Family Food and Eating Goals for 2014

by Maria on January 9, 2014

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Happy New Year! This is an exciting time of year for food and health. It seems that almost everyone has a food, eating, or nutrition-related goal or resolution for the New Year. While I’m not a fan of resolutions, (I find they seem too rigid and all-or-nothing), I do like to reflect on the year behind me and make goals for the New Year in all areas of my life.

So I brainstormed some of my top goals for food and eating in 2014 and here is what I came up with. As you can see, most of my goals are focused on my family, but I am really making an effort to do number two more consistently for myself as well.

1 – Include fruits and/or vegetables with every meal and snack. We do a pretty good job with this, but I think we could increase the variety, especially at breakfast and lunch. (Yes, we have plenty of sleepy mornings where the only fruit on the breakfast table is the raisins in the granola). I am going to try and have more cut up fruits and veggies ready to go and visible in the refrigerator.

2 – Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. We typically have one or two meatless dinners every week and I often eat vegetarian lunches.  But I think we could up this to two or three meatless dinners a week, and I think that I could cut down on my dairy intake a bit more. The more I read, the more I am convinced that eating a mainly plant-based diet is optimal for health.

3 – Increase the lunchbox variety. I start strong at the beginning of the school year, but then life gets busy and I tend to stop planning lunches. Add in busy weekday mornings and the result is a lack of variety in the lunchbox.  It’s time for a little more inspiration, planning, and day before prepping. (I know my husband would love a homemade lunch at least a few times a week too.)

4 – Batch cook and freeze more. I love the idea of batch cooking and freezing to be prepared for a busy week. While I tend to freeze leftover when I make food such as soup, meatballs, pancakes, and muffins, it would be great to add some more entrees and sides.

5 – Buy less snack food and only serve fruit and veggies in the hour or so before dinner. I keep a steady supply of all-natural, mostly healthy snack food on hand, such as spelt pretzels, popcorn kernels for popping, wheat crackers, dried fruit, yogurt, and granola bars. With two active boys this is essential and most of these foods make it into snacks and lunches a daily basis.The only problem is when they grab a granola bar or big bowl of bowl of crackers in the hour or so before dinner, which obviously affects their dinner intake. I guess this is something I just have to be on top of, but I think limiting the variety of snack foods and serving them fruits and veggies pre-dinner would also be helpful.

6 – Continue to make my own cookies and other treats. We all love sweets in this house and I love to delight the boys with a small lunchbox cookie or the occasional after school cupcake. Fortunately, I love baking and find that by making these treats myself I can better control the ingredients and the amount we eat. I can also freeze extras so we don’t over indulge.

7 – Continue to combine the new and the familiar. My boys are gradually becoming less picky and I have found slowly and gently introducing them to new foods works best. They are not going to become adventurous eaters overnight. I try to always have something familiar and liked on the table, but never hesitate to present my kids with new foods. I plan a variety of healthy meals each week, knowing that some will be loved and some will not.   

8 – Continue the just a taste rule. My boys know they are expected to taste everything on the table. If they can’t bring themselves to taste a food I encourage them to at least smell. That is it. And if only one bite is eaten, so be it. I know it is really important not to make a big fuss about what is being eaten or not eaten at the table. (Unfortunately, it took me a while to put this into practice, but since doing so dinners have become so much more enjoyable and my kids are now trying foods without being asked to).

9 – Continue to make one meal and eat with my kids. Meal times are a time to come together and enjoy food and each other’s company. My boys and I eat dinner together almost every night.  My husband gets home later and usually has to heat up some leftovers. But I try to time it so that the boys can have a dessert or bed time snack when my husband eats his dinner. 

10 – Continue to plan meals every week. Life is just simpler when dinner is planned and the ingredients are on hand. I usually plan on Sundays and shop on Sundays or Mondays. I typically shop three times a week, but that Sunday/Monday trip is the major one, when I have my detailed CooksAid meal plan and grocery list. The other trips are to pick up something that I need fresh for that day such as ground turkey or fish and to load up on more fruit, bread, and milk. 

I hope I haven’t made too many goals here. I could certainly go on, but ten seems like a nice number and there is a good balance of goals to work on and goals that simply call for me to continue doing what I’m doing! 


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