Organizing Theory & Artistry

November’s Theme: Healthy Eating

"Eat Your Veggies: At the farmer's market in Holland, MI" (October 29, 2011) Photo by Kate Ter Haar. From the Flickr Creative Commons.

With holiday preparations added to the general mix of life, the fall months are flying by.  November is here already!  It’s another month and time for another Ruly theme.

With our 10 pounds of Halloween candy piled beside me, I know that we need to focus on eating more healthy food.  I am also a realist though.  We, like every family, are busy and I have already told you that I am not the greatest cook.  So, if we take some of the change principles we learned earlier this year to make the path easier and engage in short-duration test projects, my goal this month is to try to change my diet in the easiest way possible.

First, my general guidelines:

  1. I am not cutting out “bad stuff” like sugar and candy or fatty things like fried foods but instead am making sure that I get a full serving of fruits and vegetables each day.  If I am still hungry for candy or some other indulgence afterward, I will allow myself to eat whatever I want.
  2. It will be definite recipe for failure if I attempt to buy a variety of wonderful fresh produce at the store and try all kinds of recipes.  I can already tell you the result of such an experiment.  Half the produce will be a rotted mess in my fridge and we will eat out rather than cook something complicated.
  3. Suze Orman issued a challenge recently on her show to not eat out for 30 days, both as an exercise in health as well as financial savings.  With the exception of special occasions and business meals for my husband, we will aim to eat at home.
  4. We are really going to try to exercise every day as well.  We ordered up Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred video from amazon.com which gives you 3, 20-minute workouts and promises results with just 20 minutes per day.  I have watched (but not done) one of the videos and it seems like it is a good workout for both men and women.  Amazon (or Jillian Michaels) was really thinking ahead on the sale of this video.  They give you an e-version of the video through Amazon for free after you buy it so you can get started right away while your motivation is fresh instead of hoping you are still motivated by the time the DVD arrives in the mail.

The Fruits and Vegetables requirement

I have no idea how much fruit and vegetables a person is supposed to eat each day.  I went online to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate site (which replaced the old food pyramid site) and found that the guideline for how much to eat each day is really simple.


Half Your Plate Should be Fruit and Vegetables



That’s it!  No ounces or cups or “servings.”  Just half of what you eat at each meal should be fruits and vegetables.  So if you eat a huge steak or several slices of pizza, you also have to eat a huge salad or a huge quantity of green beans or carrots to balance things out.  If you snack on a candy bar, you also have to eat a banana or apple.  Now that is a rule all of us can remember!

In practice, how could our family implement this?  We have a challenge because half of our eaters are under 6 and don’t really care for fruits and vegetables.  The adults like them but don’t have time to do a lot of peeling, chopping and cooking.  We also want to make sure that our veggies are relatively fresh and not laden with salt or sugar.  So, the quick options are:

Breakfast

  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Raisins
  • Orange juice or other no-sugar juices
  • Canned pineapple chunks in pineapple juice
  • Berry smoothie using frozen fruit and yogurt

Lunch

  • Salad of mixed greens or Greek-style (cucumber and tomato)
  • Carrot and celery sticks with hummus
  • Low-sodium tomato or V8 juice or fresh vegetable juice from our juicer
  • Raisins or grapes
  • Ravioli with vegetables inside (from the frozen food section)

Dinner

  • Broccoli (our big bag of frozen broccoli is likely to make frequent appearances)
  • Squash
  • Salad (again)
  • Whole grain Pasta with tomato sauce
  • *possibly more interesting dishes depending on my energy level

I am hoping that if we set the right example our children might start eating more fruits and vegetables too.

Coincidentally, this month the USDA is hosting an eat more fruits and vegetables video challenge with a $1500 prize for the best video.  You can check out some of the submissions here.

The USDA also is trying to teach people how to eat more fruit and vegetables without spending a lot of money.  They have catchy article titles like “Eat Right When Money’s Tight.”

So, this month will be about food and meal planning as well as organizing your life when you need to make a change.

How are your eating habits?  What are your strategies for eating more fruits and vegetables?  Please share in the comments.