When I was thinking about signing up for the I Quit Sugar program, I had a few concerns about how the program would work for our family. These are really common concerns that often come up in the forums, so I thought I’d let you know what worked for us.
Would we like the food?
Most ‘diets’ I have been on have been pretty disappointing food wise. Eating felt like a chore and meals rarely filled me up. IQS isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle. The idea is to provide recipes that are tasty and appealing, that you would want to eat again. Recipes that you can incorporate into your meal plan once the program is finished. We were really surprised with how tasty the recipes were. I’m not saying we loved every meal, but I can categorically say that we have enjoyed a great majority of them. The serves are generous too. I never went hungry and often couldn’t finish a meal!
I did make a rule that we would try all the meals once, even if they didn’t appeal on paper. So many people immediately dismiss a recipe if they don’t like the look of it but, in my opinion, we are paying good money for these recipes. Why not give them a go? I can’t tell you the amount of times we have been pleasantly surprised!
I’m really busy, will I have the time to do this properly?
When I did my first round I was working full-time, studying part-time and Mum to a child who refused to sleep through the night. Somehow though, I made it work. It is so important to do the Sunday cook up. It doesn’t have to be done on a Sunday though…if another day works best, do it then.
Be flexible. Everyone is busy in one way or another so we can’t be expected to stick to the plan 100%….and IQS don’t expect that. They give you the knowledge to stray from the plan and still choose something healthy to eat. If you don’t think you can manage 7 nights of cooking, fill up your freezer with leftovers, have a night where you have an omelette for dinner (a great way to use leftover veg!), or have a pizza night. Every week we have a pizza night. I make the bases myself and we use whatever we have left in the fridge.
I often prepare meals the night before, once the kids are in bed. Then when either hubby or I get home from work, it’s popped in the oven and cooked. We have dinner early…around 5.30pm so it’s important that most of the prep work is done in advance. I find this makes the evenings a lot less stressful too!
Make use of the Guides sections. There are some great tips for fast dinners and easy lunches as well as breakfast alternatives.
My husband is not going to like it
I flat-out refuse to make separate meals for everyone. If you don’t like what I’m making for dinner, make your own.
Ok…that sounds harsh, but really, I’m a busy person! So, whenever the meal plan came out I would review it and just slightly alter a meal so hubby would be happy to eat it. I’d change the protein, add rice or pasta for his serve, vegetables that he’s more likely to eat etc. Changing the protein or vegetables in a meal isn’t going to get you off track, it’s still within the IQS guidelines for a healthy meal and if it means you’ve got a husband who is happy to eat the same meal…go for it!
Are the meals kid friendly?
Our 2 year old ate 4 serves of San Choy Bow the other night. Yep…they are kid friendly!
We are lucky because our little man is perfectly fine with really flavoursome food. But, of course there will be dishes that I know he’s not going to be happy to see on a plate. I never serve him a different meal to us because I think he won’t eat what we are having. He gets what we have, but usually deconstructed. If we have a sauce, it’s in a bowl on the side for him to dip in if he would like to. If it’s a curry or something with lots of spice, I will often add an extra dollop of natural yoghurt to his to make it more palatable for him.
I make sure he has something on the plate that he does like…he loves protein any way he can get it so that’s easy! I also don’t like anyone leaving the table until we have all finished. Quite often, if he says he doesn’t like something, he gets bored waiting for us to finish and will just start eating anyway.
The best bit of advice came from Erin from Dreaming of Almonds when she said that she asks her children to take a thank you bite of everything on the plate. A thank you to the person who made the meal. My son has just started doing this and has discovered that he actually enjoys some of the things he’s tasting!
Eating healthy is so expensive
Unfortunately it is, but there are ways to keep the costs down.
I buy all my nuts, flours and spices online (I use 2brothersfoods but I’m sure there are plenty of other sites out there as well), and do my fruit and veg shopping at actual fruit and veg stores or a farmers market instead of supermarkets. My local fruit and veg shop sells coconut oil cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen! Meat I get from my local butcher, or I buy the marked down meat from the supermarket. Call me tight, but we try to save money any way we can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the marked down meat and it’s great to have in the freezer for a cheap meal.
Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season – even if it’s not on the meal plan. Swap the expensive stuff for the cheaper stuff. Buy broccoli instead of broccolini, beans instead of asparagus. Buy in bulk – my fruit and veg shop sells bags of zucchini for $5. These are great for hiding in meals, zucchini slice, muffins, smoothies etc. Discounted lemons can be juiced and frozen. Herbs can be expensive so if you can, grow your own.
Learn how to store your herbs, veg & fruit correctly to get as long as possible out of them. Once an avocado is ripe, throw it in the fridge to slow the aging process. Store coriander in a jar of water in the fridge, covered with a plastic bag – you will get weeks out of it this way.
Study the meal plan. If you have meat in the freezer, change the protein in a recipe and use the meat you have. I’m not really a salad fan, so if a recipe asks for salad leaves on the side, I’ll add spinach to the meal instead. We always have spinach in our fridge so it’s not costing us much more. A recipe asks for pistachios sprinkled on top but you only have almonds? Use almonds. There are some simple swaps that will save you money in the long run.
I have done the program quite a few times now so I have a system that works for us and have learnt a lot along the way. Hopefully the tips above can speed up the process for you and get you and your family enjoying the program to the fullest without worrying about how things will work for you.