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Resolution to Make Healthier Meals, Month 3

Read the first part of this Resolutions series: Make Healthier Meals: Part 1

WHERE I'M AT:

March is the third month of my New Year’s Resolution to cook healthier, affordable meals for my daughter Beatrice and myself. I wanted to do it in a way that is realistic and sustainable for my life over the long run.

At some point, my New Year’s Resolution became a lifestyle change. I feel like I’ve started some new habits that are now here to stay in my life, even if I forget about my original New Year’s Resolution.

They say it takes 2 weeks to create a new habit. Maybe I’m a slow learner, because I’d argue that for me it takes about two months for something new to feel like a normal part of my routine. In the past week or so many of the changes I’ve been trying to stick to over the past couple months have suddenly clicked. They no longer require as much effort. They’ve become new healthy habits instead of something on my to-do list.

I now turn to the blender when Beatrice and I need a quick healthy snack or something to take on the road. Smoothies used to be something I made a few times a year but now we make some kind of smoothie once or twice a day. Beatrice has started asking me for green smoothies (which sounds like “geen mootie” when she says it, aww) instead of other less-healthy snacks. And these are green smoothies made only from a bit of fresh fruit plus several cups of spinach and romaine. I know I mentioned these miraculous green smoothies in my post last month, but it really blows my mind that she loves them so much.

One of my goals for this month was to become more organized when it came to meal planning and grocery shopping. I wanted to minimize trips to the store and reduce wasted produce that went bad before I could use them. I tried out several meal and grocery-planning apps and my favorites were Cooking Planit and BigOven. They were the easiest to use and I loved how BigOven had a feature to help you use up leftovers. I have added these apps to my Healthy and Cheap Family Eating Pinterest board for you to check out if you’d like.

This month I continued to to try out new, healthy recipes. One of my favorite discoveries was carrot dogs! Carrot dogs are essentially a carrot on a hot dog bun. There’s a simple charring technique used to prepare the carrots that transforms them into a soft, smoky and savory-sweet meal. I would even call them meaty! Top them with some vegan chili and a bit of cheese and I am in heaven! Beatrice absolutely loved them.

This may sound boring, but whole foods have also been a big part of helping me stick to my resolution. I resolved to find low-cost foods that were healthy and quick to prepare. I think sometimes as moms we feel like if we’re not working really hard at preparing the snacks and meals that our kids eat, that we could do better. But the truth is that you often can’t improve upon what nature already made. So I’ve embraced the no-prep beauty of eating whole foods. Beatrice recognizes so many more types of foods now because she eats them in their original form. Foods like avocado, apples, fresh fruit, carrots and hard-boiled eggs are all very portable, ready to go, and fairly inexpensive.

LOOKING FORWARD:

In the next few months I would still like to keep trying new recipes but am loving the fact that I have gathered quite a collection of healthy, fast and cheap recipes. I can start returning to my favorites and modify them to make them healthier. It’s always harder to cook something for the first time and it can be expensive to stock you pantry with spices or staples that you’ve never used before. I feel like I’m past the hardest part.

I’m at a place now where I have fallen into a comfortable new pattern where the new habits feel easy to continue and I have the right tools to keep them going.

Read the first part of this Resolutions series: Make Healthier Meals: Part 1

Images via Brigitte Dale

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