dinners and some lunches. Granted, its not all burgers... we get subway a lot too. I usually get veggie or grilled chicken burgers on whole wheat buns and dont order a drink or fries. But DH is constantly drinking coke, eating fries and burgers. We are still feeding DD a lot of jarred foods. She does get a lot of fruits and veggies and `smoothy` type meals. I`d like to be cooking enough healthy food that we can share together.
do I begin now... how do you find the motivation and discipline to cook every night, plan ahead for meals while working and being mom... We seem to talk about it enough but never actually start...
In writing all of this out im hoping to confront myself over this. Its not something I should be taking lightly.
If you are eating out half a dozen times per week, it would probably be too overwhelming to suddenly stop that completely and replace all those restaurant meals with home cooked meals. Maybe shoot to replace one meal a week and gradually ease into doing the bulk of your cooking at home?
As for what to cook, can you approximate some of your restaurant meals at home? You said you like to go to Subway—that is easy enough to mimic by keeping some bread or sandwich rolls, lettuce, onions, lunch meat, etc. on hand at home. You can gradually make this healthier, too, by choosing whole grain breads, using more veggies than meat, cooking a chicken or turkey breast to sub for lunch meat, and so on.
If you consciously plan for just one additional meal per week, that shouldn't be too hard to manage with grocery shopping. You can also start with meals that are fast and easy to make (sandwiches, salads, pasta) and gradually up the complexity as you and DH get more proficient at working them into your routine.
I completely agree. Unless you're an all or nothing kind of person, easing your foot into a little at a time is the way to go.
A place to start might be thinking about what you like to cook. Is there something you or your DH really enjoy? Something that you're known for? Anything that is easy but tasty? I'd pick a recipe and a day of the week that is typically not stressful and start there. I also wouldn't make it too complicated or fancy. No need to have several side dishes and dessert. I'd also make a list of healthy easy snacks you and DH will eat and try to keep those on hand (hummus, baby carrot sticks, bananas, good whole wheat bread, real peanut butter, nuts, cottage cheese, whole milk yogurt, etc.)
And kuddos to thinking about changing this habit while your DD is little. It's so much easier to start a good habit for little ones than change a bad habit later on.
ETA If you need some inspiration cooking shows, magazine and cookbooks always get my cooking juices flowing.
I agree that with this, it might not work well to try to change it all at once. With cutting out sugar, I do suggest going cold turkey at first, as I've found anything else impossible, but for eating healthier at home, I would start with menu planning. We plan every dinner every week, and have a stock of breakfasts and lunches we make and keep stuff around for. Our plan sometimes includes going out to eat, or eating with family, and it's flexible. Say on Tuesday night, we both really really want to eat out, then we'll eat Tuesday night's dinner on Wednesday, and go out. Same if my parents invite us over for dinner. For breakfasts and lunches, we keep around for instance, oatmeal, and eggs, and greens and cheese and sometimes bread, and that gives us a couple lunch options and breakfast options (I get healthy lunch as part of my work, so it's often just lunch for DP)
Maybe start by planning two or three nights a week? It sounds like you know how to cook from before, so that's one less hurdle. As for motivation, think about not just the health benefits, but the huge amounts of money you will save! We save so much money by cooking most of our meals.
First of all: hugs. I know how hard it is to be a working mom with a little baby. Some nights I'm just way too exhausted to think about food. I agree that changing everything at once will be hard. DH and I have been incrementally changing our eating habits for the last 15 years!
This really stood out to me. I know that a lot of moms do meal planning that's very organized and extensive, but I've just never been able to pull that off. But, if you're having grocery store brain freeze like this, you definitely need to come up with some strategies to counteract it and a little planning could go a long way! I don't know if you have an iPhone, but if you do, you can use cozi.com to keep track of a grocery list and then pull it up when you're at the grocery store. Also, it will help to have several go-to recipes that are your standards for when you can't think of anything else. When I get brain freeze at the grocery store, you can bet that my family is having chili!
Another strategy I use is to always have quick-to-thaw proteins in the fridge. A piece of salmon, boneless breast of chicken, or boneless pork chops can be thawed in a cool water bath in a very short period of time. It's part of keeping a stocked pantry so that when you are confronted with that what-to-cook-for-dinner horror, you have something you can do. I also always have my favorite spices on hand, brown rice, olive and coconut oil, butter, a pasta, a some veggies in the crisper. We also usually have a bag of frozen peas in the fridge and a can of tuna fish in the cupboard.
stir fry is always on our weekly menu because its quick and easy. W ebuy the packaged stuff from costco so all our broccoli is cut, our carrots are baby carrots all i really have to cut is the celery, onions, mushrooms which is quick. throw it all in a skillet and you are good to go.
If you need a sauce, use some chicken broth add some cheese dinner is served.
I even sometimes boil up some penne which takes longer than all the veggies steaming and throw it all into a pot.
Family loves it everytime and its super quick.
And my husband works graveyards and we have a 6month old...
Also try slow cooker!! u can do that all day.
i make chilli, soups, pulled pork, spaghetti sauce u name it u can make it in the slow cooker...
good luck hope this helps someone!
I just gotta say, getting a few *new* kitchen gadgets can inspire. I would like to recommend a Wok. My new bff. How does that pan Do That?? crispy tender veggies....it's so cool! (and simple) So ya, I second the stir fry idea! Plus you can do anything in it like sauces. I also like to browse the inter web for recipe idea's. Soups and lasagnas are simple and fun. Leftovers are there, that helps. You can do it, it'll be great! I have been there for sure! but now I'm finding after a long hard day at work I really enjoy the cooking process....calming I guess.
I know how easy it is to order takeout when you're hungry and don't know what to make for dinner. The number one thing that helps me is to plan dinner for the week. It takes all of 5 minutes to sit down and think about dinners that I already know how to make (so I don't have to deal with recipes). I mix it up so that we don't have chicken 3 nights in a row, but otherwise I don't do a ton of nutritional planning. In my head (or make a list if you need to) I have a catalog of about 20 different easy dinners that we all enjoy and I rotate them, plan to eat out some nights and plan to have a leftover night to clean out the fridge. I usually plan to cook 5 meal a week and either eat leftovers or eat out the other 2 nights. I keep it loose so that when I go to the grocery store I can buy what looks good - for example I might plan a roasted chicken and "vegetables" so that when I am at the store I can choose the veggies that look appealing at the time. I am not a micro-manager that way, I like options!
I agree that you need to ease into this. I find that the more I eat out the less I want to cook. If I commit to one week of cooking I get rolling on cooking and do much better. I always allow myself the choice to get takeout if I just don't feel like cooking - and honestly, its less about the cooking than it is about the cleaning up afterward!
You can do it!! Hugs to you, you will be setting such a great example for your DD by cooking for your family.