The Reality Of How My Family Lives A ‘Healthy Lifestyle’

I would say that 80% of the emails I get are from parents who are struggling with having their family and their children eat healthy. Even though it’s an email or a comment, I can tell that they are stressed, worried, and feel a sense of failure because their child or spouse just hates eating healthy.

As parents, we are responsible for the health and well being of our family, so living a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating are a sensitive and sometimes touchy subject. There are A LOT of different ways to live healthy and with those ways come A LOT of different opinions.

So why not give you mine right?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but never really had the ‘courage’ to do so. Saying how we ‘actually’ live is kind of scary, not that I am ashamed. But what if people think I’m a fraud?! Majority of social media and blogs today are all about perfection. It’s rare to see a REAL glimpse into someones life. As far as we know, all the other moms and dads are doing it perfectly, or at least better than you are right? Getting a good workout in every morning, eating healthy, feeding their kids all organic homemade, teaching their kids, dressing in the cutest clothes, and of coarse having the perfect house. One of my favorite quotes that I think fits perfectly is, ” Love her dress, hate her.”

So let’s begin…

How do we really live a healthy lifestyle in our family…

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There was a time when I had one baby where I made homemade crackers.

Yup.

Homemade crackers with different nuts, seeds, and all things healthy.

I remember an older mom friend of mine saying, “I CAN’T believe you are making your own crackers?! How do you find the time?!”

I laughed but in my head thought, “Well you can accomplish anything at nap time!” I also thought, anyone can afford to buy majority of their food organic. Vegan diets are easy. Eating out at healthy restaurants is do-able. You can make anything homemade, during that beloved nap time. Fitting in exercise is the easiest thing…yada yada yada.

Well my friends, my opinion has definitely changed. I woke up. Or in my case, I never slept. Having 3 kids under 4 will do that to you. So where do I/my family stand now you ask?

Here is our reality.

Right now, I like to call our life the “Survival Stage.” 

With 3 kids under 4, a husband who works two jobs and 60 plus hours a week, along with a massive load of student debt, well we are just trying to survive ;).

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Do we buy all Organic Food?

No.

In an ideal world we would buy organic meats, fruits, dairy, grains, etc. There was a time when I did this, again when I was a young mom of one, and I spent A LOT. At the time we were a small family, technically only 2 and 1/2, so we weren’t eating a lot, but buying organic in general was EXPENSIVE. I also shopped locally at the farmers markets and bought organic produce. I loved it.

But things have changed. Now with 5 mouths to feed, grown up bills, and our desert climate, organic isn’t always possible. I just can’t afford to spend 100 on produce alone. I can’t. I’ve been to our local farmers markets and you can buy a tiny things of berries for 8 bucks, and that would be a snack for my 4 year old. It just isn’t possible. Not with a mortgage and all the other bills right?

What about meat? I’m so excited because we just recently got a sprouts market in our city and their organic prices are so much better! If their organic meat is on sale and it’s a good and similar price to what I would pay for non organic, than I will buy it. Otherwise my friends, at this point in our life, I can’t spend 50 just on meat. Of coarse there is always the idea of incorporating for vegan/meat free dishes that way every meal isn’t solely meat based. But still, a package of organic chicken breast at my local store is about 20 bucks. (That’s one night of chicken dinner.)

What about Dairy? The same goes for dairy as it does meat. If it’s on sale, we buy it. If not, we don’t.

It’s a hard reality for me to share, but I’ve learned that we all, if not a lot of us, are not in perfect financial stability. We just can’t afford to pay 300 bucks a week on groceries,  and frankly I don’t really want to. I truly believe you just do the best you can. If you can’t afford organic, great! If you can, great! But don’t buy an 8 dollar mini organic watermelon. That’s just crazy ;).

Does that mean I’m buying crap?

No.

I still buy an abundance of fresh produce and majority of the time I make 3 meals a day for my family. Not always, but a lot of the time. Unless I had 3 hours of sleep the night before because I stayed up to watch the Bachelor. Then it’s cheerios for breakfast.

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Do your kids eat healthy? Do they eat vegetables?

Yes and Yes.

No and No.

Are we clear? haha! Here’s the lowdown on healthy eating with my kids. My girls are learning who they are and developing a sense of, “It’s my way or the highway” kind of attitude. It’s a fun stage. Sometimes when I place vegetables in front of them they either laugh, cry, scream, or just eat them. Everyday is different. But I try and be consistent. I serve veggies with every meal. Sometimes they eat them, sometimes they spit them out and tell me that was disgusting.

