Healthy(ish) Family Food Choices

Growing Up a Food Lover

If you are anything like me, you love food. Love cooking it, eating it, exploring new foods…

When I talk about my travels it usually starts something like this ~ Oh, you are going to Dublin, you need to go to the Queen of Tarts, their scones will change your life! Oh and the Guinness Stew at…what’s that? Yes we did some tours and explored, but you really need to check out this little cafe…

(For real, if you go to Dublin, Queen of Tarts is simply Ahmazing!!!)

Growing up, my family was that family that was loud and noisy, full of laughter and always cooking. Birthday dinners were just family affairs, with 40 people and a huge layout.

Food was and still is our language of love. But, real food. Everyone learned how to cook simply by being there. We all learned to make soups and breads and sauces from scratch from Grandma and our various Aunts.

Very distinctly do I remember the time that my Aunt told me when I was a teenager that there is nothing that we go buy that we can’t make ourselves. And, she said, generally better although sometimes it requires some practice.

Cooking as an Adult

I don’t just love eating junk, I enjoy real food. You will rarely find me snacking on a bag of chips, and frozen pizza’s aren’t my jam. But put me in front of a killer homemade soup or bread and I’m going to be in heaven.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Unfortunately, that love of food combined with the freaking fantastic BBQ and burgers in Texas (and sadly my closely approaching birthday and waning middle-age metabolism) means that my weight struggles are real.

I love to cook for my family. Unfortunately, they don’t always love what I cook.

When I pictured being married, I had this vision of my husband out grilling a salmon while I spruced up a salad.

The reality is I married a great guy that secretly has a 15 year old boy trapped inside. I honestly thought that he wasn’t eating what I consider good food simply because he didn’t have anyone making it for him…I mean really, who prefers frozen pizza over fresh?…ummm…turns out my husband does.

Creating a Healthy Home Environment

We won’t get into the whys and reasons for understanding that your spouse isn’t putting on  a show before marriage. I totally get it, people are who they are.

Never the less, here I am. Aside from his shameful dedication to plain white bread and aversion to beets, he’s a pretty wonderful husband.

Marrying Different Food Tastes

Before my daughter was born, I had kind of given up converting him to a healthier eater. In fact, the opposite came true.

In an effort to spend time together and not have a skyrocketing grocery bill or hours in the kitchen prepping 2 meals, I ended up eating a lot of the unhealthy choices he prefers.

This led to some dramatic weight gain compounded by an unexpected pregnancy.

I am certainly not blaming him for my weight issues. At the end of the day, everything I choose to put in my mouth is my own doing.

It is not his fault that I see a box of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and my brain automatically thinks, hey those are tiny, you could totally eat like 7 of them.

In the past I controlled my weight by only having healthy food in the house. And wine, I always had wine.

Now however, our pantry is constantly stocked with chips and candy, white bread, frozen pizzas, Honey Nut Cheerios….you get the drift.

Wake Up Call

I knew I was heavy, but had been dedicated to having pictures only taken from the chest up. Until Disney World.

We took my daughter to Disney World when she was 2 1/2. Not only did we get photos taken by the Pass Photographer’s in front of the castle and with Santa Goofy and the Epcot Ball, but I found that it was hard to fit into some of the seats and the rides.

The photos were both endearing for the memories and startling for the reality of my size.

So, in a way, it really is the most magical place on earth since it has launched me in the direction of healthier choices.

That trip was totally a wake up call. I started taking some time to really look at the families all around me. The correlations between the parents styles and the children’s styles was generally very obvious.

Setting an Example

Coming home I started looking into childhood obesity and all of the related health consequences. The number one factor was repeatedly stated to be the lifestyle that the parents led.

I took a kinesthetics class and learned about all of the correlations from being sedentary and overweight with higher risks of diseases.

What if I am making choices that are limiting the quality of time that I will get to spend with my daughter?

