Reader Q&A: How Do I Get My Family To Eat Healthy?

How do I get my family to eat healthy?

Reader Melissa A. sent me an email asking a question that I think most mothers and wives face: How do I get my family to eat healthy?  See what she had to say.

I am on a path to start eating clean but I am having trouble getting my husband and children on board. 

My children are 2 and 3 and would not eat/throw a tantrum for hours if they don’t get their standard terrible toddler food (hot dogs, crackers, tons of sugar loaded processed foods).   I’ve actually tried for over a year to correct their menu just to throw it away in the trash every time.  Since I’m the grocery shopper in the house I have tried to reduce their intake where I can, improving the amounts they receive. 

Our biggest challenge is that my husband feeds them 5 out of 7 dinners as I work an hour away.  He’s not much of a cook/leftovers guy so they almost always eat Take and bake pizza or corn dog nuggets on a daily basis. 

Any words of wisdom?

Thanks so much,
Melissa A.

I know exactly how you feel.  While Ava has always had fairly good eating habits, Tony has not.  My husband had what I considered to be the “typical American diet”.  He is a lover of  meat, fried things, and anything containing the ingredient “partially hydrogenated oil”.

When I started this clean eating journey, he thought I was totally nuts.  He didn’t understand why I didn’t want to eat meat, or that I didn’t want our daughter eating Doritos.  I continued to do what I knew was right.

Tony’s eating habits are changing.

If you ask him, he may still tell you that my eating habits are a little strange, but I know he hears what I’m saying.  I realized that I had gotten through to him when I heard through the grapevine that he got on to someone who was trying to give our daughter excessive amounts of candy.  He explained to the person that we (yes, he said WE!) choose not to give junk like that to Ava and even though I wasn’t there, we stand together (together!!!) on our decision.  He was listening all along!  He made me proud!

So what did I do to get through to him?

In the beginning, I led by example.  I knew he would never just jump on board.  Like most men (sorry guys), I needed to let him decide that it was his idea.  Even though he thought it was all crazy, I ate healthy.  I also explained to him why I was eating the way I was.  Once the weight started falling off, I think he started to notice that it wasn’t a bunch of nonsensical hippie talk.   What I was doing made perfect sense, and he noticed!

I wasn’t above trickery.

I admit it, I tricked my family more than a few times.  (And I still do!)  I got crafty with the whole wheat and whole grains.  I learned how to add veggies into meals so that they wouldn’t  notice.

Don’t fight against them.

Although Ava is a fairly good eater, I know a little girl who sounds just like Melissa’s kids.  She only eats chicken nuggets (frozen or from McDonald’s), cookies, and a few other unhealthy items.  Her parents continued to feed her these things for fear of her being hungry.  Start by offering your children healthy options along with their favorites.  Slowly (over a few weeks) remove the unhealthy options from their diet.  They will probably protest, but if they are truly hungry, they will eat the healthy options.  If they won’t eat the healthy foods, set them aside for later when they are hungry again.  When they are hungry, they will eat.

Get your children involved!

Children who help grow or prepare their meals are more likely to try new things.  Start a small garden and let them grow new veggies to try.  Invite them into the kitchen.  Not only will your child be more likely to try new foods, but you will be bonding with them and building their self-esteem.

Prep your meals.

If you are not the one who cooks most of the meals, prep easy and healthy meals ahead of time.  Here I talked about prep being one of the three “P’s”.  If you can’t be home to cook a healthy meal, try doing once-a-month cooking.  Make and freeze healthy, clean meals that your spouse or kids can heat up.  If it’s just as easy as a frozen pizza, they just might cook it.

Getting your family to eat clean (or just somewhat healthy for that matter) is not going to happen over night.  Just remember to stay positive and lead by example.

Do you have any advice for Melissa or anyone else dealing with a picky family?

nopin

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Food Waste Friday | Saving Some Spinach

FoodWasteFriday After years of wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of food, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

This week wasn’t all that bad.  As usual, I found a few new ways to save some veggies AND trick my family into eating more of them.

