Last month I entered the Herfamily.ie healthy living challenge competition on a whim, I really didn’t think we’d get picked to take part but we did and here we are with just a couple days left of our five-week challenge, and I couldn’t be more proud of our little family. We’ve kicked our bad habits and we’ve become healthier overall once again.
There have been some massive healthy living challenge changes…
- I used to drive everywhere, even to the local shopping centre that’s less than a ten-minute walk. And since week two of the challenge, I’m marching up and down the road with the buggy and my brood. We’re walking everywhere now. I do be bolloxed now in fairness but it’s a great little workout especially pushing two and carrying one.
- I’ve stopped buying the bribes, goodbye custard creams and bourbons. No, seriously, I have not bought a biscuit since starting the challenge. We’ve been snacking on healthy alternatives like homemade banana muffins and raisins. It took a bit of getting used to but they now get their biscuit fix only when they go to nana’s.
- Every morning before we started this challenge the kids ate a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast and now, the kid didn’t know what happened them. I’m making smoothies, banana pancakes, fruit salads, eggy bread, quinoa pancake type muffin things and porridge with loads of fruit. It does take a little more time but it’s all for the better, I’m even preparing little mango puddings and overnight oats for Joe and I. Go me!
- I’ve started meal planning. And why I never did it before is beyond me. I find I’m not stuck in a rut trying to pick what we’re having for dinner ten minutes after dinner was supposed to be on. Everyone gets to choose something they’d like to see on the weekly menu too so there’s fewer arguments over dinner time and more eating.
- We’ve swapped all our white goods like bread, rice and pasta for whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice and we’ve even cut down on the mash. We used to have mash with almost every dinner and now it’s every second meal, sometimes third. Not forgetting our beloved potato waffles. In the past five weeks, the kids have only had them twice. Bible.
- Thanks to the weekly vouchers, I’ve invested in some new pots, pans, a waffle maker and a Nutrition Mixer. They’ve all in some way contributed to our healthy eating. It took me sometimes to perfect a waffle recipe the kids would eat but an egg, a banana and porridge seem to go down a treat and they are so quick to make.
- I’m watching everyone’s water, salt and sugar intake too. I was never any good at reading labels prior to this challenge and I’m literally shocked at the amount of hidden sugar found in some foods and drinks. Nothing goes in my trolley now without a scan of the ingredients
- I would have baked with the kids a good bit, well with the big kid anyway and we’ve started using maple syrup over sugar in our recipes and being honest there hasn’t been a huge change in the taste.
- Joe used to take 4-6 slices of white bread, 2 packets of crisps and a load of bars to fill his sweet tooth while at work. Since week two of the challenge, he dropped a packet of the crisps and all the chocolate in favour of fruit. And all his bread is whole grain. In fact, we have not bought a slice of white bread since starting the challenge and do you know what? We don’t miss it either. He also brings caesar and prawn salads to work every other day, something his mother didn’t even believe when I told first her, lol. And while I’m talking about Joe, since day two of the challenge he went cold turkey and quit his vapour cigarette. He’s been a bit ratty and some days irrational but I’m so proud of him for kicking the habit.
- We use to eat out and order in once a week and we’ve decided to cut that down to one or the other. I’m hoping to put away the extra €30 so we can head down the country for a couple nights during the summer.
- I’ve managed to cut down to two coffees a day, something I never thought would happen. I’ve swapped it in favour of fruit teas, mostly the peach and raspberry. I swear to god you should try it, it’s yum!
- And most of all the biggest change throughout this challenge is me. I’m the one who prepares and cooks all the meals in the house and it was my bad habits that had us eating the way we did. In my application for this challenge I said I would like to change the way we eat, become healthier as a family but also we needed to be able to do this on a budget. I have a €80-€100 budget to get a full weeks shopping and to be completely honest I didn’t think that was achievable.
Today I did our final #lidlhealthhacks healthy living shop and the total was €97. It included nappies and wipes for the toddler (the girls are in cloth), dog food, washing powder, cleaning products, meat for six days, milk for the week and there was even room for a little jigsaw. There were no convenience foods in my trolley this evening, nor has there been the past five weeks. So without a doubt, I have achieved what I set out to do with this challenge. There’s still a few more changes to be made and new foods to be introduced but in five weeks I’ve more energy, the kids are sleeping better at night, we’ve lost a few inches in the process (I’m now back in pre pregnancy jeans) and not forgetting the motivation to get up and out. This healthy living certainly isn’t over for us. So a huge thanks to Lidl and HerFamily.ie for picking us to be apart of this challenge!
See our challenge update HERE and some of the recipes I used throughout our healthy living challenge HERE.