With that being said, my kids have had boxed macaroni and cheese. And Oreos. This goes back to that “Survival Stage” where I had a new born baby who nursed on demand every hour, a toddler who was going through pacifier withdrawls, a 4 year old who thought she was 16, and a husband at work. The LAST thing I wanted to do was think about what to make for dinner. When those days happen, don’t feel guilty about making a boxed macaroni and cheese. Just pat yourself on the back that your kids are being fed dinner! There were multiple times, yes multiple, where I would put a movie on to try and fit in a 30 minute nap only to wake up to find my 2 year old knee deep in a jar of nutella. It happens.

Do you exercise every day?

No.

At this particular time in my life I would say I exercise 3/7 days a week. Is it a good solid workout? I wish, but no. I’ve been blessed with very alert kids. Kids that at the age of 4 still don’t sleep through the night. Add a new born to that and when I wake up in the morning I’m crawling down stairs half asleep. I also have a husband who leaves at 6 in the morning for work and by the time he comes home, I am way to tired to work out.

With that being said, I try to fit in a walk, jog, or a workout video in every so often. But it’s not easy right now, and THAT is ok. There was a time when I had a 18 month old and a 3 1/2 year old and I wasn’t pregnant. I would run every day and get a great workout in. The kids were sleeping a little better and I felt more alive. That time will come again, but I know right now I just have to do the best I can. Are there moms who are better at this? Definitely. But I’m not that mom.

We are all different and we do things differently. Like I said, we do the best we can right?

Do you eat at healthy restaurants?

Yes and No.

(Aren’t you loving my answers? SO clear.)

If you ask my husband, I’m constantly begging him to try new healthy, vegan, and sometimes raw food places. Sometimes he is willing but most of the time he isn’t. If we eat out as a family, we try to be spending conscious and if I have a say, health conscious. We have definitely ordered a pizza, and my husband loves to take the girls to McDonalds. (I try and put my foot down on that, but marriage is compromise right?) It’s not a weekly thing or even monthly, but my girls have had fast food. (And I really like red burritos without cheese from Del Taco. AHHHH!!) But if we eat out, I usually always order sometime healthy/light and my girls usually stick to similar things, like macaroni and cheese, or chicken. They don’t really stray from that.

A long those lines, my girls love to eat at healthy juice places and have fresh juice and healthy baked goods. I usually take them with me to try new places and they are really open to doing things like that.

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In closing…

I love finding ways to live a healthier lifestyle. It truly changed my life and the way I feel. Somedays I am on top of it, and sometimes I am just trying to survive. I love to be in the kitchen, so I’m always trying to make healthier dishes. It’s a passion. I love sharing those recipes and ideas with others so they can try them on their family. I also love the way exercise and healthy eating make me feel. Nothing makes me feel more energized for the day then when I get a good solid workout in.

This is why I am SO excited about this breakfast book I’ve been working on! I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

But I’m not perfect, and neither are you. I’ll be the first person to say I love a big slice of chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookie! You have do to what works best for you and your family. And if you are a young mom with little babies like me, well then just remember you are doing the best and just trying to ‘survive’ :). There will be a time when all those babies are in school and sleeping through the night, (or so I hope!). Then getting up at 6 to workout will be easier right? 🙂

 

Again, this was kind of scary for me to share, but I hope that I was able to answer some of my most frequently asked questions! More importantly, I hope you feel better about yourself! Thanks for all of your support and love my friends!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for being so real and open!! It makes all of us other mamas feel better! Blogs usually do display perfection!!

  2. It’s all about moderation….and survival! We’ve always struggled financially, so eating organic, vegan, etc..it’s not doable! For our family of 6, our monthly grocery budget is $300-$400, and that includes cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes, tp, etc. But I still think we eat pretty healthy. Sure cereal is breakfast 90% of the time, but we eat out maybe once a month, I don’t buy premade meals, and our snacks are usually fresh fruit or veggies (though not organic).
    Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your real healthy life 🙂

    • I need some grocery spending tips from you Adelina! You are doing an awesome job! My kids love cereal, and it’s definitely a morning life saver :)!

  3. Thank you for being so brave! It’s an uphill battle trying to get a family to eat healthy but I think doing our best in our current stage of life is what it is all about. You do such a great job!!

  4. This is why I love your blog! You are not afraid to put it out there…the good, the bad and the ugly, and when you do, you show your true beauty. I am a mom to an 18 month old, “strong-willed” (I’ve been told numerous times) little boy. I try to do my best to feed him and my family healthy, organic foods, but there are times when I am satisfied if he just has something in his belly…even if it’s a chocolate chip cookie. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, so it is so refreshing to have someone admit and show the world that we aren’t perfect…we just do the best job we can at that time! So, Thank you!