I had a package (ugh, I hate overly packaged food) of organic spinach that had a few leaves that were starting to look sad.  I decided to throw some into dinner that night and put the rest in the freezer for fear that they wouldn’t make it before I got around to eating them.  We were having pasta with a simple tomato sauce (no meat), and I diced a few spinach leaves very fine and tossed them in.  Tony had no idea.  That’s one thing I really love about spinach.  Its flavor isn’t all that strong, so it’s easily added to other dishes with little or no detection.

The Scacchi House: Food Waste Friday

Freezing spinach is super simple.  I just pick off all the stems and toss them into a freezer bag.  Simple as that.  Oh, don’t forget to wash and dry it first.  As long as the spinach is really dry, the leaves shouldn’t stick to one another making it really easy to just pull a few out and add to meals.

I did actually throw something away this week.  We made pasta the first week we lived in the house and not thinking, I made an entire box.  Rylan was still here, so I think that threw me off.  I usually cook just over a half of a box.  This makes enough for the three of us, plus a small lunch-sized leftover portion.  This particular meal made lots of leftovers.

The Scacchi House: Food Waste Friday

After eating on them for a few days, I guess this little container got pushed to the back of the fridge.  Although it doesn’t look or smell bad, it has been in the fridge for about two weeks.  That’s way beyond my threshold for leftovers.  Oh well.

How did you do this week?

nopin

Reader Q&A: Why Does Food Make Me Feel Horrible?

Why does food make me feel horrible?

I received the following email from reader Brittany E.

I started eating clean about two weeks ago and I have felt great. I haven’t “cheated” other than a peanut nature valley bar due to not having eaten all day and that was about a week ago.

Well yesterday I let myself have a small bowl of red beans and rice and this morning I had one biscuit. Oh my goodness. My body absolutely hates me. Stomach pain, cramps, and even a slight bit of heart burn.

My question for you is did you ever go through this after you started eating better? And if so how did you handle it? I honestly was not having cravings when I ate these things and my sugar addiction is practically broken.

Hope this doesn’t sound crazy!!
Love the blog by the way 🙂

 

First off, thank you so much for taking the time to ask a question.  It means so much to hear from readers.

To answer your question, Yes!  This still happens to me if I eat something undesirable.  I’m guessing that the rice and beans and the biscuit were not homemade.  What is probably making you feel that way is the shortening in the biscuits.  Shortening does the same thing to me, every time.  Here are the ingredients in Crisco straight from their website:

Ingredients:

SOYBEAN OIL, FULLY HYDROGENATED PALM OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM AND SOYBEAN OILS, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID (ANTIOXIDANTS).

In my opinion, shortening is one of the worst things you could possible put in your body.  Unfortunately, that’s what most people use to make their biscuits.  My mom also uses butter flavored Crisco in her Judy’s Almost Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Sad to say, I won’t touch her cookies anymore.  They make me feel HORRIBLE!  It’s exactly what you described, stomach cramps, pain, and heartburn.  So not worth a cookie.

I’m no doctor, but here’s my theory on why this happens after you start eating clean.  When you start eating clean, you are allowing your body to heal.  Your body starts to expect only whole, nutrient rich foods.  What you feel after eating the biscuit is your body’s way of saying, “What were you thinking?  Never again!”  Your body doesn’t know how to process this chemical slurry.

Don’t beat yourself up over it.  Everyone slips up now and then.  Just be prepared for your body’s protest.

If you love red beans and rice and biscuits, it’s okay.  If you make these things at home, you can control what goes into them.  I’ve made very delicious red beans and rice from scratch that even my husband loves.  And we’re from the South, we love our biscuits.  When I make them at home, I use whole wheat flour and coconut oil instead of shortening.  That’s part of this journey, learning to cook all of your favorite foods in a way that’s better for your body.

