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  • Writer's pictureTraci Hiebert

A Meaningful Menu

It's January and I am writing this to hold myself accountable. When I first read about minimalism in 2013, I was energized and began decluttering immediately. I edited my clothes, the area under the kitchen sink, the linen closet and eventually our basement storage. It took time, like three years of time, from first pass to overall organized home. It felt SO good! My home was efficient, useful and beautiful.

Two years ago I got the wild idea to begin editing our food choices. It was the final frontier for me but my family wasn't as excited. I started following 100 Days of Real Food ( I made homemade granola for breakfast, refried beans in my crock pot, and baked whole chickens. I evaluated the foods we were eating, chose whole ingredients, labeled containers and re-organized cupboards. It's seemed like a win.

Then my husband informed me that he didn't really like granola for breakfast, my daughter told me she didn't like refried beans and over time it took the wind out of my sails. And yes, I am an all or nothing girl. So, I started purchasing processed foods they liked. In addition, I experienced an employment change that found me busier than before with very little structure. Our food choices went down hill. We ate out multiple times a week and I found potato chips in the cupboard and ice cream in the freezer. I am the sole shopper in our household and I knew this was on me. The struggle was real and was proving to be harder than I thought.

With the start of 2019, the reality of this two-year, unmet goal felt like defeat. I had a choice, give up entirely or try again and I hadn't decided yet. A couple of weeks ago I was telling my friend about my struggle and opening my cupboards and showing her the plethora of unhealthy foods in our cupboards only to realize that it wasn't as bad as I thought. It dawned on me that we had made some improvements. It wasn't the change I had hoped for but there were wins.

1. I learned that my family loves meat. As long as there are healthy meats in the fridge they are happy.

2. I stopped buying cereal. My daughter prefers hamburgers for breakfast.

3. We cook meals mostly from scratch three to four nights a week with leftovers for a couple of nights and eat out once a week.

With renewed focus, I plan to use that momentum and continue my efforts to edit our foods. I believe foods are like many things in our homes. We have more than we need or can manage. The multitude of choices is overwhelming. So I will reduce the number of choices and still provide my family healthy and delicious meals from whole food sources.

1. With my family's input, I will reduce the overall condiments in our fridge. Seriously guys, they fill half of our fridge.

2. I will focus on stocking our pantry and fridge with our family's favorite cuisines: Mexican, Italian and American.

3. And overall, my husband and I are both working on portion size.

This process made me realize that the same steps I use with my clients work for me. The first step was a fresh perspective. In this case, seeing my kitchen and cupboards through her eyes was just what I needed. Then I created smaller, actionable items. The first step is simple and quantifiable. Step two will result in a list of items to keep stocked in our kitchen. The last step, will require practice. It is more difficult to evaluate, but I expect that if we can routinely eat reasonable portion sizes, we will see positive results. It is a small step that will take us in a healthier direction. And for accountability, I will report back at the end of the year.

PS - My home is not perfectly organized. We have not one, but two golden retrievers that are indoor friends. The hair alone keeps me humble. In addition, our lives change just like yours. It is a continual process to recognize the areas of our life that are no longer working then edit and re-design them to function once again.

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