Real Food Makeover- The “W” Family, Part 2
Continuing on from the first installment of this week’s Real Food Makeover…
What to Buy, Where to Buy It
One fantastic thing that the “W’s” mentioned is that there is a an enthusiastic local foods movement in their area, including a co-op, farmer’s markets and CSAs. I think that the co-op would be an excellent starting place.
Last time I talked about creating a kitchen binder, including a grocery checklist. During mom’s times of meal planning, she will be able to check off needed items on this list, as well as hopefully getting into the habit of quickly using it to check off things whenever she notices that something is running out. Once a month, maybe during her Sunday afternoon planning, she can use this list to put together a co-op monthly order, which will allow her to start buying some foods of better quality at affordable prices.
One of the easiest ways to instantly improve the way that anyone eats is to simply replace certain foods that they buy with similar foods of better quality. Here are some particular examples for the “W” family:
- Replace current bread with varieties that are either sprouted grain or actual sourdough (not just the white bread that tastes like sourdough- to know if something is truly sourdough, it should have only ingredients like flour, water, sourdough starter, salt, etc.)
- Replace white/brown sugar with an unrefined alternative, like Sucanat or Rapadura. Honey is the perfect sweetener for things like oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, etc.
- Replace organic milk with raw, grass-fed milk if it is available (here are some raw milk sources for GA, where they live)
- Replace meat with grass-fed beef and free-range poultry (look for local farms near their home either at Eat Wild or Local Harvest)
It would be best to replace boxed cereal ultimately, but in the meantime, she can replace what they currently eat with some better choices while making baby steps. Cereals with high sugar content and puffed grains are among the worst. Avoid anything with hydrogenated oils (even partially hydrogenated) and high fructose corn syrup. A couple of brands that are better are Barbara’s (but avoid the Puffins- they all have puffed grains), and Nature’s Path (they have lots of great flake cereals and sell bulk size Eco Pacs).
Don’t try to do these all at once- replace one food or group of foods per month, until you’ve gradually replaced them all. I offered packaged cereal suggestions because I understand that it’s hard to go from using convenience foods for breakfast to suddenly making everything all the time. Little by little is the best way to make changes.
Image by musicfanatic29
Increasing Homemade Foods and Vegetables:
I think that the easiest way to do this is by incorporating two things into “D”s weekly schedule:
- A portion of time (perhaps during naps or if the children watch any videos) each week that is set aside for food prep. Use the time to make muffins and granola bars, chop veggies and fruit, soak beans, make a meal ahead of time, etc. Anything that makes meals go faster and easier the rest of the week. Even 1-2 hours will make such a huge difference!
- One or two things that she prepares each week can be doubled or tripled. For example, if she is going to make muffins for breakfast one morning, make a double or triple batch that can finish baking while the family eats/cleans up, so that there are extra muffins to be eaten as snacks or food-on-the-run later in the week. One night a week, while making dinner, double the recipe and put an entire meal in the freeze. This means there is one night that dinner takes barely any prep time, and the extra time it takes to make two meals instead of one is fairly negligible.
I think that the other important area for “D” is to learn to make more veggies. It would be fantastic to set a goal of:
- 1 salad per week
- 1 vegetable minimum per night, as a simple side or as part of a stir-fry or casserole.
- Chop one container of easy to snack on veggies each week, to be consumed with lunches or as snacks throughout the week
Very shortly, I will be posting about how to cook a variety of vegetables and some simple side dish recipes to help you incorporate them into your dinners more easily.
A Sample Weekly Meal Plan
(Including lots of recipe links and specific ideas!)
- (Soaked) Oatmeal with milk/cream, honey, dried or fresh fruit, nuts, etc.
- Smoothie with greens and homemade muffins
- Eggs (scrambled, fried, omelet) with sprouted/sourdough toast
- Fruit and yogurt (with nuts or homemade granola, if desired)
- (Soaked) Oatmeal
- Smoothie with greens and cereal (Yes, even boxed cereal, because we’re baby-stepping still! But see the discussion about types/brands above)
- Baked oatmeal
*Note that the two smoothie with greens links go to different recipes.
