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Transforming my household nutrition one step at a time

Transforming nutrition and reducing the amount of processed foods we eat.

 

As a mother of two young children, proper nutrition is always at the top of my agenda. I have attempted, and failed, many times at a transformation in the way my family eats. I could never understand why the attempts I was making were not working, but I was determined to figure out a solution.

After much analyzing I came to the realization that the method I was using, which included disposing of all the processed foods in one clean sweep, was not working and would never work. My new plan of action was to gradually wean my family off of the processed junk we had in our pantry. I would not throw anything away, including the ice cream sandwiches, chips and whatever other delicious treats we possessed. I did make a conscious effort to lesson the amount of treats I was dispersing in bagged lunches and as desserts after dinner. I would allow these treats to naturally run out and just not replace them when they were gone.

Instead of giving a cup of ice cream every night after dinner, it now would include cut up strawberries or a banana, and they were able to choose the type of fruit, because I wanted the children to feel like they were in control. I would eventually switch from ice cream after dinner every night to only cut up fruit with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

To my surprise, they love the change! My 5-year-old son loved helping me cut up our fruits on Sunday afternoons so that we would have fruit for the whole week. This was really working and it felt great.

Over the next several weeks I began creating a manual for how my family was going it eat. I complied a standard grocery list of ONLY unprocessed foods; to my amazement, I was actually spending less at the grocery store than before! What I realized was I had been buying both healthy foods and unhealthy food, which doubled my grocery bill each week. By cutting out the bad foods, I no longer had to play that halfway game between healthy and unhealthy; I had picked a side and I was committed to it.

Now let me just say that the most important thing to me was that my children were able to still enjoy sweets and treats in moderation: I didn't want these kids on a diet, I just wanted them to learn good eating habits from a young age.

We keep some processed foods in the house like microwaved popcorn, and sliced cheese for sandwiches, but all-in-all I'd have to say our processed food intake is cut by about 85 percent.

I feel great about taking control of the foods that I serve my children, and I've even lost a couple pounds along the way. I've found great solutions to easy and quick meals that contain vegetables and protein that my kids love. I make a lot more stir fry than I did in the past, and I'm in love with how easy it is to make. I also created a book with go to recipes I can grab for a quick meal that's not processed.

The empowerment of making a healthy change, and the realistic outlook, is what I believe will sustain this new healthy lifestyle. I would love to hear any advice about how to maintain this healthy path and any recipes!

About this blog: Julianne DeMartino lives in Southwest Connecticut with her two young children. She blogs about issues related to family and motherhood. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Paul Singley March 27, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Nice blog, Julianne. Great to have you on board! It sounds like you have a good plan to sustain healthy eating in your household. This blog is also timely since, apparently, March is national nutrition month. Looking forward to hearing more from you and to hear what our readers have to say about healthy lifestyles in the household.
Christina March 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Although my household only consists of my husband and I, he is my biggest critic & a big fan of processed foods. Fortunately, I control the grocery shopping and cooking so besides not having too much say in what I put on the table, he actually raves about my cooking. The secret he has yet to realize is that it's healthy & delicious. One might say healthy & delicious would tend to sound like an oxymoron, however, if you are committed to making changes to a healthier lifestyle like Julianne and I, eating right goes together like cookies and milk OR in our case fruits and vegetables ;) My main rules we live by: 1.Drink Water -Soda isn't an option, my husband adds Propel Kiwi Straw. Powder mix to add some flavor 2.Healthy Breakfast - not the meal you want to skip, it fuels your day 3.Small Meals - I eat small meals every 3 hrs w/ a snack always at arms reach for when I need it (usually a piece of fruit or handful of almonds- this isn't hard to do for those with a hectic schedule, promise. I work 10 hrs days sometimes Mon-Fri and if I can do it, YOU can) 4. Have A Dinner Plan - When I get to work in the morning, I'm conditioned to think about what's for dinner & whether I need to stop at the grocery store on my way home. 5.Variety For The Week -Fish, Meat, Veggies, make sure these are included in your weekly routine. 6. Fat Free Cool Whip & Fruit is our go to dessert if we crave a sugar fix :) Other than that, it's all about Preparation and Motivation to Succeed, Good Luck!
Peter Garcia March 28, 2012 at 06:48 PM
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