Real Food Challenge: Week 3 review

Okay, there’s been a lot of cheating going on over the last three weeks and (I blame it on camera issues) that is the majority of what I’ve been sharing with you (and will be sharing again today).  Why share my “failures” you ask instead of just telling you about all the wonderful things our family has been eating?  Well, failure is a normal part of life and I am hoping to share that, even though I’m not “perfect” we’re still doing this Real Food Challenge and making serious changes in our lifestyle.

That’s what it’s all about, right?  Not just surviving the 100 days but actually making permanent changes!  I’ve got a lot going on in my life beyond the normal day-to-day of raising four small children and while I feel taking this challenge is really important to my family’s well-being I didn’t want to sacrifice my sanity to it.  We break the rules occasionally–ONLY OCCASIONALLY–and, to be honest, every time we do I realize how much better following the rules is!  Take last night for example…

My mother in law took the girls overnight last night (I have yet to check in… I hope it went smoothly!) and my husband and I decided to take Punkin out for a belated-birthday night bowling (we were foiled by the insane blizzard we had here in CT two weeks ago).  Peanut came too but was happy to watch the crazy lights and the girls at the table next to ours for most of the bowling.  Then came time to eat.  I already knew we’d be ordering pizza but we went a little crazy and Christian also got nachos and curly fries.  I’d COMPLETELY forgotten to bring food for Peanut (he’s only really started eating food at every meal this week) and I think Christian thought the fries would be okay for him.  Wow.  It was the most carb heavy, fat heavy, nutrient deficient meal I’ve had in a long, long time!  I’ve been very consciously trying to include two different fruits and/or veggies per meal (it’s one of the mini-challenges suggested by 100 Days of Real Food) and this meal fell completely flat.  I certainly wasn’t about to count the tomato sauce on the pizza and there were tomatoes on the nachos but they were the bland grocery-store beef-steak type that are much less nutritious than “real” tomatoes (there are better tomatoes at the grocery store but nothing compares to the difficult-to-ship heirloom and homegrown tomatoes that you buy in season).  I gave Peanut a bunch of tomatoes and olives (why  not start new foods at the bowling alley?!) and Punkin only ate pizza.

What’s the harm?  Well, in the long run an occasional night out with crappy food isn’t going to kill any of us BUT I don’t like that our special night was topped with such crappy food.  Special should not be tied to Crappy Food.  Plus I didn’t feel good after I ate.  I’ve been having a salad at least once a day for a few days and I think my body was in shock with the lack of fiber and veggies in this meal!  After a morning does of oatmeal/quinoa/apples I’m feeling much better.

So, how will I overcome this issue in the future?  Well, if I’m lazy we’ll do the same thing again… but I’d have to be REALLY lazy.  If I’d thought it through (there was very ltitle thinking going on about food at the bowling alley, I’d just spent the whole afternoon making sure I had every tiny detail organized for the girls’ night with grandma–Pinky wear’s cloth diapers at night, Twinkles wears disposables, Pinky needs her water bottle, you can’t put them to sleep in the same room, toothbrushes packed in the front pocket of their back packs… they aren’t away from me very often!  When we go bowling again we’ll go in the morning (sooooooo much cheaper!) and we’ll pack our own snacks OR skip the food alltogether and focus on the bowling!  Sticky or greasy fingers don’t make for a good score anyway–Christian beat me by THREE points because my ball slipped both times on my last frame!

So, back to the review of the week:  This week I tried to prep a lot of food ahead of time.  I made a big batch of brown rice (why have I been mixing brown and white all these years?  Brown rice is DELICIOUS!), a batch of forbidden rice, a batch of oatmeal and another of breakfast quinoa.  I soaked black beans overnight and have been using them in my favorite black bean salsa recipe (yum!) and made a batch of tortillas to go with it.  We had a lot of quesadillas/burritos this week and everyone loved it! I also toasted a bunch of nuts and seeds for topping our hot breakfast cereal and I ended up making trail mix with them too.

Here are the main things we had for our weeks meals–

Breakfasts: oatmeal/quinoa topped with nuts/apples/chopped apricots/raisins; cheerios (when Chris wakes up with the kids he’s less creative than I am); fried eggs; omelets (using the salsa is superb!); toast-eggs (it has a real name but it’s when you cook the eggs in a hole in the toast); breakfast sandwiches; blueberry pancakes.

Lunches: Pumpkin butter/peanut butter sandwiches; lentil soup; ham/milti-grain ciabatta sandwich (purchased bread, it was a splurge cheat–I need to learn to make ciabatta bread!); burritos/quesadillas with black bean salsa; pasta or rice and mushroom marinara (the kids did not have spicy sausage but mine did);

Dinner: Roasted chicken with creamy mushroom rice (OMG I thought I’d died and gone to heaven it turned out so well!); lentil soup with sausage; taco cups with beans and rice; spicy sausage and mushroom marinara;

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