I’m so excited that you are taking an interest in Freeze Your Way Fit! This blog was started as a way to share recipes and tips with my friends and it grew from there. I hope it will help you get a great system down so that enjoying healthy, nutritious meals at an affordable price will be something that happens regularly and effortlessly for your family.
I should start by saying that I am in no way a nutrition expert. I don’t have any fancy degrees in Anatomy or Dietary Science and I am not a doctor of any sort. I am just a busy mom of two that cares about what her family eats (and wants to look great in a bathing suit, I’ll admit it!) but doesn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
In this blog I’ve included the information that I’ve gathered and put into practice over the past few years. My system combines Clean Eating with Freezer/Once a Month Cooking and Couponing. This is what worked for my family and for the many families that I’ve shared it with and now I’m sharing it with you. I hope you enjoy!
Changing our eating habits was a very gradual process for our family. It all started when I was pregnant for the first time. I was sitting at the dinner table after reading the section in What to Expect When You’re Expecting about nutrition during pregnancy. I’m one of those people that can never do anything half way… and I want a book for everything. I had sat down earlier that day and made a chart to ensure that I was fulfilling every category of nutrient every day (seriously, I’m that crazy… I do this sort of thing regularly). I realized I was behind for the day so I made whole wheat pasta with meat sauce for dinner. I put ¼ cup of wheat germ into mine because I needed my dose of folic acid for the day. On the side I had ½ a red pepper and a baked potato w/ cheese.
I took one bite of the pasta and started to cry. The wheat germ was way too much and made the sauce totally thick and dry. On top of that, we always ate white pasta so the whole wheat pasta seemed too heavy and just added to the thick, pasty mess. The amount of food surrounding me was simply overwhelming. “I can’t eat this. Our baby is going to be nutrient deficient!!” I wailed. My husband, Matt, was very sympathetic and reassuring… he kept his laughter down to a low giggle.
I ended up just eating the baked potato and the rest of my pregnancy consisted mainly of eating mac n’ cheese out of a box. The fact of the matter was that it was just too much of a change all at once and I was completely overloaded with information. I was so stressed out trying to get a check in each nutritional box that I wasn’t able to enjoy my food (okay, pregnancy hormones might have had a little bit to do with it as well). It was too big of a leap from what I was used to, which made it harder to stick with.
So how did I go from eating only simple carbs and processed cheese for nine months to the way we are now? It all started with baby food. Once our first born, Colwynn, was old enough to start solids, my friend lent me Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. I already thought that we ate well. After all, I cooked dinner every night and I liked fruits and vegetables. However, my version of “cooking dinner” was anything from chicken stir fry (good) to Hamburger Helper (not so good). As I read through the book I learned a lot about how to make better food choices and what foods were more nutrient dense than others. I started making Colwynn’s baby food and began making VERY gradual changes to what Matt and I were eating as well.
Super Baby Food helped me develop an incredibly efficient system of using my freezer to make big batches of food for Colwynn but only use it one portion at a time. As Colwynn got older and started eating non-pureed foods, I began making even more changes to what Matt and I ate. I didn’t want to have to cook more than one meal for dinner so I started planning meals for us that Colwynn could eat too. Because the change had been gradual over a few months and we started making small substitutions and changes at a time, we didn’t notice as much and it was easy to keep up.
A little while later another friend introduced me to Clean Eating magazine. I combined the concepts of Clean Eating with the methods of batch cooking and freezing I learned from making baby food to develop a system of only cooking three or four times a week and utilizing our “freezer stash” so that we were still eating a nutritious, home cooked meal every night. Then I started adding different veggie purees into regular dishes to increase the nutritional content.
Fast forward two years and we now had 2 kids, we had moved to a new town, and our family was living on one income and paying two mortgage payments. We needed to really watch our spending so I started looking into couponing. I checked out some how-to sites and planned my first trip to Publix. I walked out with an entire cart full of groceries for less than $20 and I was totally hooked! I found at first that it was difficult to save a lot of money on the things I wanted to feed my family. But once I got the hang of stockpiling and creative meal planning, I was regularly saving 50% or more a week.
|All of this cost me less than $50 and will last us a year or more :)|
Now Matt, who used to think that white Wonder Bread was the epitome of epicurian cuisine and hated anything "healthy", happily eats all kinds of vegetables, shudders at the idea of white pasta, and knows what a Super Green and a complex carbohydrate are. He does still prefer that I don’t tell him what’s in everything I make, though. He just wants to eat it and pretend it’s regular Black Bean Salsa Soup, for example, without having to acknowledge the fact that there’s 2 cups of pureed broccoli in it :)
My toddlers will eat anything you put in front of them but they are especially fond of hummus, peanut stir fry, and spinach and cheese omelets. Theron’s favorite food in the whole world is grilled asparagus while Colwynn would choose tortilla chips and black bean and lime salsa over a cookie any day. We of course have the occasional treat but neither Matt nor I miss the things we used to eat and the boys will grow up instinctively making good food choices and enjoying a large variety of flavors. My favorite thing, though, is that this method actually means LESS time for me in the kitchen and more time with my family.
|Less time in the kitchen means more time doing this :)|