Congratulations! You are embarking on the first of 10 challenges to help unprocess you and your family. I know this can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? How will you get your whole family to cooperate? What if the kids don’t like what you make? We’ve been there. Some days we’re still there.
So we didn’t want to start this challenge by immediately depriving you of something, or cleaning out the fridge of all processed foods and spending hundreds of dollars replacing it all or making you try products you’ve never heard of.
We’re going to do this in stages and with each passing week it will become easier, and before you know it your pantry will be turning from processed to “un”processsed.
This week we are going to ADD something. Your first challenge is to:
Add 2 fruits or vegetables to each meal
The feedback I am getting from people is centering around where to start when cutting out processed foods. And I have to admit it can seem overwhelming, especially when you have small children like I do. So the first thing I want you to focus on this week is to ADD something to your daily plates, and that is fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. Yes, they can be more expensive. If it’s not in your budget at this time to go completely organic with fruits and veggies then I encourage you to start here with The Dirty Dozen.
How will you get 2 fruits or veggies into each meal? It’s simple! First, think of it as replacing say your chips with your sandwich for lunch or french fries with your burger. Instead of grabbing the chips when you get your sandwich, grab some fruit instead. Instead of the fries, have a side salad. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:
- Omelets are a great way to get some veggies in you. Add some mushrooms, onions, peppers. Top it with some salsa and have a half a grapefruit or melon on the side.
- Granola is my new best friend (if you haven’t figured that out already!!). I just LOVE this stuff. You can have it with milk for cereal or put it on your favorite organic yogurt. Click here for my homemade granola recipe
- Smoothies are another one of my favs. I have a Nutri Bullet every morning that has spinach, kale, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. It’s endless what you can put in a smoothie. Click here for my Immunity Boosting Smoothie and Strawberry Banana Smoothie recipes.
- Have kids? No problem … add bananas or strawberries to their cereal, blueberries or bananas to pancakes
- Frittatas are another great way to add veggies. You can make one on Sunday and have leftovers Mon or even bring it for lunch
- I have a huge salad almost every day for lunch. Again, like smoothies, the choices are endless. Spinach, all types of lettuce (no iceberg it has no nutritional value), broccoli, carrots, chick peas, tomatoes. (We will discuss dressings later on)
- Soups are also a bottomless pit when it comes to veggies. Homemade chicken noodle soup in a thermos on a cold winters day would warm up any kid at the lunch table! Or try my Minestrone soup or Cabbage soup loaded with fresh veggies!
- Pack your child some homemade applesauce
- For dinner now what I do is make more than one veggie. Even as a kid if my mom put just peas on the table (which I still hate btw) I wouldn’t get a vegetable that night. Also, keep in mind just peas in a bowl don’t really entice my kids but if they are in a chicken pot pie they’ll eat them. Why? Well for starters you can’t see them as vividly as plain peas on a plate and secondly you can’t taste them!! So I generally try and serve more than one veggie at each meal
- Stir fries incorporate a lot of veggies. Learn something from the Japanese. Small portion on meat, and starch and heavy on the veggies
- Shepherds Pie and Chicken pot pie can be loaded with fresh veggies too. Just think carrots, peas, corn, etc
- Throw some spinach in your lasagna
- Add vegetables like carrots and cauliflower to your spaghetti sauce. Just puree it and they’ll never know
I know a main concern a lot of you have are your kids. I know …. I have them too and my daughter used to eat everything and I mean EVERYTHING as a baby. We thought we hit a home run with her! But as she gets older she gets pickier. Kids can be resistant to all-of-a-sudden change. So gradual is the key with them.
This is what I did….
- I didn’t take something away at first…… I added to which is why I wanted to start you here too. I let them have their goldfish in their lunchbox, but added carrots and dip or I added a fruit cup. And eventually I started putting LESS goldfish in the bag and MORE mandarin oranges. Get it? If you just take the chips or goldfish away they will notice it and no doubt make your efforts more challenging. So gradual is the key.
- Another thing we did last year was we planted a garden and the kids helped. We let them pick whatever they wanted to plant and we planted it. The kids were thrilled when we picked things from our garden to use in our dinners.
- And lastly, let them help you in the kitchen. This is going to be a process. It’s not going to happen overnight. Let them be part of the changes and go shopping with you and pick out their favorite fruits or vegetables. They’ll be more likely to eat them if they help make the choice rather than having it forced on them.
Good luck with week one and don’t be afraid to try new fruits or veggies this week!