You’re on the right track.  Being in tune with your body makes a huge difference.  Keep up the good work!

Does anyone else have any helpful information for Brittany?  If you have a question, email us at scacchihouse@yahoo.com.

nopin

Food Waste Friday Is Back

FoodWasteFriday After years of wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of food, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

Since I’m finally in control of the groceries once again, Food Waste Friday is back!  When we moved into our new place, I decided a few things right off the bat.  First, I would do everything in my power to have zero food waste.  Second was to start a compost bin.

We have been in our new place for two weeks now.  We love it, even though it’s more space than we need or want.  It’s even bigger now that Rylan (our nephew) went back home.

Since Ava and I are home all the time, we are on leftover patrol.  I’ve taken it upon myself to eat any leftovers so they do not go bad.  So far, so good!

I am pleased to report that they only thing that went into the compost pile were a few pieces of moldy sweet peppers.  My mother-in-law sent them (not moldy) with us from her house when we moved.  By the time I got around to using them, a few of them were starting to grow mold.  No big deal.

Frozen Sweet Peppers in a Jar

I cut the mold off and decided to cut and freeze the rest of them to be on the safe side.  I love freezing peppers.  I love having them on hand.  I just pull the jar out of the freezer and pick a few out.  Easy peasy.  We also saved some very brown organic bananas by making some of my Nana’s delicious banana bread.  It didn’t last very long.

Coffee Jug

I’ve got my recycled jug in the fridge for any leftover coffee. (I got all fancy and wrote it on with a sharpie.) Just add milk and sugar and you have iced coffee.  No waste!  Speaking of coffee, I just bought this coffee pot…. for $3.73!

Thrift Store Coffee Pot

I’ve been looking for one at Goodwill but they’re either not the right size/style/color, over priced, or just flat-out nasty.  I spotted this one a few days ago.  It’s the exact one we had in Alaska (only paid $5 on Craigslist for that one) and was clean and an additional 30% off.  My patience paid off!

Storage Container Compost Bin

I did manage to start my compost bin.  It’s actually looking pretty great, if I must say so myself.  Check out all the kitchen scraps I need to add!

Kitchen Scraps for Compost

I keep a bin in the door of the fridge.  My bin is an aluminum loaf pan with a plastic produce bag.  Eventually I’ll be able to grow new food from these scraps, and that makes me very happy!

Did you waste any food this week?

nopin

Our Kids Are Eating What?

School Lunch

My sister and I had the opportunity to attend an end-of-year carnival at my cousins’ school last week.  My aunt was helping out and invited us to come out and see everyone.  Ava had a blast with all of the kids and going down the inflatable slide with her aunt, Susie (or Suuusss-seee as Ava says it).  She thoroughly enjoyed a snow cone (without the syrup), but wasn’t a fan of the fireman trying to spray her with the fire hose.

Baby on Slide

While at the school, my sister and I were offered a school lunch.  We graciously accepted, but our expectations were not high.  I was even more appalled when I opened the bag.  As Susie and I surveyed the bag, we determined that half of it was completely inedible.  We unwrapped the “ham” sandwich and this is what we found.

School Lunch Sandwich

Although it is on what appears to be a whole wheat bun (whether it’s actually whole wheat, we may never know), the mystery meat “ham” made me want to vomit.  Top that with two slices of processed cheese product and you have one completely unappetizing sandwich.  Where are the veggies?  Don’t the kids deserve some lettuce and tomato on their sandwich?  Our bag also included one mayo and mustard packet, neither of which was going to save this sandwich.  We weren’t even willing to eat the bread.

The bag also contained the following:

  • A bag of Baked Lays (sour cream & onion)
  • A small bag of baby carrots and celery with two packets of fat-free buttermilk ranch
  • An apple
  • Grape juice
  • Your choice of 1%, fat-free, or 1% chocolate milk.

While I will applaud them for the apple and the carrots and celery, there are so many things wrong with this lunch.

