Children and the Wild Diet – how to avoid having to prepare more than one dinner for the family

By: Quinton de Bruin

A few years back I was working with a team in a large insurance company. The manager arranged a planning session in Auckland which was over a day and a half with the last half set aside for a team building activity. The venue for this activity was on Nelson Street and was one of those kitchens that resemble a Master Chef setup. There was excitement from some and anticipation from others as the teams were created and the smack talk started. I was quietly confident that we had this challenge in the bag, not because I thought of myself as a chef but because I had the ability to make a meal out of next to nothing in the fridge or pantry, and I had been cooking meals with real enjoyment since I was about 11 years old (not particularly adventurous at that stage I must add). When the instructions were delivered and the cover over the food items was removed to expose the table with a large selection of beautifully coloured foods – a number of meat options, fresh vegetables, herbs, oils, cheeses and butters. There was a rush by a runner from each of the four teams – grabbing items, making decisions on the spot as to what would be cooked. Adding to the pressure was the timer, set with a 60-minute countdown. With major disappointment I realised that I had nothing – under the pressure I could not come up with a meal! It was a big fall back to reality and a fair amount of swallowing of words mixed with pride.

I would imagine if your house is anything like mine, when you have finished a busy work day, kids sports, gym and the kids need to be fed, a bit like the cooking challenge above you either draw a blank or you scramble for something that is quick and easy. Somehow, we make this work and end up with a meal on the table and the family provide the approval feedback or in some cases (I know I am not alone in this) "I don't like mince / herbs / lettuce / tomatoes" …. And this list goes on.

All the above to one side for a minute. One morning, for no apparent reason, you look and decide that the person in the mirror starring back at you is a slightly larger version of the person you expected to see (I distinctly remember a few years back now when I had ballooned out to 128kgs – ouch – looking in the mirror while saying out loud, who the "f-bomb" are you??!) At that moment you would move a mountain with your conviction and motivation to change what you see, but by dinner time you are sitting at your place at the table starring at a meal on your plate which – although family friendly – isn't serving you in getting closer to your goal you set that morning. You convince yourself that this you will just need to reduce your portion sizes because this is what the family want. Oh with an attitude like that, you too will blow out to 128kgs!

So what do you do? Well for me it was about becoming informed. I did not know how to cook health foods. I did not know enough about what makes up a good diet. I did a bit of study and invested that time. We also went out and bought 2 cookbooks base on Paleo recipes. You can find so much online these days, there is no need to buy books if you don't want to. I just like having one open in the kitchen, makes me feel cultured haha.

You will be surprised how quickly you get into the groove and gain an understanding of your new found knowledge. We love zucchini noodles, but I'll make 2-minute noodles for my son or if we are having broccoli or cauliflower rice I'll make some normal rice for him. The rest of the meal he will eat. This wouldn't happen in every meal either, it surprising how many food types kids eat when they are prepared differently so it is more about planning and knowing what you will be making. It is a habit and your family will support you. Aiming to make drastic changes without letting your family in to support you will only lead to frustration and losing sight of the goal.

I however didn't use much of that fantastic advice today, I was not very organised at all. The day started off quit normally with a 6.30 session of shoulders, legs and abs and a bit of low intensity cardio on the Cybex. Breakfast was one of boiled eggs tossed into a salad along with fish. The rest of the day in terms of the challenge was a bit downhill really. I didn't make lunch for myself and on the way to Auckland I grabbed biltong (a bit like beef jerky) as a snack, which became lunch along with a flat white coffee. I flew down to Nelson and after an afternoon of meetings, joined the guys in the pub for a couple of beers (3 to be precise). I did manage to keep that damage to a minimum though as I was saved by a friend who took me for an hour long walk to the top of "the centre of New Zealand". When you are away from home you realise how challenging it is to keep on track. The room service menu was good and dinner was a Classic Caesar salad with chicken breast.

I find it quite ironic and amusing that we spoke in yesterday's article about how one would respond when you fall off the wagon. Fortunately, this is not the first time I've slipped up and surely will not be the last. Tomorrow I am back on the horse, I have even arranged a pass into a local gym so that I can kick into a day in Nelson with the first win of the day under my belt before 7am.

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk


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