Do you ever get in a food slump and find yourself cooking and eating the same thing week after week? We are! Couple that with multiple friends encouraging us to buy supplements because "surely no one gets enough recommended fruits and vegetables" and my slump has peaked. Time to improve!
|Err... no, thanks.|
Rather than spend $120/month for dry capsules, this summer my family and I are going to try 26 diverse healthy recipes in 13 weeks costing only two hours per week and adding nearly nothing to our regular food bill, plus we will reap the benefits of the real whole foods. Join us!
|I don't know what this is, but it sure looks yummy... let's begin!|
- Start with a healthy recipe website. I love the American Council on Exercise Kid-Friendly recipe database which is also conveniently alphabetically sorted for your two letters a week (A/B, C/D, E/F, etc). I also love Food Network and Taste of Home healthy sections.
- Plan: Pick a day of the week when you will dedicate two hours total to plan, shop, and prep your meals. Although store ads come out on Wednesday, our least committed day of the week is Tuesday. Tuesday it is!
- Prep: Write down the designated alphabet letters on each week to stay on track. Internet search or have your kids build a list of foods they already enjoy for each letter (Apple, Asparagus, Apricot, Avocado, Bananas, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, Cabbage, Corn, Carrots, etc).
- Commit: When the date comes up, hop on the ACE Kid-Friendly Recipe website and choose your two recipes for the week, such as Apple Cider Chicken and Black Bean Croquettes with Fresh Salsa. Simplify: the prep time should be under one hour and most of the ingredients should be items your family already enjoys.
- Print your recipe: Keep it available on your fridge from the entire week
- Search your pantries to check you have all necessary ingredients and quantities
- Add missing items to your grocery list for your ONE weekly trip to the store
- Note the prep and cook time on the recipe so you can make and eat it during your day
- If you like the recipe: YAY! Make notes on any ingredients changes you'd make next time and store it.
- If you dislike the recipe: Toss the copy in the recycle bin and gear up for the next alphabet letters.
Special Tip: Find only two recipes in advance. Your tastes, needs, and recipe variety will change throughout this challenge and soon your diet will have vastly improved.
- Use your grocery ads to talk about cost vs. nutrient density of various foods with your kids; remember weight when evaluating cost (especially on boxes, bags, and cans vs. whole food per pound).
- Practice reading food labels and comparing ingredients of foods in the store.
- Shop at a new local grower's market and try up to three seasonal items per visit.
- Read comments beneath recipes to learn quick new prep, cooking, and storage techniques.
- Save time by organizing your kitchen by function: such as breakfast prep (bowls, spoons, cups, breakfast items), cooking (saute pans, cutting boards, knives, spatulas, herbs), baking (muffin and cookie sheets, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, parchment paper, cooking spray), and storage (containers, clips, labels, pens, food pantry cans, boxes, bags, and canisters).