While I’m not a fan of processed food, the Baked Lays are a far better option than traditional potato chips.  The carrots and celery are great, but why is it served with fat-free buttermilk ranch (that’s what they call it anyway)?  Would you like to guess the first ingredient in this particular ranch dressing?  It’s not buttermilk like the name would suggest.  High fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient in the fat-free buttermilk ranch.  Here’s the thing with “fat-free” foods (if you want to call them that), when you remove the fat, it must be replaced with something.  That something is usually sugar; almost always in the form of high fructose corn syrup.  So your children are having a side of sugar with their veggies (and GM sugar at that).

Our bodies need fat!  Young, elementary age children need the healthy natural fats (which should come from low-fat buttermilk in this case) for their developing brains.  Give the kids some full fat buttermilk ranch dressing, their brains deserve it!

Yay for the apple, but why is juice the go-to beverage for kids?  Why don’t they offer the kids water?  And wouldn’t water be less expensive too?

As for the milk, it’s unnecessary (this is whole other topic in itself).  But, if you’re going to offer kids milk, why 1% or fat-free?  Let them drink whole milk or at least 2%.

I think the absolute worst part of this is that more than 50% of this particular elementary school lives at or below the poverty level.  For many of those kids, this may be their best, most nutritious meal of the day.  For some, it may be their only meal.  Many of the kids have said that the lunches are just not enough; they’re still hungry.  Our kids deserve better.

Do your children eat school lunch?  Have you actually looked at what they are offered?

Baked Maple Pears

I’m still posting from my phone, which I absolutely hate. Although, I am thankful that I have the ability to post from my phone. Here’s an interesting fact: If you purchased your computer after 2008 (which I’m sure you did), it did not come with that handy little factory reset disk. You now have to call the manufacturer (Dell in our case) and PAY for it. Anyway…

We are trying to eat up all of our food before we fly out next week. Last week I bought my usual 4 pears that I buy every week. They are normally soft, juicy, and oh so sweet. Not so much for these 4. They are too firm and not very sweet. Not my idea of our usual afternoon snack.

So for breakfast, I thought I would bake one of my pears in some maple syrup. OH. MY. GOODNESS. So sweet and creamy. I can’t even begin to explain how good they were. And! They are super easy to make.

20130409-104456.jpg
Baked Maple Pears

Ingredients:

    1 or 2 Pears, quartered and the core removed.

    1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla

    1 Tablespoon Butter (don’t even think about using margarine)

    1/4 Cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff, it should only have one ingredient)

20130409-104618.jpg
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (F).
In a baking dish, pour the vanilla and coat the pear quarters.
Pour the maple syrup over the pears and top each quarter with a small piece of butter.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
15 minutes into the cooking time, baste the pears with the maple syrup and return to the oven.
After the 30 minutes, remove the foil and baste again. Return the pears to the oven uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
The sauce will thicken. Remove from the oven and serve.

These pears are great on their own but would be amazing with some vanilla ice cream.

If Ava doesn’t wake up soon, I’m going to eat her piece. =)

Banana Bread: Nana’s Recipe Makeover

Banana Bread

One thing we always had regularly at our house growing up was banana bread.  My Mom used the same recipe that my Grandma (Nana) always used.  One day I was longing for a taste of home.  I wanted to bake some of that wonderful banana bread that my Mom always made.  I called Mom and had her email me the recipe.  Since we are trying to eat as clean as possible, I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  It tastes EXACTLY the same!  I was so happy.

I put the recipe on one of my new chevron recipe cards for you to enjoy.  If you like the recipe card, it is available as a Word template in my Etsy shop in a few different colors.  This recipe is available here as a PDF download.

