As I watched harassed Mothers and stressed Fathers dash around Tesco this morning blindly throwing items into their trolley with very little thought for anything apart from getting out of there, I suddenly realised that that used to be me!
Before I became a nutritionist I was completely guilty of 'popping' to the supermarket with the intention of picking up anything for dinner and getting back as quickly as possible. It never occurred to me that as the person in my household responsible for the weekly food shopping I held the key to the health and wellness of my family and I wasn't taking this huge responsibility seriously!!!
Ann Wigmore, an holistic health practitioner, nutritionist and wholefoods advocate famously said
The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
With this powerful quote in mind, decide how you food shop. Are you fuelling your family with nutritionally balanced meals or are you feeding their addictions to junk food and sugar? If it is the latter, commit to making a change. Here's my top tips for a better family food shop.
- Take your time - Allow yourself at least an hour to do your weekly food shop in a supermarket. This will ensure you have plenty of time to be label savvy and price conscious.
- Take a list - Before you shop make a plan of the meals you and your family will be eating that week. This should be nutritionally balanced breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks. Your list should then be all of the ingredients needed for each meal. Although this sounds time consuming, I would urge you to keep your weekly lists so you build up your very own family recipe book which could be adapted for each weeks shopping.....before you know if you will be spoilt for choice!! If you feel you are stuck in a rut with your weekly shop, I have included a shopping list and meal ideas at the end of this article to inspire you.
- Be adventurous - Try one completely new healthy family recipe each week. Some may be a complete flop but others will be a roaring success which will leave you feeling accomplished and with a new recipe to add into your file. When serving a new recipe be sure to have side orders of vegetables/salad or complex carbs such as quinoa or sweet potato. This will ensure no one goes hungry if they dislike the dish.
- Follow the 80/20 rule - This is something I explain to my clients at great length as it is crucial in adopting a healthy lifestyle. My clients are often surprised to learn that I take my children to the cinema and eat popcorn and I sometimes go out for dinner and order a dessert!!!! Do I feel guilty about this? Absolutely not!!! Why? Because I follow an 80/20 rule where 80% of the time I eat clean, wholefoods, freshly prepared with healthy ingredients and 20% of the time I allow my diet to be a little more relaxed. This balance is good enough for my body to be nourished without my mind feeling deprived. I urge you to follow the 80/20 rule when planning your weekly food.After you have made your list decide whether it fits into the 80/20 margin and remember that if you are planning a meal out this will need to be taken into consideration. Each time you are tempted by an unhealthy option ask yourself whether you want this to be part of your 20%.
If you have been a frozen food Mum (or Dad) the idea of clean meals prepared from scratch can be quite daunting, as a Mum of a 4 and 7 year old with very little time on my hands I can totally understand. My quick and easy meal for my children was once chicken nuggets and chips, it is now spaghetti bolognese and not a jar of Dolmio in site!!! Brown off the mince, drain the fat, add a tin or two of tomatoes, onions and garlic (or salt versions for fussy eaters) a pinch of herbs and seasoning and all while the spaghetti boils.
We opt for wheat and gluten free spaghetti in our house, the reasons in which I will save for another article!! If this still seems like a step too far then please do get in touch as I would love to help you and your family implement some great eating habits with minimum effort. This can be done through a personalised nutrition plan in person or via Skype or I can be your personal food shopper, joining you on a weekly food shop and helping you to make better choices for you and your family. You can reach me on [email protected]
So here are a few of the meals my family and I will be enjoying this week, I hope they provide you with some inspiration.
Breakfast - vegan protein pancakes served with berries and homemade chocolate sauce
Mid morning snack - gluten free oatcakes with almond butter and blueberries
Lunch - 2 Egg Vegetable Omelette with leafy green salad and half an avocado
Afternoon snack - Organic hummus and crudites
Dinner - Homemade turkey burgers with sweet potato chips and raw spinach salad (& other half or avocado)
Shopping List for above meals:
Eggs, Almond Milk, Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder, Cashew butter, Blueberries, Strawberries, Nairns Gluten Free Oatcakes, Almond Butter, Spinach, Peppers, Rocket, Mushrooms, Onion, Tomato, Avocado, Organic Hummus, Carrots, Celery. Organic Turkey Mince, Chia Seeds, Celtic Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Biona Organic Coconut Oil, Sweet Potato.