Image by sweetonveg
- Sandwiches (sprouted/sourdough bread with cheese, deli meat, lettuce/veggies, etc.) and fruit of choice
- Leftovers from dinner
- Quesadillas (with some type of protein- beans, leftover meat, hard boiled eggs), guac or salsa and carrot sticks. (If available, sprouted grain tortillas are the best.)
- Soup (lentil veggie, or homemade tomato) with fruit of choice
- Sandwiches (try getting adventurous and add some fresh sprouts or something different like salmon melts!). Here are some fun sandwich variations for inspiration.
- Leftovers from dinner
- Homemade Mac&Cheese with raw cucumbers and peppers on the side (try this ranch dressing recipe)
I’ve created theme nights, to help make meal planning easier and to ensure more of a good variety of different foods over the course of the week.
- Monday (Soup/Stew)– Beezie’s Black Bean Soup (from allrecipes.com– having trouble with their site today to get the link), Cream of Tomato Soup or Spud Special Soup, served with green salad and bread.
- Tuesday (Fish/Seafood)– Baked salmon with Spinach Rice Casserole, Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Cauliflower (add tuna or salmon) with carrots cooked in butter and honey, or for a quick dinner, Salmon/Tuna Melts with raw veggies and dip
- Wednesday (Beef/Chicken)– Piled High Chicken Potpie, Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and broccoli salad, Roast Beef in the crockpot with potatoes and carrots and homemade biscuits, Chicken Divan
- Thursday (Vegetarian)– Apple Curry over brown rice, Lentils and Rice Casserole with steamed broccoli or cauliflower, or Indonesian Rice with Peanut Coconut Sauce.
- Friday (Pizza)– Homemade pizza or Calzones (a current favorite of the “W’s”). Try this stromboli for a delicious, homemade pizza alternative. Serve with coleslaw, Greek Salad or green salad.
- Saturday (Quick & Easy)– Breakfast for dinner (pancakes with fruit, eggs and toast, smoothies, etc.), leftover buffet, or simple fried rice, wrap sandwiches (meat, cheese, veggies, mayo), or Taco Salad.
- Sunday (Pasta)– Lasagna, Spaghetti with tomato sauce (our favorite sauce recipe), or Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.
- Homemade popcorn (with butter, sea salt, or nutritional yeast if you’re brave!)
- Simple veggie platter- Any of carrots, snow peas, cucumbers, pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower pieces. Nice with a quick homemade dip.
- Fruit- Any fresh fruit, like oranges or mandarins, apples, bananas, grapes, melon slices, etc.
- Homemade granola bars (this granola bar recipe looks good, too)
- Smoothies (a few faves- Peanut Butter Smoothies, Raspberry Pina Colada, and Orange Creamsicle)
- Homemade muffins (from the double batch you made for breakfast!)
- Hummus and whole-grain crackers
- Occasional Kettle chips or organic corn chips
- Good dark chocolate. Infinitely better than a candy bar, in every possible way. 🙂
- Fruit bars for the kids- if available, get organic ones or some with only fruit/lemon juice in them. Otherwise, the Sun-Rype brand is pretty good.
- Dried fruits and nuts/seeds. Make your own trail mix by combining your favorites and keep a container in the cupboard or even on the counter for snacking.
Image by naturalmom
- Add cod liver oil for all family members. This provides good fats that they’re not getting enough of, vitamins A and D for children’s development and also Vitamin D for better immunity. It may also likely help with skin issues. Though pricey, I love the brand Green Pastures.
- Add smoothies a few times a week. Making them berry based adds lots of antioxidants to the diet, and more importantly, try adding in greens. Start with something really palatable, like Greens+ powder (from any health food store) or simply fresh spinach or kale leaves. See the recipes above in the Breakfast section.
- Everyone could probably use to take some probiotics for a season, since they do tend to eat heavy on the carbs. Add more yogurt to the diet (but the good sour stuff, not the sugary, flavored kind). Since they like salty and crunchy snacks, what about good dill pickles like Bubbie’s for more beneficial bacteria?
- Add coconut oil as a good fat. This will also help mom to stay full and work towards a bit of weight loss. Try a recipe like these Peppermint Coconut Patties to snack on when hungry, as a way to fill up and stay full longer.
Even More Resources…
Just to help the “W” family with applying these suggestions to their lives, they will be receiving:
- A copy of my ebook, Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time
- A 1 year Print Membership from ListPlanIt, to aid them in getting organized in the kitchen, with meal planning and with grocery shopping. Thanks, ListPlanIt!
