I am just loving these makeovers ! They are long and take more work than my usual posts, but to me, there is nothing like really digging in and getting practical for particular families. Are you enjoying these posts, too? I pray that they are a blessing, for both the families involved, and those that read them as well!
This week’s family is the Andersons. There is Andi (mom), Jesse (Dad) and two little cutie pies, Corbin (2) and Callan (just turning 1).
How they currently eat:
The first thing that I noticed when I read through their questionnaire answers is that they eat a significant amount of grains and starches (most of them refined as well), lots of protein (but the same types- not much variety), and very little fruits and vegetables. When they do eat veggies, they are usually canned.
Dad is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy, and isn’t particularly adventurous when it comes to eating. Mom used to be, but it’s tough to cook that way when not everyone will eat it. So far, their boys are not picky, which is definitely a huge plus!
Mom is a wonderful meal planner, but she knows that she needs to take that structure and add in some better foods for her family. They need to stick to their budget, but figure out how to get higher quality and fresher foods. They would like to find some more real food resources in their area (Lubbock, TX).
Dad’s health is struggling, and he would like to lose some weight and get his blood sugar levels down, as he is at high risk for diabetes right now. Mom would really like to get back to being healthier, but most of all wants to help her hubby and find ways to make foods that he (and the boys) really LOVE, that will be better for them all.
Time for Their Real Food Makeover!
3 Baby Steps for Them to Take:
- Decrease their consumption of grains and starches, particularly refined (white, processed) grains.
- Increase their vegetable and fruit intake, especially more fresh produce (as opposed to canned).
- Add better variety to their protein options, for more well-rounded nutrition.
Not only are these good steps to take in general for the whole family, but they will also serve their health goals for Jesse. By decreasing refined grains and starches, he will be able to lose some weight (which will help with the diabetes risk). Additionally, improving their protein intake will help his body to get more of the important nutrients that it needs, while balancing out his grain intake and keeping his blood sugar levels more steady. These are just beginning steps to take, but they are important ones.
Image by floodkoff 
Let’s Talk About Feeding Husbands
This is a tricky subject, but it is certainly not impossible to be able to help your husband learn to appreciate more real, fresh foods and eat a better balanced diet!
There are two main things that I think are important to keep in mind:
- Your husband is a grown man, able to make his own decisions. He is the leader of the home and deserves respect. He needs encouragement not criticism, and needs you to work with him, not just try to force him to change.
- Changes happen best s-l-o-w-l-y. If you can help him by changing things little by little, bit by bit, he will most likely come around and begin to eat more and more real foods than you ever thought possible.
There are lots of ways to get our men eating better, without pulling the rug out from under them and changing the foods they like to eat overnight. One is by simply talking with them about changes that you would like to make, and asking which ones sound like the most feasible changes to start with. Work as a team. Bring them on board. Let them be a part of the decision making.
Try finding out if there are some things that he is not ready to compromise on or change at all yet. Let him keep a few of his absolute favorites. This will help him feel better about the things that are changing.
Ask for his input as you create a list of meals/recipes that you would like to make. Get him to rate meals on a scale, so that you know what to include more often. Make sure that as you meal plan, each week includes some of his favorites and then it will be easier on him when you also include a couple things that are new or not as preferred.
Start by sneaking the good stuff in. I’m generally not in favor of the whole concept of getting our families to eat good foods in a deceptive manner. HOWEVER, when family members are used to the taste of processed, convenience foods or simply haven’t acquired a taste for wholesome foods like fresh veggies, you need to help them out.
One of the easiest ways to sneak in vegetables is to grate or puree them first (works well with carrots, zucchini, peppers, sweet potato or squash, etc.). Next, add them in to more complex dishes, like meatloaf or meatballs, burrito or taco fillings, chili, meat/potato stews, tomato pasta sauces, etc. They won’t be particularly noticeable, but here’s the thing: by adding more and more in gradually you can help to change tastebuds (hubby) and mold and shape little tastebuds (adorable boys). As you increase the amount of good stuff in the recipes you make, they will become accustomed to the taste of wholesome, fresh veggies and then, the sky begins to be the limit!
As well, check out my post on cooking and serving vegetables  yesterday. I offer some simple cooking methods, and lots of tasty vegetable side dish recipes. And always remember, if they’re balking at eating the veggies you prepare, just add grated cheese. Cheese covers a mutitude of sins.
Here are a couple of previous posts I’ve written on feeding our husbands, which I think are helpful:
Image by peet-astn 
Increasing Vegetable and Fruit Intake
Priority number one is to switch from canned veggies to fresh veggies, for a few reasons. First, canned veggies are processed at high temperatures and lose many of their nutrients in the process. Second, they often have additives like preservative, salt, sugar, etc. Third, canned foods have BPA in their linings, a chemical you definitely want to avoid. Fourth, they just don’t taste very good and if I only had the choice of eating canned veggies, I probably wouldn’t be very keen on them either.
I know that fresh produce can cost significantly more than canned vegetables, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Grocery stores have notoriously expensive produce. Get out of your regular grocery store, and find a produce market or farmer’s market instead. I used the search at www.eatwellguide.org , and came up with a couple of options- Apple Country Farmer’s Markets or Sunburst Farm Markets, both with two locations in Lubbock. Try one of these to start with, and if they are anything like the ones in my area, you will find an abundance of fresh, beautiful produce at prices much lower than a conventional supermarket.
Similar to what I suggested in the first Real Food Makeover , these are some excellent but manageabel goals for including more vegetables and fruits in your diet:
- Have at least 1 fresh vegetable with each dinner
- Include at least 1 salad in each weeks’ menu plan (this can even be something like Caesar salad or iceberg lettuce salad in the beginning, and then progress to some other options down the road)
- Serve one type of fruit for either breakfast or lunch each day. Apples, peaches, berries, kiwi, melon, pears, oranges… anything! Fruit salads can be a nice way to get these in, as can fruit smoothies, or simply a plate of cut fruit.
We’ll continue on later this week with a one week meal plan, lots of recipe suggestions, and some more ideas for switching some of their current foods choices over to more real, whole foods, especially some that are much more nutrient-dense.