Looking to get healthier in the new year but not sure how to do it while also feeding your family? The 21 Day Fix can absolutely be tweaked to cook healthy meals for kids, too.
I don't often discuss "diet" things here because as a general rule I just try to feed my family a balanced meal plan of healthy foods. I try to make our meals home cooked whenever possible and with a good balance of veggies. But unfortunately, I personally struggle with serving up the right quantity of food for myself. Too much of even a healthy thing is still not good.
A friend of mine mentioned her attempt at the 21 Day Fix. I'm always skeptical of diets but when I looked into the details and discovered that there were no funny processed foods and no food category that is banned in particular, my interest was piqued. When I discovered that it is more of a resetting of your expectations for serving size, I was sold.
The best part is, all you need is a specific set of colorful measuring cups that you can grab on Amazon for less than $10. There is nothing else to buy. This set here comes with additional recipe ideas and meal plan suggestions. There is also a FREE app for iPhone that helps you track your meals for each round of 21 days. You can find that here.
I did a full round of the 21 Day Fix with great results last spring. With the holiday season, I've definitely fallen off the bandwagon and need another reset. If you are resolving to eat healthier as a family in the new year, I thought you'd appreciate my thoughts on how to approach the 21 Day Fix from a family eating standpoint.
Random thoughts from my experience with the 21 Day Fix and how it affected our family:
- In the 21 days on the program, I lost 8 pounds. I wasn't looking for a crazy drop because those never stick. I also bent the rules a bit because my focus was purely on resetting my portion control expectations.
- At NO POINT was this discussed with my kids as a "diet" or that mommy was trying to lose weight. I stressed that the cups I was using to measure the food were just simply to help me know how much of the food was healthy for my body. I tried to measure things when they weren't looking whenever possible so they didn't see me obsessing over each item on my plate.
- I loved how this plan put the focus on more veggies and fruits and less on starchy sides. Nothing was really forbidden, but it got me filling up with the right things first.
- A daily serving of peanut M&Ms (in the tiny orange cup) with 1 glass of wine kept me sane. It may have reduced the overall effects of the diet itself, but I still lost weight and was a much happier person.
- The meal plan highlighted what a rut our family was in for breakfasts. When I branched out from toast/waffles/cereal to yogurt smoothies and veggie + egg dishes, there were Many Many tears from the girls. I'm happy to say we did eventually discover some dishes that have stuck with our new routine.
- 90% of the time, the family ate exactly what I did except for lunches where more bread was involved for the kids in the form of sandwiches.
- The kids were not limited to the quantity of carbs, but they had to eat their protein and veggie before 2nd helpings of the pasta or rice.
- I took the kids with me grocery shopping to pick out our produce and we were all shocked when raw pea pods became a new favorite snack for them.
- I was super hungry and HAD to have snacks during the first part of the first week. By end of the introduction, a simple snack in the morning helped after my morning runs but I didn't require them in the afternoon as often.
One week of recipes for a 21 Day Fix meal plan for families:
- 1 red cup vanilla yogurt + 1 purple cup canned pineapple + 1 yellow cup granola
- 1 yellow cup steel cut oatmeal (maple brown sugar flavored) + 1 purple cup chopped apple
- ½ green cup sautéed peppers in olive oil + 3 scrambled eggs + ½ green cup fresh salsa + dollop of sour cream + 1 purple cup raspberries
- 1 red cup vanilla yogurt + 1 purple cup mixed berries + 1 yellow cup granola
- 1 yellow cup roasted sweet potatoes with ½ green cup chopped bell pepper & onion + 3 eggs scrambled + 1 orange cup shredded cheese + ½ green cup salsa + dollop of sour cream
- 2 green cups lettuce + 1 green cups mixed veg (corn, peppers, onions, tomatoes) + 1 red cup chicken + 1 tbsp dressing + ½ blue cup cheese
- 2 green cups lettuce + 2 red cups Asian filling (leftover from dinner meal below)
- 1 tortilla + 3 scrambled eggs in olive oil + sliced onions & garlic + ½ green cup chopped fresh tomatoes + ½ blue cup shredded cheese
- 2 green cups lettuce + 1 red cup torn up roast beef (2 slices) + ½ green cup tomatoes + 1 shredded carrot + 1 yellow cup of tortilla strips + 2 tbsp sour cream veggie dip as dressing
- 2 green cups lettuce + baby carrots + 1 red cup roast beef + red wine vinegar dressing
- 2 green cups lettuce + 1 red cup of pork tenderloin + 1 purple cup of blood oranges + ½ green cup of pea pods + 1 orange cup of dressing
- Monday: Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- 2 red cups Asian filling + 1 yellow cup rice + 1 green cup lettuce
- Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas
- 2 red cups chopped fajita chicken + 2 green cups grilled onions & peppers & fresh tomato + 1 blue cup sour cream + 2 tortillas
- Wednesday: Lemon Mustard Chicken with pasta
- 1 red cup sliced lemon mustard chicken + 2 green cups lettuce + 1 tbsp dressing + 2 yellow cups olive oil noodles
- Thursday: Turkey bolognese over pasta
- 1 red cup Trader Joe's turkey bolognese + 1 yellow cup of noodles
- Friday: Homemade flatbread pizzas
- 1 store bought flatbread + 1 blue cup tomato sauce + 1 blue cup cheese + ½ red cup of turkey pepperoni
- Saturday: Grilled pork tenderloin with steamed broccolini and roasted sweet and spicy sweet potatoes
- 2 red cups pork tenderloin + 1 yellow cup sweet potatoes + 1 green cup of broccolini with lemon dressing
- Sunday: Buffalo chicken with blue cheese roasted potatoes
- 1 red cup bbq seasoned (dry rub, not sauce) chicken + 2 yellow cups roasted red potatoes with garlic + 1 blue cup of blue cheese + green onions, celery, 1 orange cup of buffalo sauce
- Pink lady apple + 1 wedge Laughing Cow Cheese
- 1 cheese stick
- 1 green cup baby carrots & fresh cherry tomatoes + ½ blue cup of sour cream dip
- Pink lady apple + 1 orange cup cajun nuts
- 1 orange cup of Peanut M&Ms
- 1 glass of wine equals 1 yellow cup (only ONCE per day)
- water, water, water
- Diet Coke
- Tea or coffee if you prefer
If you're looking for a good way to reset your family's eating habits, I really do recommend the 21 Day Fix. You can order your own set of colored measuring cups and introduction to the full plan right here.