Here are 5 Ideas to help you get out of your salad rut:
- Taco Salad- Making a great Taco Salad is easy. Start with a base of mixed greens of your choosing, add taco meat, beans, salsa, corn, cheese, black olives, tomatoes, avocado, and top with some crushed up tortilla chips!
- Caesar Salad Wrap- Caesar salad is a classic, but it can get boring. To change things up, try making a salad wrap. Get a tortilla, and inside put romaine lettuce, chicken breast, parmesan cheese, pepper, croutons, and drizzle your Caesar dressing over it. Roll up your tortilla, and now you have a delicious wrap!
- Southwest Salad- To make a great Southwest salad start with your greens. In sections, add avocado, cheddar cheese, tomato, black beans, corn, grilled chicken, and bacon bits. Squirt with some lime juice and add your favorite salad dressing.
- Crispy Chicken Salad- This salad is easy to customize! All you need are some greens, your favorite salad toppings, and chicken nuggets! Cut your crispy nuggets into small pieces and add to your salad.
- Classic Veggie Salad- A classic veggie salad may sound boring, but if you add super foods to your salad, your body won’t think so! Super foods are nutrient powerhouses that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some great superfoods to add to your salad are mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, carrots, black beans, spinach, and olives!
Work, school, sports practices, music lessons, rehearsals, and many other scheduling conflicts can make it seem impossible to sit down together for a family meal. We get so caught up in all of our commitments that we often end up eating breakfast bars on the go, and picking up dinner at the drive-through. A recent study by Eckrick showed that 40% of American families eat dinner together only three or fewer times a week. The report also showed that 88% of families would like to increase the time spent with their family at the dinner table.
It can be hard to work your family meals around your crazy life, but here are 7 reasons why you should try!
Better GradesA research study by the American College of Pediatricians revealed that “Teens who have dinner with their families seven times a week are almost 40 percent likelier to say they receive mostly A’s and B’s in school.”
Healthier ChoicesThe same study reveals that children ages 9-14 are 24% more likely to eat healthier foods when families eat meals together. Kids are more likely to be introduced to (and like) fruits and veggies. They are more likely to choose healthy snacks over salty and sugary snacks.
Better relationshipsHaving mealtime as a family has been linked to building better bonds within your family. Kids feel closer to their parents and are more likely to be open and honest about any issues they’re dealing with.
Mental healthFinding time to eat with your family can reduce stress in kids and adults. Rituals like mealtimes add some structure to a world that often feels frenzied and out of control. Knowing that one part of your day is going to unfold in basically the same way as every other day is comforting.
Teach New SkillsMealtime and preparation is a great way to get your kids excited about learning to cook. Kids are more likely to try new foods and meals if they help cook them. Let them help make the weekly menu, set the table, prepare the food- cooking is a basic skill they’ll need to learn eventually. When I was growing up, my mom assigned each of the kids one night to make dinner each month. It was a great learning activity.
Knowledgeable KidsKids who have family mealtime also have bigger vocabularies and faster language development. Children hear longer discussions, narratives, and hear more words. Language activities in preschool aged children can drastically affect their future literacy skills.
Save MoneyFamily mealtimes usually take some planning to pull off. Planning ahead can actually save you money! If you plan your mealtimes in advance you can lower your number of trips to the store. You also save on last minute fast food decisions. If you know you’ll still end up going out two or three times a week, plan in advance.
After I learned the positive impacts of having mealtimes with my family, I started doing my best to make it happen at least three times a week. My husband and I sit down together each Saturday and make our meal plan for the upcoming week. We make a list of everything we need for the week and get our grocery shopping done. If I’m feeling really ahead of the game, I even prep things that can be prepped for later in the week on Sunday afternoon to save time on week nights. We usually take turns cooking. Our daughter is only 10 months old, so she’s not much help in the kitchen (yet). Once dinner is done we eat together at the table. We even pull up the baby’s high chair to the table so she’s eating dinner with us too. She’s already got the art of back and forth conversation down. We can’t understand her babbling nonsense yet, but she understands that people take turns when they’re talking.
Making mealtime a priority can change your family dynamics in so many positive ways. These are only a few of the major benefits. One thing that is important to remember is that every family is different. What works for my family might not work for yours and vice versa. Tailor your mealtimes to YOUR family and find what works for you. If you can’t make it work every day, pick a couple nights a week. If dinners are impossible for your family, have breakfast together each morning. The most important thing is to bond with your family and create healthy conversation and connection.
Get back on track this month! Let’s check in on those New Year’s Resolutions. My resolution this year is to stop drinking soda. I didn’t do as well as I wanted this month, but I still made a major improvement. I may not have completely stopped drinking soda this month, but I went from drinking soda EVERYDAY to going 19 days last month without soda. Part of my issue was that I didn’t plan for what I would do when those soda cravings and caffeine withdraws came. I’ve evaluated my progress for the last month and know that I need to make a few more changes if I really want to eliminate soda. Here are some tips that I’ll be using, and you can also use to ensure that the rest of the year goes a little smoother!
- Don’t beat yourself up! – If you didn’t do as well as you had hoped you would, that’s ok. You are human, and every day is a new day. Pick yourself back up and start again!
- Check-in and Reevaluate your goals monthly – Did you fall off the wagon because of lack of willpower, or were your goals too unrealistic? Sit down and evaluate the past month to see where the issues were. If it was too hefty of a goal, break it down. If you didn’t have the drive, try thinking of a way to reward yourself when you do well.
- Create an action plan with steps- If you’ve evaluated and concluded that you need to adjust your goal, try creating a SMARTER goal. SMARTER stands for:
- Specific- Clearly identify what you hope to achieve. Specific goals have a much greater chance of being achieved than broad goals. Can your goal be broken down into smaller goals? If your goal is to “eat healthier,” you probably won’t make it far because your goal is too broad. If your goal is to “eat three servings of fruit each day,” you are much more likely to accomplish your goal.
- Measurable– Be sure to identify concrete criteria for measuring progress. How much? How many? When will I know when my goal is complete?
- Action-Oriented– Create a plan of action on how you are going to reach your goal. Have steps in place on what to do if you feel like going back to your old habits.
- Realistic– Is your goal consistent with other goals you have, and do they fit with your long and short-term plans? Make sure your goal is realistic for your current circumstances.
- Time-Based– Give yourself a timeline! Ensure you have deadlines and try your hardest to stick to them.
- Enthusiasm– Approach your goals with an open mind and positivity. Know your reason for making the goal in the first place. Evaluate and reevaluate regularly.
- Rewarding– Reward yourself for every major milestone and encourage yourself to stay focused.
- Find an accountability partner- An accountability partner is so beneficial when it comes to reaching goals. Find someone with a similar goal and be there for each other.
- Don’t give up- Even if you don’t get the results you want, look at the positives, rework your goal, and try again. Slow progress is still progress.
- Celebrate! – Every time you reach a milestone share your progress and celebrate!