we certainly did!
This husband and wife, who are thriving in their REAL food journey, recently relocated to Florida (near family members) for the winter, and these family members have not yet discovered all the benefits of REAL food! The couple's comment sums it up pretty well:
When we saw this, we laughed and said, "Wow, they could be talking about our family!"
Maybe this sounds familiar to you too...
at home we prepare and enjoy the REAL foods we love...roasting vegetables, preparing huge veggie-loaded salads with homemade dressings, and savoring healthier sweet treats for dessert, whether it be dark chocolate, or something more special like the Smarty Pants Chocolate Chip Cookies.
For major holidays, we travel a few hours from home, and are blessed to have many of our close family members all within 20 miles of each other in the Kansas City area. Many of these family members are not on the same REAL food journey, so we land in a world of fluffy white chocolate chip pancakes, Lucky Charms, Klondike bars, Goldfish and Keebler Club crackers, Pillsbury breadsticks, Oreo cookies, and a fridge full of soda (just to name a few).
We have learned to laugh rather than cry, focusing on the fact that we get to spend precious time with our family, who by this point have graciously let us come in and be involved in preparing meals with a few of our REAL food staples. (Actually, we think they secretly enjoy trying new things, and letting us help take the load off meal preparation!).
We have now been working at this for several years, and this year we even had a family member request the Seasoned Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes as part of our Thanksgiving dinner -- shouldn't we consider that a huge WIN?!
With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, you may be preparing to gather or stay with family, even if it is a smaller group than normal this year. If stepping into a processed food universe is something you face or can relate to, we hope these tips and ideas might help!
Tips for Success (and to save your sanity!):
- Knock their socks off! Rather than getting frustrated, look at this as an opportunity to inspire and motivate others! It may not happen immediately, but planting these seeds will eventually produce a harvest! Last year, we made the Sweet & Spicy Brussels Sprouts as part of Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks later, a family member called and asked, "Hey, remember those Brussels sprouts you made for Thanksgiving...how exactly do you make those?" WIN!
- Planning is key! We know we say this ALL THE TIME -- if possible, plan out a few meals or sides you want to make during your visit. Look at the recipes and evaluate if there might be spices or other ingredients that family members won't have on hand, and then pack a recyclable bag or a cooler and take them with you (this has been a great convenience for us)!
- Pack a few staples! Sometimes we will take our own bread, pasta or whole grains, so we have something we know is whole grain, rather than being stuck with only "refined white" options. We have also found it helpful to take some snacks like nuts, granola and popcorn, as well as sweet treats like a dark chocolate bar or two.
- Offer to jump in and help with meals! Your family may be relieved to have someone else take charge of planning and preparing the meals. And, don't underestimate the benefits of driving the train on planning. If no one has thought about the meals in advance, 5:00 will roll around and everyone will say, "What should we do for dinner?" And, of course, the response is likely to be, "Let's order pizza." Having a plan will help avoid this situation.
You never know who you might inspire!
After seeing how easy it can be and experiencing how delicious these meals are, we have been thrilled to see family members inspired to prepare recipes on their own, such as the Sweet Potato Frittata, Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork over Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Egg in the Hole Acorn Squash and the Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal.
There is nothing better than receiving a picture of a REAL meal that a family member prepared and enjoyed!
After visiting family, when we return home, we are craving all the meals loaded with REAL ingredients that we missed for a few days. It is amazing how much better everyone feels when we get back to our REAL food routine, hoping that this helps teach the "OK in moderation" skill to our kids!
We are always so thankful for the time we got to spend with our family, and also thankful for the opportunity to get back to the food we love so much!
Knock Their Socks Off Holiday Ideas:
Since we are just over a week away from Thanksgiving, we wanted to give you a list of just some of the meal ideas that may be a great fit for your holiday dinner table. These are fantastic options for Christmas too. Plus, we have some extraordinary leftover turkey ideas!
Is it time for a paradigm shift in your family's routine? Watch this entertaining video from Zonya!
Transform your leftover turkey:
And we can't forget the sweet treats!
This could be the year that YOU inspire someone else to Eat REAL!
We received an update from our Eat REAL America member. She said, "I served fruit with the pancakes and even got them to agree on adding pumpkin purée & pecans to those white fluffy things. The SUPER good news..... 2 nephews, aged 21 & 34, contacted me in the last week for help with their eating habits!"
Remember, it's about progress not perfection!
Do you have any successful strategies that work for your family?