good eats, real food, whole food lifestyle

Five simple ways to cleanup your weekly meal plan

A few years ago my Facebook profile read, “family CEO, cook, chauffeur, cleaner, party planner, yoga enthusiast and volunteer.” I was part-time communicator and a full-time mom. Life was busy, messy and most of all…fun.

Fast-forward five years and my profile, if written honestly, would’ve read “full-time communicator, ATM, takeout queen, family cryer, extra-curricular chauffeur, wanna-be volunteer, and armchair chef.”

Gone were the simple days of preparing meals at home, baking homemade muffins after school or discussing the day over dinner. Ordering takeout or picking up a meal on the way to the next activity became the daily norm.

There’s no denying that the cost of a takeout lifestyle for a family of four was outrageous, but the health ramifications and the example set for my children carried a far greater weight. I knew we had to make a change when I asked my seven-year-old, “What are whole foods?” Here’s her response:

I can cook— that was never the problem— but my culinary toolkit did not include healthy 30-minute meals suitable for the weekly dinner rotation. My biggest concern, what could I prepare that my extremely picky first-born would actually eat? Should I buy organic? When would I find time to cook with a busy career and activities every night? Could I really hit reverse on our drive-through lifestyle?

I met with a naturopath and decided to cut the gimmicks and the timelines. Instead, I would focus on a simple whole foods – most of the time—with five rules the entire family could adopt:

  1. Limit healthy takeout to once a week
  2. Purchase a weekly fruit and vegetable box —and use it!
  3. Say no to soda…most of the time
  4. Replace margarine with butter
  5. Read labels: If you can’t read it – don’t eat it!

It’s been six months since we began our whole foods journey –  I’m now a full-time mom and part-time communicator. I collect cookbooks, subscribe to a weekly produce box and pine over beautiful meals; however, I am still searching for that perfect weekly meal plan that everyone will enjoy, and the kids (and sometimes the parents) still negotiate for drive-through for our weekly takeout.

Yet, I realized just how far we’ve travelled. During a recent birthday party, a child asked for a soda. I immediately responded, “We don’t drink soda in our house. Can I get you water, juice or milk?” As soon as the words came out of my mouth I thought, “God bless your heart…you are now one of those prissy, proper – no lollipop for you – moms.”

And while I’m not a prissy, proper mom by any stretch, I now know that small steps work work best for my family. We are on our way to a fresh, whole foods lifestyle – most of the time. Next up – reducing sugar. Wish us luck…and send sugar-free recipes, PLEASE!