Friday, September 30, 2011

Making Healthy Choices

We’ve made a few changes around the Hamilton household recently.  They really are just little things, but we are enjoying the new and I thought I would share.  They are mostly diet changes.  We didn’t eat bad things before, but things were probably not quite as balanced as they should have been.

I suppose my first indicator came when Elaine started asking for cookies all the time.  Or maybe when she walked out of the kitchen with a bag of potato chips before breakfast.  And I confess that my pregnancy cravings were not healthy.  And Elaine got to indulge in everything that I did when I was expecting Nolan. 

Most days Ben dashes out the door without breakfast, or with just a piece of toast.  And he frequently reminds me that diabetes runs in his family so we should be careful with the sugar. 

I used to make a batch of cookies every week.  I would set some aside for Ben’s lunches and Elaine and I (and sometimes Ben) would help to eat the rest of them.  Too many cookies.  I know, I know!  Duh, right?

Elaine has not been good about eating her veggies and fruit.  She doesn’t chew the fruit well, and she hates bananas which are soft.  Veggies at dinner were a fight every night.  It was time to make some changes!

We started off by making smoothies for breakfast several days a week.  I buy the markdown fruit and freeze it so it’s easy to grab and nothing goes to waste.  It’s inexpensive, too.  I use plain Greek yogurt in the smoothies.  I don’t care for Greek yogurt by itself, but in a smoothie I can’t tell the difference.  It’s loaded with protein.  We’ve been creating our own concoctions, as well as pulling some recipes from Money Saving Mom.  Our favorites are Orange Crème Smoothies, and Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothies (it really is delicious!).

Fruit for SmoothiesIf you slice your fruit and freeze it on a cookie sheet before placing it in freezer bags, it won’t stick together and you can pull out just a few pieces very easily!

We cut out the cookies completely.  In the last month or so I have only made two batches, and one of them was a half batch.  The other ones I shared with neighbors and friends.  We’re having cheese sticks, carrots & celery, and Kashi granola bars for snacks. 

We used to drink soda quite often.  It was another pregnancy craving.  Now we always have a pitcher of tea in the fridge.  Soda isn’t even a weekly treat, much less daily treat!  I’m trying to trade my coffee for tea, but I haven’t quite succeeded at that one yet!

Elaine is doing much better at eating her vegetables, and she loves to have “cheese” for her snack.

I also started menu planning again.  I had fallen off the bandwagon this summer after Nolan’s birth.  Money Saving Mom just released a set of customizable printable menu sheets.  I use the seven day planner and hang it on the fridge.  Each morning I pick which meal I want to make for dinner and check it off.  It’s helped me to plan breakfasts too. I used to just grab whatever, and it usually ended up being cold cereal.  Now we enjoy a better variety.

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