On January 4th, the kids and I started a new plan for meal planning and snacks. I am working with Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietary nutritionist to eliminate or limit the number of sugary snacks we consume within a two week time frame. My Sunday ritual is a trip to the grocery store to normally buy our staples for the week. I like convenient and quick in terms of meal planning so I will do instant rice (and not because I am not schooled on cooking a big pot of Carolina rice) with no shame. The grocery cart is always filled with snacks such as chips, pretzels, cookies, ice cream, applesauce but lacking in produce and fruits. My ideal fruit selection for the kids is either applesauce or drinkable yogurt.
After getting the email from the nutritionist on some meal planning ideas that consisted of make ahead recipes in a crock pot and freeze or make ahead and freeze recipes. I literally thought I was going to have an anxiety attack in the supermarket on Saturday trying to organize a grocery list that consisted of more fruits and vegetables minus the sugary snacks. I never realized how much sugar we consume on a weekly basis without looking at labels. Sugar is hidden in everything so reading labels is definitely a must do when shopping to make good choices.
I am also curious to see if cutting back on certain items will decrease or increase my weekly grocery bill. On a weekly basis I can spend anywhere from $40 to $75 a week each month. My plan this week was to get rid of most of our sugary snacks already in the house and replace with suggestions Dawn gave us for healthy snacks of produce and protein. Here are some suggestions provided:
Apple (1) & almonds (10)
Celery (4 stalks) & peanut butter (1.5 tablespoons)
Peach (1) & low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup)
Grapes (1/2 cup) & soynuts (1/4 cup) [Freeze grapes for refreshing treat]
Carrots (1 cup) & hummus (4 tablespoons)
Melon (3/4 cup) & cheese (1-ounce wedge)
Berries (1/2 cup) & low-fat plain yogurt (6 ounces)
Cucumber (1 cup) & tuna (3 ounces with 1 tablespoon light mayo)
Cherry tomatoes (1 cup) & mozzarella cheese stick (1)
Orange (1) & pistachios (30, in shell)
Pear (small) & cheddar cheese stick (1)
Mango (1/2 cup) & peanuts (10, in shell)
Watermelon (1 cup) & turkey jerky (1 stick)
Cherries (1 cup) & cocoa almonds (100 cal pack; Emerald brand)
I realized that my snacking at night is more emotional eating than really the need for a snack. Our breakfast on Day 1 was plain oatmeal for myself and DD and we survived. I am use to eating plain oatmeal however the kids insist on adding a little brown sugar. My tween on the other hand wanted no parts of plain oatmeal so he added brown sugar. I planned our dinner for Saturday and Sunday. Beef tacos on Saturday and Lasagna with ground turkey for Sunday dinner. Planning ahead made my Sunday stress free. I have to say it is a challenge to reprogram yourself to make changes quickly. My Saturday night snack consisted of one chocolate covered pretzel, it was so hard to resist.
In addition to this 2 week makeover I started working out with cardio and weights during my 12 day holiday work break. Although this has been a hurdle to climb I will say I am encouraged to grab more fruit. This is a step in the right direction for changing our eating habits. Now the kids are a different story, my DD told me why did we have to participate? I was thinking the same thing however if I teach them now they will reap the benefits down the road. My tween actually enjoyed unsweetened applesauce and drinking water is not a huge ordeal.
My kids are not the biggest fans of leftovers so I will need to be very creative with meal time.