It is more than halfway through January and I am just starting my New Year’s resolutions.
It’s not that I am a procrastinator — well, I am a little bit — but I like to give myself time to really prepare for the tasks at hand. The first couple weeks of January are so busy to begin with: Back to work and school after the holiday rush, de-Christmasing the house and finding a way to fit all of the new items acquired over the holiday, into a house that was already way short of extra storage space to begin with. … And all of those meetings, appointments, and other tasks that were put off until “after the first of the year” have come calling for the piper to be paid.
But now that the tree is put away, the holiday candy is digested and my checkbook has stopped smoking from the Christmas spending blitz, I can truly focus on what changes I want to implement for my family and me in the months ahead. One of those resolutions is to eat at home more and, perhaps more importantly, to make those meals healthier than ever.
I’ve gained 10 pounds since the fall – so I am motivated to get my body back in shape before the less-than-forgiving tank top season rolls around again. I’m driven even more however, by a strong desire to feed my boys — aka the Cheetos and chicken nugget kings — healthier food everyday, too. I know it is an uphill battle: My oldest thumbs his nose at anything that doesn’t come in nugget or pizza form or slathered in some kind of dipping sauce — but having recently started a career working in the healthcare field, I am reminded daily of how important healthy eating is.
Diabetes, obesity, disease risk– are all things I think about on a daily basis. As fearful as I am of this for my own health, the thought of any of these things afflicting my children, especially if it were due to unhealthy eating habits that I helped perpetuate, terrifies me to my core.
So I am planning meals, I am buying whole foods and I am cutting out things like ranch dressing and desserts after every meal.
Tonight I prepared a healthy version of dirty rice: Extra lean beef with onions, green peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes with a white/brown rice blend. My finicky 5-year-old examines the table skeptically.
“Mom, what is that?” he asks.
I get creative: “You are in luck. It is a special pizza taco with yummy veggies mixed in! Sounds yummy, huh?”
His response: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I won’t like it.”
I’m not one to engage in food battles with my children — my hubby and I usually tell the kids that they will eat what is on their plate or no dessert.
No arguments. No pleading to eat one more bite.
Either eat it or don’t. But if you choose the latter, the sweet stuff is off limits.
So tonight I was as surprised as my son was to hear me say, “That’s it. I am tired of you not eating what is good, healthy food, you will eat this tonight. And I am making pot roast tomorrow, and you are going to eat that too. Understood?”
And you know what? He ate it!
Granted, I had to wrap it in a flour tortilla, but Rome wasn’t built in a day —and so I am sure that reversing nearly four years of finicky eating won’t happen overnight, either. This weekend I gave the boys honey mustard instead of ranch and turkey bacon instead of the full fat pork variety they are used to — and I never heard a grumble the entire time they were inhaling their food!
I’m getting my oldest involved in the food preparation — so he can get excited about eating his own kitchen masterpieces. My youngest dutifully eats what is given to him on his plate – so I am committed to putting things before him that are as healthy as possible!
I have hope that through my commitment to giving my boys the best start I can, I can glean some lessons for life for their dad and me, too.
It is easy to see me skipping the gym or choosing a burger instead of grilled chicken for lunch, but the desire to assure the long term health of my kids is something I refuse to take lightly.
And somehow, I think I’ll manage to reap some healthy benefits from it in the end too.