Nutrition

Your body is a machine. Give it some gas!

The first car I owned that I fell in love with is my Golf TDI. Now, I’m not really a car person. I don’t understand much about what goes on under the hood and I don’t really care. All I know is my car is reliable, easy to handle, and a whole lot of fun to drive!

The Golf TDI is also my first experience with a diesel engine. Thankfully, diesel engines are much easier to live with these days and the old issues associated with starting in cold weather are all but nonexistent. And let me tell you, I love how the engine barely revs when chugging up a hill. I can pass people without even trying! After five years, I still smile when I pull up to the diesel pump at the gas station, passing all the big trucks idling as they wait in line for gasoline. Yes, my car is fun and spunky. I feel like we understand each other.

I would never dream of putting fuel into my car that would ruin the engine, such as gasoline. I want this fine piece of machinery to last a long time. My husband keeps up with the regular maintenance and we do everything we can to make sure our car runs smoothly. That’s what it needs, and we rely on it, so that’s what we give it.

Fuel your bodySo if I give my car everything it needs to run strong and steady for 10-15 years, why would I not give my body what it needs to run strong and steady for 100 years? Especially since my body is also a complex machine with many systems that need to be maintained. And, unlike vehicles, if my body stops functioning properly, I can’t replace it. My best option is to prevent a breakdown.

Making healthy choices is a high priority. I want the stamina, strength, and endurance required to take on every adventure that comes my way. I want to play with my kids and do the things they want to do (Someday, I hope to even keep up with my grandkids). I am not content with a body that is sidelined because it isn’t fit to play the game. And, even more importantly, I want to be an example for my kids so they are equipped with the tools they need to be healthy. Their bodies, their lives, are far too precious to allow unhealthy habits to destroy them.

That is why I take my role as a caregiver and role model to my children seriously. I (mostly) control the food in our house and I play a big part in motivating my family to make healthy choices. This is a never-ending task so it can be a challenge! It’s hard to keep things fun and interesting, to keep wholesome food on the table that my kids and husband want to eat. Thankfully, the internet has provided me with countless ideas to draw from. And by establishing a few simple habits, I can be successful if I choose to be.

So, from me to you, here are a few tips for getting your family to eat the right kinds of foods.

  1. Have a plan for breakfast. I’m pretty happy eating the same thing every day but my husband and kids are not. There are a couple breakfast dishes that I rotate through, each one lasting us a couple days. Some of our favorites are omelet muffins, baked oatmeal, and fruit with yogurt. By changing it up every couple days and having something ready to serve them when they wake up, I never have to worry about them grabbing something that’s full of sugar and empty calories!
  2. Create a calendar and plan out what you’ll have for dinner each night of the week. I resisted this for a long time, convinced that it would make things more complicated. Boy, was I wrong! One day each week, I sit down for 30-45 minutes and plan what we’ll eat for dinner each night the next week. I select specific recipes and then make sure I have everything I need to make each meal. The items I don’t already have go on my grocery list. Since lunch and breakfast are fairly simple to plan out, I make sure we have the staples required for each of those meals every week as well. I go shopping one day a week and everything I need to make it through the following week is on my list. It’s an efficient, reliable system. As a bonus, I never sit around wondering what to make for dinner or what meat I should pull out of the freezer for the next day. I check my calendar, grab what I need, and am done. Meal planning saves time! (Not to mention peace of mind.)
  3. Eat at least five different colored foods each day. This really is not as hard as it sounds. If I eat Greek yogurt (white) and blueberries (blue) for breakfast, a turkey sandwich (so many possible colors!) and an apple (red) for lunch, and then grilled chicken with roasted carrots (orange), steamed beans (green), and salad (again, so many possible colors) for dinner, then I’ve met my goal without even trying. If you add the vegetables into your meal plan for the week and have a piece of fruit with breakfast and lunch, then your body is getting the important nutrients it needs. Besides, if it’s true that we eat with our eyes first, our eyes will be dancing with joy when we see a plate full of vibrant colors. It’s beautiful!
  4. Balance your meals throughout the day instead of each meal individually. For me, this works the best. My kids need to eat more than Graham crackers and goldfish, but those snacks are easy and are always well received. When I know dinner will mostly consist of protein and veggies, I don’t feel bad about letting them eat some of their favorite snacks during the day. This works for me and my husband too. If we’re having pasta for dinner, I’ll pack lunches that are loaded with protein, fruit, and veggies.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time. The time it does require is worth it because the outcome benefits your whole body – not to mention your entire family. If you plan and prepare the meals for your family then you have the power! Use it to help your family stay healthy.

FitTip: When you eat, you need to choose foods that please more than your taste buds. Your whole body is fueled by what you put into your mouth. If you want your body to perform well without breaking down, then you have to give it what it needs. By planning out a week’s worth of meals ahead of time, you are setting yourself up for success. You can piece together meals that are both delicious and nutritious. (Follow The Fitness Grapevine on Pinterest for some healthy meal ideas.)

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