I was determined that we were going to start a gentle transition to a healthier lifestyle.

I knew I needed to set a better example for my daughter and live the best life I can. I joined Weight Watchers and had some initial success.

I didn’t want to go to meetings for the rest of my life, and it was too expensive for me to feel comfortable spending that much every month. With the closest meeting about 25 minutes away, I needed to look for something that fit my needs a little better.

Finding the Best Food Fit for Family and Self

So, I looked around some more and came across 2B Mindset.

I read everything I could find about it and thought it sounded like a natural fit for me. I ordered it up and loved the videos. Ilana is incredibly personable and I would happily spend an afternoon having a cup of tea with her.

I can’t recommend the program enough for her friendly and approachable simple solutions.

Which leads me to now. I’m  here on this journey trying to make it all work.

Swirled Tropical Blueberry and Mango Smoothie

Learning to Plan Ahead

The better I plan, the more success I have.

Because, let’s face it, if you haven’t planned a lunch and you are getting super Hangry, that box of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls is going to jump right out and say “Eat Me! I’ll be super quick and satisfying”. LIES! I’ll be hungry again in an hour.

Committing to being the healthiest self and healthiest mom is a journey that isn’t easy. Trying to balance home school, housework, social needs, blogging and my part time job while still having time to create real food and hopefully get a shower is a lot most days…again, why I was up at 5:42 today.

But, I’m determined that eating a carrot rather than a Cheeto is more important than Facebook.

Planning out my time and my meals intentionally has been the key to my success.

Finding a Support Group

One of the aspects of Weight Watchers that really did work for me, was the accountability and support of weekly meetings.

You’ll hear me say it in reference to Homeschooling my kiddo and in exercising and just life in general. A lot of your success depends on the support group you surround yourself with. Finding a group of people that are on the same path as you can make all the difference in your outcome.

If you’ve never tried Weight Watchers and it’s in your budget, I can tell you it is one of the most supportive and non-judgmental groups you’ll ever get to be a part of. However, it is not a great fit for me right now.

Trying to build that connection and accountability into my life again, I’ve started putting together my weekly meal plans that are 2B friendly.

Committing to posting and making them available each week is helping me to stay accountable to myself.

If they help you save time by giving you a starting point for your meal plans, then please enjoy.

I will give you the caveat that I am curating meals from around the web and haven’t necessarily tried them all prior to posting. I will update with any that we did not care for at the end of the week.

Also, I’m trying really hard to help turn my daughter into a foodie and I’m working to create an environment that my husband enjoys too, so we work on the 80/20 rule here.

80% of the time I’m focusing on staying on target with the plan, 20% of the time I’m including things that my husband is really attached to.

It’s not About Perfection

But, even then I’m working to find ways to create a healthier option.

We tried cooking ribs for the first time. They were fall off the bone tender…I did not care for the homemade sauce however, so my mission is to find or create one that I love with less sugar than the store bought options.

I’m a big believer in homemade. I am not a Doctor or nutritionist, but basic health principles state that something with preservatives cannot be better than something without.

So I am finding recipes that work for our family, what we already like and then adding in something new to try each week. These might be different than your families likes and dislikes. Which probably change from one day to the next if you have a toddler living with you.

Isn’t 3 a wonderful age? Honestly 3 really is the bees knees, but it does come with it’s own unique struggles.

To help you get off on the right foot, I’m including one of the visual recipes I’ve created for my daughter. As she is not reading yet, having a recipe that is mostly visual puts her in the role of lead chef and me as the assistant. Enjoy!

Enjoy, and let me know if these are helping you too. Any tips or tricks you use to help your family stay on track?




I’m a Fort Worth based mom with a passion for roasted beets, chocolate chip cookies and creating play based learning opportunities. I’m trying to set the example of a healthy lifestyle but find I enjoy coffee in my jammies more than running. I’m a work in progress and you are welcome to come hang out with me anytime.


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