Monday, October 12, 2009

Extreme Food Makeover, Part 1

Maybe this post should be titled "How to Feed Your Teens Cheaply, Yet Nutritiously, on a Budget While Trying to Lose Some Weight"! I'll be sharing over the next few days how I'm trying feed my family on the cheap while keeping it healthy and fun.

I have three teenagers. Well, my youngest is 12 and a boy. A boy who eats...a lot...and is never full. My girls don't seem to have hollow legs but they do eat. We also struggle with our weight...all five of us. Those that know me in real life know that I have fought this battle my entire adult life and the bad eating habits that I have are being picked up by my kids. The mom guilt I carry because of that is weighing heavy on my heart when my son tells me the kids at school pick on him. Enter more mom guilt because if I'd known about homeschooling 10 years ago when my oldest started kindergarten they would not have entered public schools and the teasing might not be happening. But that is another story and it is also something I need to let go of.

So, I've recently made it my mission to work on our diet. And, I'm not calling it a diet per se, I'm calling it an extreme food makeover....a covert extreme food makeover because the three deputies (children) haven't been apprised of the situation. The sheriff (hubby) and jail-keeper (me) are in on the plan.

My first mission was to get rid of most of the junk food. Junk food to me means chips, cookies, soda and such. Not that there is anything wrong with this food...well, there is and I know there is but we don't need to be eating so much of it. But let me be completely honest here that I LOVE soda. Remember that weight flowing soda in college started a downward spiral and it's been a hard habit to try and break. I've stopped buying it and am now at the point where I can walk right past it in the grocery store without even putting a two liter in the cart. I also find all this junk food to be a comfort food for me - something I'm sure my kids see and are copying from me.

Junk food can also blow your budget and in this economy where I have to make every penny count, we need to spend our money wisely and get the most bang for our buck. So as it's been eaten, I'm trying not to replace it. The only item I purchase out of the chip aisle in the grocery store are pretzels and popcorn kernels for popcorn.

Because I'm the mom and I had to set the tone, it is up to me to make the changes. I do all of the grocery shopping and meal prep at our home. And, I absolutely LOVE doing all that....and my family enjoys all the fruits of my labor! I am replacing the snacks and goodies with food that is healthy, inexpensive and that they will eat. Each of my children has different food quirks - one likes this, one likes that, two won't even touch those and one will eat whatever is put before him. They all would snack all day if I would allow it but I find that if they are busy then they are not bored and digging through the pantry. We generally only allow snacks after school and maybe in the evening (such as popcorn with our movie night).

Some ideas of things my kids WILL eat:
Carrots and celery sticks
Sliced cucumbers
Sliced apples with peanut butter
Popcorn ~ not microwaved but fresh popped
Muffins - made with pureed and whole fruits (applesauce, bananas, blueberries)

This is just a partial list. What do you feed your kids for snacks? If you have teens, how are you filling them up?

Coming next ~ fueling them up for the day!

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