Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My Plate Transformations

All through my adult life, my meals always had specific parameters.  Breakfast was cereal or toast with a glass of milk or juice.  Done!  Lunch was a sandwich or a bowl of soup with a glass of milk.  Done!  Dinner always had one starch, one protein, and one veggie. And never deviate from this outline (yes, I am a little OCD!)

After the birth of my youngest daughter, my definition changed and I decided that my dinner plates would be better if I skipped the starch, so there would always be one protein and 2 veggies, usually one green, the other yellow/orange.  I even decided that we could lighten dinners up with soups and wraps and salads (behold the goal to lose the baby weight I had gained).  

About 5 years ago, my meal definition changed yet again. I decided that we did not have meat on our dinner plates every day... and so dawned the era of "meatless" at least twice per week and the move towards re-defining how I fed myself and my family.  I even started to introduce whole grains back in our pastas, breads, and wraps back into our family dinners.  It was a good thing that I decided soup and sandwiches were acceptable for dinner because I only knew how to be meat free with soups and wraps plus the occasional pasta with marinara sauce! 

Fast forward to now.  My idea of a meal has morphed again and I have embraced a complete plant based meals at least half of the time, with a conscious effort to make sure all meals for the week are balanced and healthy.  When meals do include meat, I personally eat less of it and/or I mix my lentils, or beans or tofu in with the meat;   something I call "hidden healthy".   Given that my husband and youngest daughter have not willingly signed on to a plant based diet, I resort to "hidden healthy" when I convert many of my traditional meals to vegetarian or cut back the meat. I have found ways to decrease the animal products in my daughter's lunches and breakfasts; I have introduced a better quality of breakfast cereal to my husband, and I am, once again indulging in the most important meal of the day.  Thank goodness for my juicer, green tea and my healthy breakfast muffins.

I am not completely ready to dive 100% into animal free diet, but I do know that I feel a lot better when I eat less of it.  Our plate transformations for breakfast, lunch and dinner are works in progress.  Cutting back the refined sugars, substituting healthier fats and not as bad for you sugars, and increasing veggies in lunches and dinners on a daily basis was my starting point.  There has definitely been a learning curve for me to find ways to creatively introduce plant based foods into my family's diet and find ways that they enjoy eating it. Learning to prepare plant based substitutions has certainly been a little time consuming, but I have to say, almost all of my attempts have been delicious.  In fact, the only "oops" I had was buying a commercially made vegan cream cheese.  It was a big disappointment... a waste of $6.00, but that will happen from time to time when trying new things.   All in all, I am liking these plate transformations... and more important, when my eldest daughter comes home for a visit, I will know how to cook for her, as she has embraced this lifestyle much earlier than I!

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