I would say that 80% of the emails I get are from parents who are struggling with having their family and their children eat healthy. Even though it's an email or a comment, I can tell that they are stressed, worried, and feel a sense of failure because their child or spouse just hates eating healthy. As parents, we are responsible for the health and well being of our family, so living a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating are a sensitive and sometimes touchy subject. There are A LOT of different ways to live healthy and with those ways come A LOT of different opinions.
So why not give you mine right?
I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but never really had the 'courage' to do so. Saying how we 'actually' live is kind of scary, not that I am ashamed. But what if people think I'm a fraud?! Majority of social media and blogs today are all about perfection. It's rare to see a REAL glimpse into someones life. As far as we know, all the other moms and dads are doing it perfectly, or at least better than you are right? Getting a good workout in every morning, eating healthy, feeding their kids all organic homemade, teaching their kids, dressing in the cutest clothes, and of coarse having the perfect house. One of my favorite quotes that I think fits perfectly is, " Love her dress, hate her."
So let's begin...
How do we really live a healthy lifestyle in our family...
There was a time when I had one baby where I made homemade crackers.
Homemade crackers with different nuts, seeds, and all things healthy.
I remember an older mom friend of mine saying, "I CAN'T believe you are making your own crackers?! How do you find the time?!"
I laughed but in my head thought, "Well you can accomplish anything at nap time!" I also thought, anyone can afford to buy majority of their food organic. Vegan diets are easy. Eating out at healthy restaurants is do-able. You can make anything homemade, during that beloved nap time. Fitting in exercise is the easiest thing...yada yada yada.
Well my friends, my opinion has definitely changed. I woke up. Or in my case, I never slept. Having 3 kids under 4 will do that to you. So where do I/my family stand now you ask?
Here is our reality.
Right now, I like to call our life the "Survival Stage."
With 3 kids under 4, a husband who works two jobs and 60 plus hours a week, along with a massive load of student debt, well we are just trying to survive ;).
Do we buy all Organic Food?
In an ideal world we would buy organic meats, fruits, dairy, grains, etc. There was a time when I did this, again when I was a young mom of one, and I spent A LOT. At the time we were a small family, technically only 2 and 1/2, so we weren't eating a lot, but buying organic in general was EXPENSIVE. I also shopped locally at the farmers markets and bought organic produce. I loved it.
But things have changed. Now with 5 mouths to feed, grown up bills, and our desert climate, organic isn't always possible. I just can't afford to spend 100 on produce alone. I can't. I've been to our local farmers markets and you can buy a tiny things of berries for 8 bucks, and that would be a snack for my 4 year old. It just isn't possible. Not with a mortgage and all the other bills right?
What about meat? I'm so excited because we just recently got a sprouts market in our city and their organic prices are so much better! If their organic meat is on sale and it's a good and similar price to what I would pay for non organic, than I will buy it. Otherwise my friends, at this point in our life, I can't spend 50 just on meat. Of coarse there is always the idea of incorporating for vegan/meat free dishes that way every meal isn't solely meat based. But still, a package of organic chicken breast at my local store is about 20 bucks. (That's one night of chicken dinner.)
What about Dairy? The same goes for dairy as it does meat. If it's on sale, we buy it. If not, we don't.
It's a hard reality for me to share, but I've learned that we all, if not a lot of us, are not in perfect financial stability. We just can't afford to pay 300 bucks a week on groceries, and frankly I don't really want to. I truly believe you just do the best you can. If you can't afford organic, great! If you can, great! But don't buy an 8 dollar mini organic watermelon. That's just crazy ;).
Does that mean I'm buying crap?
I still buy an abundance of fresh produce and majority of the time I make 3 meals a day for my family. Not always, but a lot of the time. Unless I had 3 hours of sleep the night before because I stayed up to watch the Bachelor. Then it's cheerios for breakfast.
Do your kids eat healthy? Do they eat vegetables?
Yes and Yes.
No and No.
Are we clear? haha! Here's the lowdown on healthy eating with my kids. My girls are learning who they are and developing a sense of, "It's my way or the highway" kind of attitude. It's a fun stage. Sometimes when I place vegetables in front of them they either laugh, cry, scream, or just eat them. Everyday is different. But I try and be consistent. I serve veggies with every meal. Sometimes they eat them, sometimes they spit them out and tell me that was disgusting.
With that being said, my kids have had boxed macaroni and cheese. And Oreos. This goes back to that "Survival Stage" where I had a new born baby who nursed on demand every hour, a toddler who was going through pacifier withdrawls, a 4 year old who thought she was 16, and a husband at work. The LAST thing I wanted to do was think about what to make for dinner. When those days happen, don't feel guilty about making a boxed macaroni and cheese. Just pat yourself on the back that your kids are being fed dinner! There were multiple times, yes multiple, where I would put a movie on to try and fit in a 30 minute nap only to wake up to find my 2 year old knee deep in a jar of nutella. It happens.
Do you exercise every day?
At this particular time in my life I would say I exercise 3/7 days a week. Is it a good solid workout? I wish, but no. I've been blessed with very alert kids. Kids that at the age of 4 still don't sleep through the night. Add a new born to that and when I wake up in the morning I'm crawling down stairs half asleep. I also have a husband who leaves at 6 in the morning for work and by the time he comes home, I am way to tired to work out.
With that being said, I try to fit in a walk, jog, or a workout video in every so often. But it's not easy right now, and THAT is ok. There was a time when I had a 18 month old and a 3 1/2 year old and I wasn't pregnant. I would run every day and get a great workout in. The kids were sleeping a little better and I felt more alive. That time will come again, but I know right now I just have to do the best I can. Are there moms who are better at this? Definitely. But I'm not that mom.
We are all different and we do things differently. Like I said, we do the best we can right?
Do you eat at healthy restaurants?
Yes and No.
(Aren't you loving my answers? SO clear.)
If you ask my husband, I'm constantly begging him to try new healthy, vegan, and sometimes raw food places. Sometimes he is willing but most of the time he isn't. If we eat out as a family, we try to be spending conscious and if I have a say, health conscious. We have definitely ordered a pizza, and my husband loves to take the girls to McDonalds. (I try and put my foot down on that, but marriage is compromise right?) It's not a weekly thing or even monthly, but my girls have had fast food. (And I really like red burritos without cheese from Del Taco. AHHHH!!) But if we eat out, I usually always order sometime healthy/light and my girls usually stick to similar things, like macaroni and cheese, or chicken. They don't really stray from that.
A long those lines, my girls love to eat at healthy juice places and have fresh juice and healthy baked goods. I usually take them with me to try new places and they are really open to doing things like that.
I love finding ways to live a healthier lifestyle. It truly changed my life and the way I feel. Somedays I am on top of it, and sometimes I am just trying to survive. I love to be in the kitchen, so I'm always trying to make healthier dishes. It's a passion. I love sharing those recipes and ideas with others so they can try them on their family. I also love the way exercise and healthy eating make me feel. Nothing makes me feel more energized for the day then when I get a good solid workout in.
This is why I am SO excited about this breakfast book I've been working on! I can't wait to share it with everyone.
But I'm not perfect, and neither are you. I'll be the first person to say I love a big slice of chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookie! You have do to what works best for you and your family. And if you are a young mom with little babies like me, well then just remember you are doing the best and just trying to 'survive' :). There will be a time when all those babies are in school and sleeping through the night, (or so I hope!). Then getting up at 6 to workout will be easier right? :)
Again, this was kind of scary for me to share, but I hope that I was able to answer some of my most frequently asked questions! More importantly, I hope you feel better about yourself! Thanks for all of your support and love my friends!