No matter where you lie on the belief system of eating real, whole food, I think most of us agree that the Standard American Diet can be pretty rough on our bodies. Because I am a nutritionist, and because I eat as a way to feed my body with it’s MS imbalances, I am often asked the question – What do you guys eat? So, here it goes.
In this post you will find some main start-up points and theory. At the bottom of this post will be a weeks worth of meals, with a few photos and a little explanation. It is here to give you simple ideas for feeding yourself, feeding your family, or combining the two. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard.
To begin, our family goals for eating include the following:
- to eat from all the categories in the food pyramid
- to find alternative ways to get protein and calcium besides meat and dairy
- to eat extra and very colorful vegetables
- to strive for real, whole foods
- limit processed foods – always reading labels so that we are informed
- enjoy our eating experiences
- allow ourselves a night out on occassion
- allow choice
- and most importantly, educate and explain food and nutrients to our children
As a family, we do choose to eat mostly organic and non-gmo. We are at the beginning stages of looking into eating locally, and love the farmer’s markets when it’s the season, but we definitely don’t have this as a constant priority right now. If there are not organic options for what we need available, or the cost is outrageous for that product, then we find a different organic option, or we choose a non-organic whole food option that suits us. We have found in changing our eating style that although organic foods seem more costly, we stay out of the processed food aisles and we actually end up eating less food all around.
On average we spend about $800/month on groceries with our family of four. We also go out about 4 nights in a month (which is where we can either tighten or explode our budget depending on the places we go!). I’m not going to include specifics on brands or types of each product because I want people to feel that this is an option for their family (organic or not, whole wheat or multi-grain, etc – everyone is on this journey at their own pace). I do most of my shopping at Target right now, with occasional visits to Cub Foods and Lakewinds Co-op. If you want to know any more specifics don’t hesitate to ask.
You have to start at the step you are ready for. If adding in more vegetables is the only change you’re interested in, then do that. If you want to go organic, go. As I said, we are just starting to experiment with eating local. Everyone is at a different step. There is no right or wrong place to be. You have your own beliefs, your own budget, your own needs. Just do some research/reading in the meantime, because there is always room for improvement. For now, do what feels right for you. Small steps are still steps.
Pictured above is an example of my meal planning board. It often looks like this in the middle of the week because, what I have found is that even when I’m meal planning I still want to be flexible. We still want to randomly meet up with some friends for dinner, and sometimes you just don’t feel like what’s on the menu that day. So really, the plan is a list of the meals that are in our house that week. It helps our budget when we grocery shop, and it helps us choose a healthy meal no matter what’s in store that night. I often try to include a few bigger meals, a few easy meals, a night of leftovers, and a night out every week.
So, I guess all that’s left is to let you take a look at our week of eating. Included with each week is a description, a picture, and also the way I change what I’m serving to the family to fit the needs I personally have with my MS diagnosis, as well. If you have any questions or want to chat feel free to hit up my contact page.
Full Menu and Notes (pdf, printable format)