If your kitchen looked anything like mine this holiday season, there was a constant stream of cookies and pies, rich sauces, and fatty meats, chips, dips, cheeses, crackers, and candies—oh my!
It was delightful and delicious, but we’ve had our fill, and we are feeling a little bit run down. Sound familiar?
Now that the gifts have been unwrapped, the halls un-decked, and the goodies consumed, it’s time to right this train and incorporate more consistent, nutritious offerings back into our family meal plan.
By refocusing on clean, whole foods and reducing processed foods and sugars, everyone’s energy levels, immune systems, and carb addictions should be in check in no time.
The first step, of course, is to restock the fridge and pantry. Head to the grocery store or your favorite online delivery service and stock up on an abundance of healthful ingredients. A focus on fresh fruit and vegetables and lean meats, organic whenever possible, is a great place to start. Think chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef, and a super colorful and plentiful variety of selections from the produce section.
Additionally, plenty of eggs, all natural dairy, a variety of broths and seasonings, legumes, nuts, and high-quality dark chocolate to snack on will round things out. For bread, my personal favorites are Food For Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain options. At a minimum, it’s best to choose organic, whole-grain breads.
Don’t forget to pick up spring water, perhaps some vegetable juices, and teas.
Make Meals Ahead of Time
Once the kitchen is full of healthy ingredients, consider blocking out some time to prepare some make-ahead meals. Many comforting winter meals can be prepared in advance and enjoyed on busier days when they are most needed.
For dinners, think soups, stews, chilis, roasts, and even meatloaf. “Hide” extra vegetables in each of these to kick up the nutrient impact of each serving. Utilize helpful containers and your freezer for longer-term storage.
For breakfast, bake a flavorful egg casserole that family members can pull from all week long, or simply hard boil eggs to begin each day with a punch of protein.
Maintain Easy Options
For snacks, offer fruits and nuts for crunch and sweetness. Clean and pre-bag raw veggies for kids to grab themselves.
Keep frozen vegetables on hand for super-quick side dishes, Whenever possible, put your slow-cooker to work.
Be sure your kitchen is devoid of unhealthy options. Moments of fatigue or stress do happen, and that’s when poor food decisions are made. Don’t allow that to be an option at your house.
Curb the Cravings
After all of that holiday celebrating, it’s entirely possible you and each of your family members will find yourselves craving sugary carbs. Be sure to have viable alternatives on hand like nuts, dark chocolate, perhaps some lightly sweetened yogurt, and lots of fruit for natural sweetness.
Finally, make sure everyone’s drinking plenty of water and getting healthy doses of sunshine, exercise, and rest each day.
With healthy habits back in place and the kitchen cleared of holiday indulgences, your family will launch 2016 with the energy and focus they need to achieve their goals for the year.