    • Thank you Wendy, I really do appreciate your support! I’m so glad we can go through this together and being the best we can be! I have 3 strong willed kids, makes life veeeeerrrryy fun! hahah :)! Give that boy a big hug!

  5. WOOOOO! 😀 Yeah girl! Thank you for sharing this!! SO refreshing. Your blog has always been and continues to be one of my favourites! 🙂

  6. Rachel McEwen says:

    Amazing post! Thank you for your honesty. I feel that it is so much more important to be “real” than to seem “perfect.” I for one can relate to “real” rather than the “perfect” blogs that make me feel guilty. You’re amazing and your blog is amazing. It is my favorite and i share it with everyone I know. PS…I am finally coming out of the survival mode myself. It almost feels like I am crawling out of a cave and am beginning to see the light again….ha! The day will come for you too:)

    • Oh Rachel you are the best, I always love and appreciate your comments on my blog! THANK YOU for being such a sweet friend and supporter! I can definitely picture me crawling out of a cave looking mangled and tired but thankful we made it through haha! Except that means my babies won’t be babies any more, so I think I want to stay in that cave a little longer :).

  7. I love that you are always so honest and more importantly that you enjoying each moment with your girls. I can relate with you in several ways so it’s nice knowing someone else is going through similar things with myself.

  8. I read your blog and another blog that I love for the honesty. Get really sick of the sanitized “perfect mommy/perfect family” crap that I know is fake. Plus it makes all of us regular folk feel bad, lol. I cannot imagine having 3 children that young! I had one child and that stressed me out! Keep plugging away, and each stage will have it’s different challenges, but it will get easier. 🙂 Keep being open and honest, it truly is a breath of fresh air!

    • Thank you so much Jana! I think everyone is regular folk, no one just wants to admit it haha! Thanks for your words of encouragement, they mean a lot to me :)!

  9. This was a great post. Thank you so much for this. I feel sooooo much better for not being the perfect mom all the time and instead be the mom that just wants to make it through the day with everyone still alive. I like to think that they will thank me for it when they’re older. I’m sure yours will too!

  10. Good job on sharing this! I think people need to realize that healthy living is not all about organic spinach and organic meats. It’s about doing the best you can with what resources you have.

  11. fitmom of 2 says:

    thank you! I love your blog and have enjoyed reading it for about a year. Your honesty is appreciated and the humor you infuse is to die for <3

  12. Vanessa says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you for being so honest. I have always loved your recipes, and can not wait for your breakfast book!

  13. Thank you for such honesty! I am not even a mom (soon) and I still struggle to eat perfectly healthy/organic. Sometimes it just doesn’t make financial sense, plus we live kind of far from those types of places so it’s more convenient to just buy fresh, non-organic stuff. For me it usually comes down to, how would I rather spend my time? Traveling to a Whole Foods, shopping there then driving all the way back home or running to the store around the corner real quick and having extra time to enjoy my husband, go for a walk, do yoga etc. Food shopping is NOT that worth it to me usually! Thanks so much and keep up the great work on your fam and blog!

    • Whether we are parents or not there is so much pressure to do certain things, it’s insane! Spending time with your hubby is definitely a top priority, whole foods is overrated ahaha! 🙂

  14. Candice says:

    I just wanted to say that your latest post made my eyes water. It was real and honest and I’m so glad that you shared it. I beat myself up a lot as a mother. Always thinking I’m not good enough or how every other mother seems to have such control and grace with motherhood. But like you said, I simply try to do the best that I can. I came across your post earlier this year when I was trying desperately to find foods and recipes that my son would eat. It’s a bit refreshing because not only do you share food ideas, you bring so much more to the table in other aspects. Thank you 🙂

    • Oh Candice you are awesome, thank you! We all beat ourselves up and that makes me said, but I’m glad we can help each other out and pick each other up! Hope all is well with your son! Keep up the good work Candice!

  15. So refreshing to see an honest and down to earth blog post. At the end of the day we are all just doing the best we can right. You’re doing a great job!

  16. Arielle! You are amazing! This post made me love you and your family and your blog even more! xxx

  17. Samantha says:

    I don’t even have kids but this was very inspiring. Social media is all about displaying yourself from the best angle in the best light with the best clothes and makeup on, and it makes most normal people feel like they aren’t as polished and perfect as everyone else is. It’s refreshing to see someone tell it like it truly is.

  18. Meredith says:

    THANK YOU for addressing every frustration I face in trying to provide a healthy, but realistic lifestyle with my young family. I needed to hear someone say that doing the best we can is perfect. Now I can eat my conventional strawberries and be a little more ok with it. 😉

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