User post: How do you define "eating healthy"?

Hailey tomato
There has been much talk in my house lately about eating better and living a healthier lifestyle. I have never been one to spend too much time focusing on my eating and exercise habits (or lack-thereof) and in the past few years, my figure has spilled the beans on that big secret. I've always been a fair weather fan of exercising and still sneak the occasional pack of peanut butter M&M's. It's not that I make completely bad choices in the food that I eat, but I really don't have a set regimen. However, it's becoming more apparent that since there are now children involved, I possibly need one. Read on.

My husband is determined and very passionate about eating healthy and exercising, he's got an entire blog about it. The proof is in his rapid weight loss over the past 6 months. It's also obvious how badly he wants me and the kids to join him on his journey of eating and living primal/paleo. But you wouldn't know it when he brings home a tub of cookie dough for us (enabler!) However, he redeemed himself this summer with his deck container-garden. I was able to make plenty of my favorite Caprese salads with garden fresh basil and tomatoes.

Fresh Caprese Salad
I don't disagree that his idea of healthy eating and weight loss isn't a good one (because it's obviously working for him), but I'm just not one of those people who can follow a specific plan or go on a "diet". In fact, I kind of hate that word and the idea behind it, so I try not to use it. I am more of a go with the flow, take it as it comes kind of person and believe that we can make conscious decisions about the food we eat without too many crazy restrictions. Thinking about following a specific plan just gets me all sorts of out of whack. Also, I love ice cream.

At the same time, I realize that I cannot just think of my own health anymore. I have a family and it's up to me to make sure my kids are learning about being healthy and that we act on what we know and preach to them. Admittedly, I struggle with feeding my kids super healthy food on a daily basis. I could give you a slew of excuses for why that is. I'm a big fan of quick and easy (no, not fast food all of the time, rarely ever actually). So, I go with what we have in our house on any given day. Luckily, my kids like fruit and "some" vegetables. It's tough with the soon-to-be five year old, because she's picky, like her mother. However, she will sit and munch on red peppers and carrots as a snack. We can give the toddler anything and she'll eat it. That can be good and bad at times. My goal with the "second child" was to only feed her very healthy foods right from the start, so we don't have the pickiness problem later on. (It's going to work, right? RIGHT?)

My main problem is that I'm not overly creative in the kitchen. Not that I don't want to be, but I don't have time each day, so if I don't plan meals ahead, say on a Sunday, we fly by the seat of our pants on the weekdays. My kids eat a lot of chicken and fish (of the frozen variety). My toddler is obsessed with apples (there is a debate on whether or not that was her first word). We don't stay completely away from "junk" food but we're careful not to get super junky food. Like, snacks are mainly graham crackers and baked goldfish snacks. We totally nosh on trail mix (yes, the kind with M&M's, sue me) and yogurt with granola sprinkled on top. Want to know what my father-in-law ate for a snack when he was a kid? LARD. That's right. So, I don't think we're doing all that terribly here.

Most importantly, we are conscious of our eating habits. We don't eat bad all of the time but we leave room for improvement. In my opinion, this is something that will come with time. Our kids are watching us and it's important that we at least talk about it and teach them what healthy eating habits are. It's a learning experience for us all.

Don't stop reading here. Please take a look at what my Yahoo! Mother Board sisters have to say about healthy eating.

How do YOU define healthy eating?

*Original ParentSphere post