How do approach meal time in your family? Do you cook from scratch and menu plan? Do you follow a no or low sugar diet?
We are heading into week 3 of the 28 Day Low Sugar Lifestyle Program and while I had hoped to share with you how we are going much sooner, things have been fairly chaotic on the home front with my trip to Melbourne this week and in-laws visiting from interstate.
I’ve been doing my best to share snippets of some of the meals we have been enjoying over on Instagram and I’m really enjoying the supportive Facebook community for the program.
What I wasn’t initially enjoying was trying to convince my foodie and sweet tooth family that this wasn’t the end of the world as we know it. I think they were fearing some extreme diet and a lot of food they wouldn’t be able to stomach.
When I took hubby shopping that first week to stock the pantry for the challenge this was his reply….
Is this for some inner city urbanite that lives near a gourmet deli?
For the most part, you can source all of the ingredients from your local supermarket but finding the ingredients if you are new to the health food side of things, especially when they are not all in the once place/aisle can be a bit of an adventure and have you scratching your head. There are packaged items on your shopping list, they just look a little different and a lot healthier.
Even with the basics there is a lot of variety to choose from these days and knowing how to read a label and look for hidden ingredients especially where sugar is concerned is a huge help.
Take the rather versatile quinoa, I had no idea
how to pronounce it just how many types were available or that they came in flakes, let alone just how many recipes you can use quinoa in. Nut butters are the next eye opener but after having tasted a made fresh on the spot almond butter at a local health food store, there’s no going back for me. It’s just too good.
I’m going to be honest here and admit…. for someone who menu planning doesn’t come natural to, like hubby, I was finding the initial process a little overwhelming. Add to that a number of foods that are foreign to my children, like quinoa and several so-called staples that we don’t normally stock, meant our first weekly shop was a lot more than what we normally spend.
Of course once your pantry is stocked it’s more my kind of around the outside shopping with lots of fresh produce.
Even still, all this had me feeling a touch nervous about just how well this program would actually work for our family as a whole but I kept coming back to this……
No need for Paleo Perfection or Quit Sugar extremes… you need easy, healthy but really tasty ideas and important nutritional knowledge. You need to purchase items at your local Woolworths or local supermarket with affordable pricing. I know you…. you’re busy but want to get yourself and your children healthy…I am that same person!
Michele Chevalley Hedge (28 Day Low Sugar Lifestyle Program)
For me, for what I’ve seen of the program so far, it is all kinds of fantastic. All of the foods I know I enjoy and need to eat but struggle to know where to start, especially when it’s only me eating them. So I tend to just stick to boring salads and basically get bored with things. This program is taking my basic healthy food up a notch and adding the much needed spice factor to help keep things interesting and me inspired. Variety is the spice of life.. right?!
While two out of our three girls don’t have that bad a diet, it’s all the hidden sugars in foods that are alarming and which are making this exercise interesting. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the program to our girls in the first place and just made the small adjustments but I was keen after having seen That Sugar Film, to educate them along the way.
Especially my eldest, who has a part-time (after school) job at a take away store and is approaching stressful year 11 exams. I’ve suspected for a little while that her diet outside the home wasn’t as good as it should be. I’ve done all I can to control and change this but in the end as a mother of a teen, who earns their own money, what can you do?!
Perhaps sitting her down and showing her That Sugar Film might help but I doubt it. Can you remember what you were like with your parents at that age (16/17)? I know for a fact, there would have been no telling me.
My main concerns going into the program:
My hubby has always liked his whiter than white and now so do my girls, it’s all they’ve known and they won’t come at my gluten free or grain bread, although they are more than a bit partial when it comes to sour dough bread. As they generally eat their greens and have a relatively healthy diet otherwise, I haven’t made an effort over the years to change this.
Looking at the nutritional panel on most breads, I almost want to give up the stuff altogether but so far we have managed to find a soy and linseed that suits everyone but our eldest who has braces and doesn’t do well with seeds. For her, it’s a healthy whole grain which she is still warming too.
More than a few of the muffin and snack recipes include banana, something I can’t seem to tolerate and probably as a result the majority of my family don’t like bananas.
We’ve tried a few alternatives like apples and blueberries but as the muffins are gluten free and fairly dry to start with, it has been a bit of trial and error getting the right mix. There are so many other alternatives available though and a gorgeous online community willing to offer substitute suggestions and support.
It wouldn’t matter how you serve this or what variety you choose to use, I’m the only one in the house that actually likes the stuff. I must give my entire family bonus points for at least attempting to try the salad and the chicken nuggets that were coated in the quinoa but sadly introducing this is going to take some time.
I absolutely love the stuff not just for the taste but the health benefits but for some it’s an acquired taste and it’s just not for everyone. I think the trick here is to introduce coconut in a slow and subtle way starting with the breakfast muffins and switching to coconut oil for a lot of the cooking side of things.
MENU PLANNING / FOLLOWING A RECIPE / CONVENIENCE
I’m not sure why but as a family, we’ve never been great in this department. My hubby did vow to cook, clean and slave after me (yes I may be a princess) and when he is at home, he does the majority of the cooking. He has never been one for forward planning though and tends to cook how he feels and by what’s in front of him at the time.
He also tends to skim a recipe and make it up as he goes along. He has always been like this. Thankfully most of the time, the food is at least edible but there is a lot of cutting corners and not so healthy convenience food in the mix. While this approach is more cooking from scratch and following recipes while you get a feel for new things.
If this entire exercise has taught me anything, it’s that I really need to take more control of the menu planning and shopping in the first place and get back to cooking from scratch. I need to stop cutting corners for convenience starting with prepackaged sauces full of hidden sugars. I’m sure there will be less stressing over menu plans and getting recipes right as this new approach to a healthier and low sugar lifestyle continues to get easier over time.
Inspired by how well the program is working and knowing I live in a house full of chocoholics, I attended a raw chocolate workshop over the weekend with Roar Superfoods. You really should head back tomorrow for the mouth watering results.
Sharing the social media love with Essentially Jess for #IBOT