Tips for Eating Clean as a Family

Today I’m going to answer some of the clean eating questions that have come in from the previous two podcasts where I’ve been talking about eliminating process foods and sugars from our family’s diet.

This can be accomplished easier by doing some meal planning and meal prepping so you don’t feel like you’re spending an eternity in the kitchen in order to make healthier meals. 

This 6th season of the MOMables Podcast is all about helping you live a healthier lifestyle as a family.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • The first step to clean eating meal planning
  • What happens when kids ask for foods not on the meal plan
  • Saving time in the kitchen when eating clean
  • Laura’s personal favorite recipes on the Family KickStart Program

This episode is brought to you the Family KickStart Program. This is MOMables’s whole-food program designed for families who want to eliminate processed foods and sugars for 30 days without feeling like they are giving up the recipes families love

More information about the Family KickStart Program here.

What is the First Step When You Sit Down to Meal Plan

There are a few things I as myself when it’s time to meal plan.

  1. What do I want to eat this week?
  2. What does my family want to eat?
  3. What ingredients do I want to use from my kitchen

These three questions are important because you want to be sure that everyone in the family can have some input and be looking forward to a meal or dish they really love that week.

Then you want to check your pantry or freezer to be sure there are no leftover ingredients hiding that you can use up. This helps you stay on budget while eating clean, and also can be a great source of inspiration when you are creating your meal plan for the week.

If Kids are Giving Input on the Meal Plan How Do You Handle It When They Request Foods “Forbidden” on the Whole30

The first thing to do is eliminate the “forbidden food” mentality because that immediately puts you into a position where you feel like you are missing out on something.

So instead of focusing on what you cannot have, keep it positive and talk about what things you can eat while keeping to a cleaner diet.

One of the things I was adament about when I started the FAmily KcikStart program was that I was sure to recreate recipes with clean and approved ingredients.

I don’t want muffins to be “forbidden” when you can make muffins that taste amazing with the recipe I share in the Family KickStart Program. These muffins have no added sugars, no dairy, it’s low on the glycemic index. It’s a really wholesome, nutritious single-serve breakfast item.

I work really hard to create recipes with approved ingredients so that my family could avoid the whole “forbidden food” mentality.

What are you going to do when something is forbidden? You’re going to crave it more, you’re going to think about it.

If you tell my kids that they can no longer have pancakes for 30 days, they’re going to be upset.

I mean, we don’t have pancakes every day but like it’s a weekend tradition. Instead of making them miss out, I just make cleaner, better pancakes.

What is really important about the Family KickStart Program is the ingredient swaps. I”m always thinking about how I can improve recipes so that it is made with clean and nutritious ingredients. And then I share those recipes with you in KickStart!

Have You Found That it Takes Longer to Meal Prep and Plan When You’re Eating Clean?

So the reality is that if you want to eat food that is good for you, it takes time to prep and cook.

Real Food needs to be cooked, not just open a box, mix a bunch of ingredients and there you go.

I like to tell people though, even if you’re relying on mixes or canned foods, it takes just as long to mix the ingredients in a casserole and then bake it as it would to gather clean ingredients and make a healthier dish.

Most recipes have a cleaner version. You still have to heat and boil pasta, or cook the rice. Let’s get real, water takes a long time to boil no matter what you’re putting in it.

Real foods need to be cooked. But there are shortcuts.

Instead of grabbing frozen nuggets and fries and cooking them on a sheet pan, make some healthier chicken strips with approved ingredients freeze them and have them in freezer ready to go.

I think at the end of the day, even these cheesy soups and things we love, it takes just as long to throw them in the slow cooker, no matter the ingredients as it does for real food.

What I want to encourage people to do is kind of take a step back and go and just incorporate more whole ingredients into their meals.

What are Your Top 5 Secret Time Saving Tips in the Kitchen

I love this question! It’s not just buy a rotisserie chicken to save time roasting a chicken.

  1. Purchase Frozen Veggies – Frozen vegetables are already washed, prepped and chopped. This can save you a lot of time and you can buy in bulk. You can use vegetables interchangeably in recipes and this is a great way to save a lot of time.
  2. Use the Slow Cooker at Night – Instead of setting the slow cooker to run while you’re at work, set it overnight so it’s ready for you to prep in the morning.
  3. Freezer Marinate Your Meat – It is so hard to remember to marinate chicken the night before. Instead, you can marinate your chicken in the zip bag and freeze it. Then, when you pull the chicken out of the freeze, it will marinate as the chicken thaws.
  4. Cook Eggs in Batches – Scramble eggs 18 at a time and then save them and heat them up the next four days and you’re good to go!
  5. Create a Snack Basket – It could be a big tupperware container or even zip bags or a drawer in the fridge designated for snacks. Put things like clementines or tiny pre-sliced apples, cheese sticks or baby carrot bags. Small grab-and-go snacks that the whole family can enjoy with zero extra prep from you.

When You Start Eating Clean Should You Throw Away All Your Food That is Not Clean?

This is a tricky question to answer, because it is really up to you. A lot of people throw the food out or choose to donate it. I think the most important thing is to set a realistic timeline to get started. If you want to clean out the pantry and get a fresh start, here are a couple ways you can use up that food without wasting it, or eating it yourself.

  • Take extra packaged snacks to your child’s classroom to be used for students who forgot their snack or after school care
  • Save them for days when you’re hosting playdates or bringing food to soccer practice
  • Donate to a local shelter

What Are Laura’s Favorite Meals in the Family KickStart Program

KickStart has 30 days of recipes (including snacks and treats!). For me, I think my greatest gift to my friends and family are the cookbooks and programs I have made because they include the recipes we already enjoy together.

The recipes in the Family KickStart Program are things I make for my family day in and day out. If my family didn’t love it, it didn’t go in the program!

There were so many recipes which is why we have KickStart 1 and KickStart 2. I didn’t want to make aprogram that was super-long but we have a lot of recipes!

This lead me to create two 30-day programs. After the first 30 days, so many people wanted to continue and asked me to share recipes, so I launched KickStart 2 which is more amazing recipes for you to enjoy with your family.

Favorite Clean Dinner Recipes

  • Meal and Veggie Chili
  • Mediterranean Chicken
  • Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
  • Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Favorite Lunch Recipes

  • Southern Chicken Salad
  • Burrito Bowls
  • Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Favorite Breakfast Recipes

  • Peaches and Cream Muffins
  • No-Oat Oatmeal
  • Pancakes!

Favorite Snacks & Treats

  • 2-Ingredient Magic Cookies
  • Pineapple Whip
  • No-Bake Blondies

This is just a little peek into how I break down the planning and cooking when we eat clean and a little peek inside the Family KickStart Program.

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About MOMables - Laura

Mom to 3 kids, obsessed with coffee, meal planning, and helping you cook fresh meals for your family fast!