Did I tell you we have some new family eating rules? No fast food. No processed snacks in the house, unless they're deemed "healthy enough" by the food police (ie Mommy and Daddy). That means whole-wheat goldfish are in, but fruit snacks are out. Home cook every meal. Pack every lunch. Bring our own snacks when we go out. The only exceptions are 1) Tommy can have the school hot lunch whenever he wants because their portions are small 2) David can buy Subway when he gets stuck at work longer than expected 3) I still do my once-a-week breakfast with a good book at Flying Star and 4) the whole family gets to eats out together once a week.
I didn't mention it when we started this in March because blogging about it is a sure way to jinx such a plan. We've been at it for about 6 weeks now, and it's getting easier. We didn't eat that much junk before, as evidenced by the boys' extreme fondness for fruits and vegetables. I've just NEVER in my life cooked this much. I like to cook, but tend to think I deserve a break or reward after cooking healthy meals two or three days in a row. Eating every lunch at home is a big change for Charlie and me. Packing every lunch for David is a big change. Not being able to toss the boys into the car and head out for the day without planning ahead and packing snacks and lunches is a big change. Having to cook on the weekends is a big change. I now have a seven day work week instead of a taking the whole weekend off. Amazingly, everybody's a lot less grumpy by the end of the weekend, probably because we're eating better over the weekend now.
We're not 100% successful. I don't think Tommy's had McDonald's in weeks. Charlie has had the occasional Happy Meal, because I'm not a saint, but at least he just eats a couple of bites and then runs off to play with the toy. Coming home for lunch every day is the hardest for me. We're doing great at staying home and cooking on the weekends, because David's very goal-oriented (understatement of the year.) The boys didn't even notice the change in groceries, because I've always been pretty good about offering healthy snacks...to the boys...what I offered myself is another story. Charlie's gotten really into it at the grocery store. He still asks for marshmallows and fruit snacks (the boy has a sweet tooth) but doesn't really argue when I say those things aren't healthy. I can usually find something to say "yes" to in the grocery store so he still feels like he gets to choose a treat.
The healthiest I ever ate was when I was eating in the cafeteria in the college dorms. I didn't eat snacks and I didn't eat out for weeks at a time because all the cafeteria food was "free". That's kind of what we're going for here, except I'm the cafeteria lady planning all those balanced meals and freshly baked desserts.
It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. The best unanticipated benefit is that we're spending a lot less money on eating out. The worst unanticipated change is that I now have to go to the grocery store two or three times a week. We go through an amazing amount of produce and dairy. I can stock the pantry and freezer with ingredients for dinner, but have to buy the same fresh stuff in vast quantities again and again and again. It's still cheaper than eating out though.
Here's to health!