From pigs in a blanket, to avocado toast… figuring out healthy eating.
Here on Fit Mitten Kitchen, you’re going to find healthy recipes, I think I’ve made that pretty clear with what I’ve shared with you so far. Everything from cookies using a mix of traditional and wholesome ingredients
….to putting beets in brownies using gluten-free flours and coconut sugar.
This year I said I was going to offer you more meal options, and I’ve held up my end of the bargain so far!
While I have this GRAND love for all things healthy now, and I really do believe a diet starting with whole foods is 100% necessary, it took me years to figure this out on my own.
I didn’t always like (or eat) vegetables
Here’s the thing: I wasn’t always a healthy eater. I didn’t always like vegetables. I didn’t grow up in some household where every meal was made from scratch. I probably didn’t eat my first salad until I was in high school. And I certainly didn’t love brussels sprouts (nor had I even tried them) until after my early years in college. I didn’t have to fill half my plate with vegetables, and my parents didn’t make us clean our plate before leaving the dinner table. Truth be told, we didn’t really sit at the dinner table.
I rarely tried new foods
I grew up in a busy family, with 5 siblings. I have an older brother, an older sister, two younger sisters, and a younger brother. We all played at least one sport, plus throw in a few dances classes a week, we were constantly on the go. My dad coached my soccer team several different seasons. And also took us to our different practices. My mom owns a dance studio, which means she was gone from 3pm until 9pm. Translation: we’re not the stereotypical “What’s Mom making for dinner?” family. Dad was (and still is) the cook of the family. Most of us were picky eaters. My parents stuck with dinners that were quick, affordable, and those that they knew we would eat. “Tuna and Noodles” (cream of chicken soup, egg noodles and canned tuna) were in the weekly rotation. Along with “pigs in a blanket”, spaghetti (hold the sauce for me, told you I was picky), macaroni and cheese, pork chops and rice, and Bisquick pancakes for dinner (my favorite). If you haven’t noticed, not once have I mentioned a vegetable in the mix. I rarely tried new foods, because I wasn’t really forced to.
Figuring out how to eat healthy
It wasn’t until my later years in high school I wanted to start eating healthier. My high school friends and I have this joke where I made this comment, almost whining to them, “But I wanna eat the Baked Lays, I wanna drink the good stuff!”. What “the good stuff” was, I’m not even sure. And of course I look back now and have to chuckle that during those teen years, Baked Lays Potato Chips were “healthy” to me. I also thought Honey Bunches of Oats were healthy because they had oats in the cereal… I mean, see where I’m getting at?! I had no idea what healthy food was or wasn’t. When I got to college I had to figure out on my own what healthy eating was. As you can imagine with a college cafeteria, dorm room snacks, friends wanting to order pizza all the time, figuring out how to eat healthy was a struggle. I didn’t truly understand nutrition labels, or that low-fat packaged foods were not always a good thing. I went throughout college trying to eat what I thought was healthy… which probably consisted of Lean Cuisine frozen meals, Special K cereal, and vanilla yogurt. YIKES.
I started basing my meals off of whole foods
It probably wasn’t until after I graduated from college, my (now) husband and I moved and got an apartment together, that I truly made some major diet changes. I started trying WAY more foods in my early twenties than I had in my first 20 years of growing up. I started looking into what foods were good for you, from a nutritional standpoint. I stopped buying a ton of prepackaged foods, to cut back on added sugar. I started looking up recipes for homemade meals from scratch. I stopped relying on boxed dinners, and started basing my meals off of whole foods. I realized cooking from scratch wasn’t hard, and it tasted GOOD. If I nailed a homemade recipe and first servings turned into second helpings, I was excited. It was this sense of accomplishment in the kitchen I hadn’t really experienced before. Eating whole foods and making nutritious meals was FUN. If you would ask my 17-year-old self to make a homemade healthy meal from scratch, she probably wouldn’t even know where to start. Homemade mac and cheese, please. Cheese=dairy=food pyramid=healthy=add more cheese.
Avocados are now my BFF
I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter what your background, or the types of foods you ate as a kid, changing your diet to a more whole foods approach is possible. Despite not having the healthiest habits growing up, I certainly turned out just fine. I mean, avocados and I are now BFFs. I didn’t even touch an avocado until I was studying abroad in Australia, I was 21. [cue the gasps] But now if I don’t have avocados in the house, I don’t know what I’m supposed to have with my eggs, or on my toast, on my salad, or with stir-fry… on pizza… I mean I could literally go on forever.
If you want to make a healthy lifestyle change when it comes to your diet, one of the biggest things for me was cutting back on prepackaged and boxed foods. I stopped shopping down the middle aisles, and focused primarily on fresh foods. Cleaning up my diet has left me with much more energy, and I feel healthier and happier overall. If you want to make some changes but don’t know where to start, please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email! I’d be happy to help in any way I can.
- Did you learn what healthy food was at a young age?
- Did you grow up with sit-down, homemade meals?
- Who cooked in your house? Mom or Dad? (Grandpa or Grandma?)
I’ll leave it at that for now, but I am hoping to open up more of these discussions in the near future!
Have a super awesome weekend peeps!