Better than choice

We are a very active family. We love, love, love to be on the go and between my daughter’s hockey, swim lessons, gymnastic performances, my husband music, cycling obsession and hockey games and my yoga and workout needs we don’t have a lot of evenings and weekend morning free. Throw in two demanding careers a dog and that equates to a very busy life. 

I like the energy of these evenings and typically do not feel overwhelmed or resentful of the pace with one exception: food! What the heck are we going to eat, do we have the food in the house and who has time to make it before we move into our

For the most part, we are good.  I batch cook, when we BBQ the grill is filled to the max, when I cut up fruits and veggies I fill up 5 containers, we boil 8 eggs at a time. I also purchase our pre-made staples like hummus, fresh salsa and pesto from our local farm fresh store.  I would love to say I make my own granola bars and almond milk but I don’t. God bless those families that do, we are just are not one of them.  All of us would rather be out on a long bike ride or swimming than in the kitchen.

This is where things get tricky for me as a mom -nutritionist -naturopathic doctor. I know how I would ideally like my family to eat but yet unless I compromise to the point of resentment we can not access it all of the time. Perhaps it is my years of education or my roller coaster relationship with foods but my tendency is for perfection and I used to put a lot of pressure on myself in this area. 

What this would look like is weeks of stress and pressure to prepare the most balanced and healthy meals. I would expect nothing less than all organic, high protein, whole grain carb with 3 different types of veggies for each meal. I would meal plan, grocery shop and spend the weekends or evenings reluctantly meal prepping. This would come at the cost of sleep, movement and peace on my end. This is not how I wanted to be spending my time but felt I had to.

Of course with any life choice that is coming from a place of “should”, this behaviour lacked sustainability and I would ultimately become resentful, bored and stop doing it. Only to completely swing in the other direction that looked like more eating out, lots of boxed Mac and Cheese and frozen pizza and then the guilt and shame that follows from knowing you and your family are eating like shit.

Finally, I started to see this pattern and adopted a very simple but hugely impactful family food rule, for us, we always try to make the “better than choice” when it comes to our nutrition.

There is so much space in this for us. I can use my years of education to my advantage. I know nutrition and I know what is best and that best can always be changing.

So despite not having perfect meals planned and ready prepared in the fridge we can still eat well. When we are at the grocery store at the end of a long busy day, I can pull together a salad with a rotisserie chicken or quick scrambled eggs and toast.  When we eat out, I always opt for the better than a choice for example at Tim Horton’s I would get the chili and a multigrain bagel instead of the fried chicken wrap and a donut.

This strategy literally works every and anywhere.  Look at the options and “make the better than choice” and feel amazing because you are 1) doing your best 2) honouring that your best is always changing 3) you are honouring your own values as it relates to your health.