I’m all for starting small. I think most people are unsuccessful with radical changes, that’s why many people fail on fad diets and end up “yo-yoing” through life. When you can incorporate small changes into your lifestyle they become… Well, part of your lifestyle. The hurdle is making the “new change” become routine.
I’ve made some huge changes over the last five years (nutritionally AND fitness-wise) but in my second trimester months I ramped it up a bit and got rid of some things I never thought I would. There’s nothing like a pregnancy to make you reassess what you’re eating! And thanks to a few supportive influences in my life – namely my husband, who’s always enthusiastic about learning and incorporating positive nutritional changes in our household – we’re doing quite well! As my friend Lauren says –
there’s always something to learn and improvements to make.
As long as we’re continually making them I think we’re headed in the right direction!
Bad Habits I Kicked
1. Instant Coffee
Sugar-filled, artificial flavour-filled, I-don’t-even-know-what-that-word-is-filled instant coffee. My deep dark secret but I’ve been hooked on this stuff since the first time I tried it. The more I drank the more I craved throughout the day. At my worst I was having four. That’s probably 800 calories, over a third of my daily caloric intake. And lots of sugar. Lots!
Replacement: good quality, Italian Espresso coffee. Freshly plunged each morning. Now my coffee has become my wine… I savor it!
Which leads me to my next confession…
We’re guilty of being big Splenda eaters because of the “sweet with no calories substitute” slogan. Artificial sweetener controversy aside, I read a reputable article that explained how consuming artificial sweeteners confuses your brain, makes you crave even more sweetness and actually increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
Replacement: Nothing. I weaned slowly off the sweetness of Splenda. The most difficult was getting my splenda-laden coffee down to just coffee and milk. I now enjoy a wonderful, good-quality Italian Espresso coffee in the morning with a almond milk and a splash of cream. I drink much less coffee than I used to (one to two cups per day) and I don’t crave that sweetness hit all day.
3. Commercial Cereal
No matter how “healthy” your boxed cereal claims to be… It’s not the healthiest thing you could be eating or giving to your kids. And in many cases “sugar” will be listed in the ingredients somewhere near the top! I’m not going to preach about this too much because I totally get why we eat it and why we give it to our kids. It’s convenient and some mornings you just need your kids to hurry up and EAT! My son’s almost four and he’s finally off Cheerios! I’m sure our kids will enjoy commercial cereal again on occasion but for now they’re stuck with ….
Replacement: Homemade granola. This was actually my husband’s idea. He eats a ton of granola but it’s always been store-bought (and also full of sugar). When we started making ours at home we realized its actually very quick and easy. My husband takes a mixture of oats, nuts, and seeds and roasts them on a pan in the oven for about fifteen minutes, stirring every few minutes. He then stores it all in an airtight container in the pantry. Voila! Homemade cereal that lasts all week. And we’re all loving it – usually on top of yogurt or with milk but sometimes by the handful!
4. Flavoured Yogurt
Since Jon and I have had children, we’ve been eating a ton of flavoured yogurt. Lemon is the family’s flavour of choice. It’s an easy and healthy-ish snack for the kids (and for us) and has the added bonus of probiotics. But when I realized a bowl of our lemon yogurt has almost as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream I decided to change things up.
Replacement: Plain Greek Yogurt. As with the coffee, when replacing something processed and full of sugar with an alternative of much better quality, you will barely notice the difference. Now our family is eating a ton of Greek yogurt with fruit and granola. We still eat the flavoured sugar-packed yogurt cups on occasion. They’re easy to throw in a diaper bag after all. Plus… I Love my lemon yogurt. ☺
You Can Do It!
For me, these were major changes! I was pleasantly surprised how quick and easy they were to incorporate with all family members but I’ll admit, there was a weaning process of getting our taste buds accustomed to less sweet snacks and meals. If your looking to make changes like we have then my advice would be to start slow. Make a list of how you want to improve your family’s nutritional habits then start incorporating the changes one at a time. Choose a better quality product as an alternative. Focus on and try to appreciate the natural flavour of the food – not the loss of sweetness. It won’t take long to feel the difference and realize what you were missing!