So, for those of you who took my challenge to “Strive for Five” fruits and vegetables over the month of September, how did it go? I know we still technically have the rest of today & tomorrow, but I’m guessing you’re going to go the distance and eat a few extra carrots 🙂 (you go mr. banana grabber man- get down with your tomato devouring self lady-friend!)
This has actually been my best month yet- I think knowing that I’d photograph my sticker calendar at the end of the month to post on my blog was good motivation! Each month I try to beat my record- my best record was 18 out of 31 days eating 5 a day. This month I broke the record & went 26- not counting tomorrow! I feel proud! And more importantly, I feel healthy.
So how did it go for you guys? What was one change you noticed internally or externally when you began to strive for five? Some people have told me they’ve lost weight. Others have told me they’ve discovered they don’t actually like fruit. Still others have told me that they’ll cut up veggies now & put them on their pizza instead of just eating it with meat. All great ideas to get in your veggies! Here are the top five things I noticed for myself while I’ve done Strive for Five:
- It can be too easy to fall into perfectionism when it comes to eating. A few weeks ago I went apple picking with my family & ate like, 5 apples & peaches and handfuls of raspberries in three hours. My mouth actually hurt later from all the fruit acid. Needless to say, I did NOT feel like eating any fruit the next day. I hadn’t skipped a day yet but I finally thought- “hey! I don’t need to be perfect! It’s o.k. if I have an occasional day where I don’t hit my goal!” Eating isn’t about being being perfect- it’s about enjoying what you have and exercising self-control. I should have eaten LESS fruit that day!
- Indulgence feels better when you’ve earned it. I was craving chocolate chip cookies last week so I whipped up a batch. Thanks to the tip of my brilliant sister- I froze 1/2 of the dough for later. This way I’ll have the dough made the next time I want warm cookies & I also don’t have 2 dozen huge cookies laying around that I “have to eat or they’ll go bad” 😉 When I hit my goal each day, it was really nice to sit down at night with a warm cookie & milk and savor it rather than mindlessly sneak them all day and feel guilty about it later. Anyone else feel me on this one?
- When I’m thinking about what I eat, I’m more thankful for my food. As my sister, Dave and our kids crouched over raspberry bushes to pick the luscious red berries, I felt so happy at the diversity of food God has given us to enjoy. I felt thankful for the farmers who grew it and the sun and rain that enabled it to bear fruit. At one point my sister started singing the doxology which she was going to sing in church the next day. If you don’t know it the words are: “praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.” I couldn’t think of a more fitting response to a bounty of glistening raspberries picked with people whom I love.
- Trying to eat more veggies helps me to be more creative with what I cook. With anything, it’s easy to fall into a rut- boring steamed broccoli on the side of your plate every night. A bag of dried out baby carrots in your lunch bag or a bruised apple. When I’m trying to consume so many veggies and fruits, I find that I begin to find new ways to use them or to try things I’ve never eaten or cooked before. Things like dragon’s lingerie beans, chinese cabbage, leeks or pickled turnips.
- Planning what I eat and when I eat it curbs impulse foods. Because I’m always thinking of when I can get my next helping of fruits or veggies, it helps me to plan ahead. It’s easier to incorporate fruits or veggies when I sit down for a meal- I’ve already planned and cooked (or packed) what I’m going to eat. But the hours between 10am and 1pm and 2pm and 6pm are the times of precarious eating for me (how about you?). I typically always need a snack at some point between meals & if I remember this before I run out for an errand that will take me a few hours, I’ll grab an apple or banana that I can eat in the car. Or I’ll drink a glass of water or mug of tea and eat some carrot sticks with dip and hour or so before dinner so I’m not ravenous & end up overeating.
Overall I’ve felt really good this month- healthy, energetic and enjoying food. I even ended up losing a few pounds! I wasn’t trying to do but is the kind of thing that seems to happen when you’re making decisions about what you eat rather than reacting to when your tummy is rumbling and you grab the first bag of chips thing in sight.
Here are some ideas I’ve had for the next month of blogs on eating/food. Would you vote for the ones you’d like to read about the most? Pick your top four & I’ll go with the top picks for the next four tuesdays in October.
- What’s a portion of veggies/fruit? It can be confusing knowing how much is enough/too little. Tips for clarifying how much you should be getting.
- Eating on the go/for busy people. I’ll be traveling a lot this month & have been thinking about how to keep eating healthy while on the road/in airports & figured I’m not the only one who could use help with this.
- My favorite healthy (and fast recipes) to help you get your daily veggie servings. I’d love to share recipes! Best cooking resources for healthy eating. Some quick tips on wading through all the websites, magazines and cookbooks.
- What’s the cost of veggies? How to get the most bang for your buck buying produce.
- Getting derailed on healthy eating. How to get back on track when you’ve eaten your way through a weekend (or month) of pizza, wings, beer, cookies, ice cream…..pick your poison 😀
- Fast food- is it even possible to eat healthy when you’re going through a drive- through? Learn the best & worst fast food picks to stay on track with healthy eating.
So, pick your top 4 for this month & I’ll blog away. Way to go to everyone who did strive for five! I hope this month has set some healthy patterns into motion that will stick around for the months to come! Even if you didn’t do it this month, there’s always next month 🙂