So now that you have the desire to change your habits, how do you begin? Our primary suggestion is to start slowly. Allow your body and your family time to adjust to the new foods you are eating. Give yourself a chance to notice the difference in how your body feels on the days you eat well versus the days you eat poorly. Changing your eating habits will take deliberate and early thought—and that will take effort.
- Plan One Change
Take out your menu for the next week. Don’t have a menu? Then just think about the meals you are planning on having for the next week. This might be simpler if you pull out your receipt from your last major shopping trip to get an idea of what you and your family usually eat. Pick one meal that you can change. It doesn’t have to be a big change. Could you have brown rice and barley instead of white rice? Could you add a veggie side dish that you think your family might enjoy? Cut out a fat or sugar? Or maybe just replace that fast food run with a new recipe from our book?
- Follow Through
Now make the change. When you make the changes in your meal, you don’t have to prepare your family members as if what you’re doing is revolutionary and might potentially irritate their taste buds. Let them try it out for themselves.
- Record Your Success
Record your family’s reactions to the new meal or how you felt about the changes you made to your ingredients. I like to do this right in my cookbook, recipe card, or on the Pinterest pins of my recipe, where I know I will remember next time I make that recipe. I can record my family’s reactions such as “Not a hit,” or “Turned out great with half the oil asked for.” The next time it’s not as much of an experiment. If the recipe had mixed reviews, but you think some of the negativity was just because the food was new, note that. You might have success if you try it again later.
- Continue with the Change if the Response Is Good
Don’t let the change become a one-time occurrence. Repeat your success often.
- Start the Process Again
Now that you’ve mastered dinner and are starting to integrate it into your menus, take it a step further. Move on to snacks. Pull out your grocery receipt again. What snacks did you buy? Change the ratio to be heavier on the fruit and veggie side than on the processed food side.
Next take a look at your breakfasts. Could you change one a week? Breakfasts are a great way to get in some nutrition first thing in the morning. Could you wake up five minutes earlier to make a smoothie or package the fruit ahead of time into freezer bags so it will be ready to go? Or make something the night before? You’ll find that eating healthier in the morning motivates you to continue your new healthy eating habits throughout the day.
We wouldn’t recommend changing all of your habits at once, especially if you have children. (Unless, of course, you think your family can handle it. If so, good for them!) Just cut down on the unhealthy foods and buy a little more of the nutritious food. You can increase the ratio of healthy food as you go along. You want these changes to be permanent, not just a fad that you keep up for a couple of weeks.
Where Do I Buy The Odd Ingredients?
Most of the ingredients on our blog can be purchased at our local grocery store. They stock bags of the unusual flour and the oils we use and the fresh fruits and vegetables are available there as well. If your local store doesn’t supply what you need, check out the local health foods store. If those still don’t stock what you need, the employees at these stores usually can help you find sources for what you need.
In our area, there are people who sell bulk grains and other products out of their homes. Attend some of the health classes available in your area and talk to the teachers and other people there to find out more resources. My siblings and I sometimes laugh at how mom talks to everyone (especially when it’s in grocery store lines!) but she learns a lot of valuable information.
If you can’t find the things you need, you can always find them online.
Any Step You Make Is Helpful
You might not be able to change all of your eating habits and those of your family overnight, but we encourage you to keep trying. As an old Bedknobs and Broomsticks song says, “It’s a step in the right direction all the same!” Even one change a day could make a substantial difference in the life of your family. Choose to invest in your health.