By Malika Yasmin
If you follow me on Instagram you are familiar with my simple, fuss free, healthy recipes which my kiddos enjoy. What you may not know is that it wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time it was nuggets, chips, and if I was lucky, rice. Saying I had a picky eater would be an understatement.
Early into my motherhood journey my son was diagnosed with Autism, and along with that came some health challenges. Most of those challenges were related to his stomach, gut, and overall poor diet. After seeing a few different doctors, specialist, and a nutritionist, I realized there was no quick fix. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and do what needed to be done. I set out to fundamentally change the way we would eat and live.
5 simple steps to a family meal plan that works:
STEP 1: Know Your Why?
Why do you want to change the way you eat? This is your motivation. It seems simple enough but you really have to think about it and envision it. Having a firm belief behind why you are making these changes will certainly play a role in how much effort you put forth, and how determined you will be in this process. I had a child who had major gut issues and the only thing that was going to help him was a radical change in his diet.
STEP 2: Do Your homework!
If you’re setting up a plan to alleviate a health issue, find out what can be done. If you can afford to see a specialist on that matter do so, at least to get pointed in the right direction. Reading books on the subject is a great way to get started regardless if its for healing a thyroid condition or just trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle. I knew I was trying to heal my sons gut so I began with Dr. Natasha Cambell-Mcbrides book, Gut and Psychology syndrome.
STEP 3: Elimination is key
This is not an easy task but extremely important. We are connected to food emotionally just as much as we are physically. In order to rebuild new and improved eating habits, we have to get rid of the things that will no longer serve us. We took out one major thing every week. First it was gluten, then sugar, then processed foods. I cleaned out my fridge (#myphamilyfridge) and my cabinets as my two young children watched. They were a little sad, but mostly confused. The big question? “Ok, so what are we GOING TO EAT now?”
STEP 4: KEEP IT STUPID SIMPLE
Food transitions are really lifestyle transitions. It’s more than just what you eat. It’s what your buying, where you are going, it’s a complete mentality shift. So be easy on yourself, keep it simple. Unless you are Martha Stewart, and like to make elaborate meals, go forth and prosper. For the rest of us, there are things you can do to make the transition easier. I chose to set my fridge up like a buffet, lots of different options that can easily be coupled together. I buy things that we like and store them in a way that my children can pick an ingredient, then build from there. Think chipotle, but without limits. You can also prepare meals and snacks ahead of time and make one pot meals for dinner. The major take-away is keep it easy enough to allow you success.
STEP 5: Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail
Write it out! When it comes to business, chores, schedules, and goals we all take a little time jot it down. This is no different. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to serve the purpose of being a visual guide or a reminder of what you had in mind. In the beginning I had no time to get elaborate on a computer, so I sketched enough columns and rows for the week then filled in some simple food ideas. Super simple and basic, but it kept me successful. That chart led me to shopping smarter, buying exactly what we needed for the week, and saving a lot of money. Since then I have found easier, neater templates, which I share on my blog. Download my weekly meal plan here.
We all come to these realizations, about our health and well-being in different ways. Whatever brought you here, let it serve as your motivation. Seek knowledge then implement it. Try not to over complicate what may already be complicated. Keep things simple so you can master them and really allow it to be a part of your lifestyle. Get organized and plan out meals, ideas, shopping lists, etc. Whenever you are having a hard time or feeling defeated, just remember why you started.
My name is Malika Yasmin, motherhood is my full-time job, however I also work as a family support specialist, serving families of children with disabilities. When my son was diagnosed with autism my world changed completely. I became passionate about health and wellness of all sorts. I particularly focused on healthier food options for my son and family in order to provide a better quality of life. I believe in order to obtain good health we must eat well, simplify life as much as possible, create happiness for ourselves & others, and maintain a purpose in life. My goal is to inspire and support the movement towards better health and wellness for everyone. #AllYouGottaDoIs
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2018 Powerful Voices of the Year is a Sunday Series, featuring guest bloggers & parents covering some of the most important topics of our time; race, racism, religion, pregnancy and birth, grief and loss, entrepreneurship, women's rights, immigration, nutrition, sustainability, climate change, transgender voices, transracial adoption, foster care, art, representation, and yoga for surviving through crisis.