Want to get yourself back on track as a healthy eater this year — or have you made a committment to eat healthier, period? If your recent holidays, like mine, were a non-stop parade of meals, cocktails, and treats, try my trick: Kick off the year with the Whole30 program for the whole family.
Whole30's been making headlines recently, so you may have heard buzz about it, but it's a short-term, restrictive program that eliminates potentially irritable foods from your diet, including sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy. I find it to be a great way to get my body balanced before resuming a regular Paleo diet (that's my own day-to-day) or any clean-eating approach. Following a Whole30 always helps me establish more stable blood sugar, sleep better, reduce food allergies, and clears up my skin. And it definitely helps me fit in my skinny jeans, of course.
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Can The Whole30 Work For a Whole Family?
Undertaking a Whole30 can seem daunting — it requires willpower, meal planning, and a commitment to cooking. And it can seem impossible when you are tasked with cooking for an entire family in addition to yourself. Other family members, especially kids, have different nutrition needs and trying to cook for everyone while staying compliant with Whole30 takes real work. But it can be done. And even if your entire family doesn’t follow the strict program, using a clean-eating plan introduces healthy eating habits for everyone.
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Here's My Biggest Tips for Making Whole30 Work for the Whole Family:
1. Meal plan with the family schedule
Many Whole30 recipes are time consuming and most families just don’t have time to cook those during the week. I meal plan next to our general family calendar
and try to pick a quick meal or a slow cooker recipe for those nights where I know I’ll be short on time. Then I save the more involved recipes for weekend days.
2. Include a few easy dishes that work for others
The main parts of our family meal ideas are always Whole30 compliant, but I also make an additional, easy side dish that rounds out our kids’ nutritional needs. A side of rice, a slice of bread, or even a sprinkle of cheese for the family members who are not following the strict program area all easy ways to make the meal work for everyone.
3. Plan for snack attacks
Snacking on the Whole30 program is discouraged, but I still like to be prepared when the snack monster shows up. Clean up everyone’s snack options and put any that don’t comply with the Whole30 program rules out of sight. I also keep a few Whole30-compliant snacks in my bag so that I don’t get stuck at a kid’s activity without a good backup.
Not willing yet to commit to a Whole30? Check out Family Style with Chef Jeff to learn how good choices in the kitchen can lead to life changing experiences for the whole family.