Do you see yourself in the suggestions for this makeover? Any tips that you will be taking away to try in your own home?
I’m not sure if something is wrong with your feed, but I haven’t gotten any of your posts in my google reader since the March forum highlights. I tried un-subscribing and then resubscribing and am still not getting your recent posts. Just thought you’d like to know so you can see if there is a problem. 🙂
.-= Emily @ Live Renewed´s last blog ..Creating Routine with Little Ones =-.
@Emily @ Live Renewed, Thanks Emily. There is a problem, and I am working to solve it. I’ll post soon!
This is fabulous! Anyone and everyone can take these wonderful suggestions, links, recipies, and simple meal plans away from this series. What an amount of work, but you’reblessing so many more people than just the W family! Thanks!!
.-= Sarah M´s last blog ..Virtual Book Club: The River of Doubt By Candice Millard =-.
@Sarah M, Thank you, Sarah! I am so glad to know that what I’ve put together will serve other families as well! 🙂
Thanks for all the wonderful recipe links! I have been meaning to try coconut oil for awhile now, but I need to save up some money to buy some good stuff. I started taking cod liver oil a few months ago. Do you have any tips on getting little ones to take it. Do you mix it with something? i have the peppermint flavored stuff which tastes great, but the oily texture is what bothers me the most. I don’t want to scare off my 3-year-old or my 1-year-old (or my husband) 🙂
BTW – My blog reader also has not had updates for your site since the March forum highlights.
@Sheri, We mostly use coconut oil in regular recipes- when I’m frying eggs, in my baking, etc. My kids do love that peppermint pattie recipe, for sure! It can also be snuck into a thick fruit smoothie and you don’t really notice it at all.
Oh wait… I think you’re talking about getting cod liver oil into little ones, right? I just get the flavored ones and give it to mine on a spoon. They’re pretty good about taking it. I call it their special “fishy oil”. Sometimes I give a couple chocolate chips or raisins afterwords as a little treat. My daughter likes to take a swig of water after hers. Guess they don’t mind the texture?
My hubby, on the other hand, hates the texture. Really hates it. He and I take Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil capsules, with the orange flavor. There is a brief taste of fishiness in your mouth right before your swallow, but that’s it. No fishy burps with this stuff (yay!). I don’t mind the texture of the taking the oil on a spoon myself, but he likes it better this way so it’s easier for us to both take it in capsules.
And thanks for letting me know about your blog reader. I’m aware of the problem and am definitely working on it!
Hey, Stephanie … I’m in GA, too. If the “W” family is interested, please feel free to share my email address with them. I’m not sure where in GA they are, but sometimes it’s nice to have other local folks who are interested in the same things (and still working on making changes, too!).
This is so great–and realistic, too! I’m actually in a bookstore with wifi now. I told DH that I needed a few hours to myself away from the house to go over the recipes here and revamp our food intake in time for spring/summer after reading this.
This is just amazing–thank you SO MUCH for this makeover for our family!!! And the copy of your ebook and the ListPlanIt membership–we are so blessed. I feel like we have some wonderful (and doable) baby steps to make in improving our eating, organization and health. I can’t wait to get started doing, and reading up on many of the links provided. We have much to learn but it feels great to have some direction at last!
Thank you so much–we’ll be in touch about how we are doing! And with questions, I’m sure. 🙂
Can’t wait to read about the other families too.
Thank you Stephanie for the recipe links to my site!! 🙂
This is a wonderful idea, by the way!
.-= Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers´s last blog ..2010 Ultimate Blog Party! Exclusive Interview + a Giveaway! =-.
This is a totally random question, but why are puffed grains the worst??
.-= Meghan´s last blog .."Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness…" =-.
I will definitely try to add all these babysteps to my family. I love these kind of things where exact tips are givenb
.-= Efka´s last blog .. =-.
Hi Stephanie, I’m new to your blog (love it, by the way!) and haven’t yet read everything. In this post you mentioned that puffed grains should be avoided. I’ve never heard/read this before and was wondering why. Thanks!
@Gloria Meyer, This is the article where I first read about it and I think it gives a really good explanation:
Thanks so much for the informaiton. Very interesting.
Thanks so much for the information. Very interesting.