Banana Bread Recipe Card

This recipe is so easy.  You now have no excuse to use a boxed mix!  To make this recipe a bit more “clean,” I substituted coconut oil for the shortening and whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour.  I also use organic evaporated cane sugar instead of white sugar.  It does not change the taste or texture at all.  Tony had no idea it was made with whole wheat flour.  You can also add walnuts (or any other nut) to the bread, but I personally feel that nuts in baked goods are an abomination. =) Tony feels differently.

To download the recipe card, click here.  Enjoy!

Are there any foods that remind you of home?  Let me know how you like this banana bread recipe!

Food Waste Friday: Beet It Wasted Coffee

FoodWasteFriday

After years of wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of food, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

I bought three beets a few weeks ago.  Since they are a root vegetable, they typically last a while.  I cooked one shortly after buying them, but the others have been in the veggie drawer of the fridge ever since.  If you have never bought fresh beets, you get the beets with the greens attached.  I just realized that you can cook and eat the greens too, just like kale or chard.  That was my plan.

By the time I got around to cooking them this week, they were way beyond saving.  The greens were wilted and droopy.  The beets on the other hand were still perfect! I roasted them and made beet sandwiches, complete with green goddess sauce.  A-MA-ZING!  If you haven’t given beets a try, you should.

So what do you do with the coffee at the bottom of the coffee pot that you don’t get around to drinking?  I would always just toss it, but not anymore.  When we lived in Florida, we had an iced coffee brewer just like this one.

One morning, it occurred to me that what I was pouring was essentially iced coffee.  Now after I finish a pot of coffee, I let the remaining coffee cool, then pour it into a mason jar and store it in the fridge.  Usually I have enough coffee after a day or two for one glass of iced coffee.

To make a glass of iced coffee, just combine your refrigerated coffee, sweetener (I use agave or evaporated cane sugar), and milk (or creamer).  You usually have more milk in iced coffee than you would in your regular cup, so leave a little extra room.  You can add ice if you would like.  I like to drink mine with a straw.  =)  Straws always make drinks feel that much more special.

How was your waste this week?  Do you make iced coffee at home?

Disclaimer: All links on the blog to Amazon are affiliate links.  If you purchase an item through this link, you are helping support this blog and my family. =)

Made in the USA: Reasons to Love The Pampered Chef

Made in the USAI have always loved The Pampered Chef and recently I found one more reason to love them.  After arriving in Alaska, my loaf pan broke.  This is the pan I bake all of my bread in.  The entire end broke off.  I was a little more than bummed.  Then, my sister (she’s in high school!) informed me that it has a 3 year warranty. What?!

Yes!  Your Pampered Chef stoneware has a 3 year warranty.  They will replace your stoneware if it breaks within 3 years.  This information made my day!

So how do you get a replacement if your stoneware breaks?

To get a replacement, all you need to do is find your sales receipt (if you still have it) and give The Pampered Chef a call.  I did not have my receipt, but they were able to help me look it up.

This part is important!  Next, you need to mail The Pampered Chef a chunk of your broken stoneware.  If you don’t mail it in, you will be patiently waiting for a package that will never arrive.  I may or may not know from experience. =)  The woman who took my replacement order forgot to tell me that I needed to mail a chunk in.

After The Pampered Chef receives your chunk (at least the size of your palm), they will ship you your replacement pan!  Here is my new pan (and my broken one)!

Get A Replacement Pampered Chef Pan

Oh, and I forgot to mention, these pans are made in the USA!  That’s just icing on the cake.  (hehe) So spoil yourself and spend the few extra dollars on the real thing.  You get what you pay for.  And you get delicious results like this!

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread

The Pampered Chef has not offered me any compensation for this post.  I am just a loyal customer.

Food Waste Friday: No Waste is Good Waste

FoodWasteFriday

After years of wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of food, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

I have absolutely no food waste to report this week.  I was really good about using up a half of a lemon to make a gallon of Tony’s favorite green tea.  I also used up a few small pieces of cheese in a very yummy grilled cheese sandwich.

Do you have any creative recipes to use up extra little bits of food?  How about any new ways to make over leftovers?