I didn’t think I was a particularly organized person – and I still don’t. But after surviving my third move of the year, I realized that while daydreaming/creative thinking is still my natural bent, I had developed routines in my cooking that allowed us to keep life going and put meals on the table in an enjoyable way.
Well, let me tell you, a lot has gone on this last year and there have been times when our routines got very disrupted. Like when we moved this last time. We are still in the process of unpacking, and developing a new routine yet again.
With all of the disruption to our routine, I’ve realized a few things.
You Don’t Need to be an Expert
First, you don’t have to be an organizational guru to have solid routines. I like to talk about having “flexible routines”. There are still routines you can have, without them being iron clad. For those of us who aren’t bent to be organizational, the flexible routines can help you be organized enough to get done what needs to be done, without feeling the pressure of keeping a perfect schedule.
Want to Eat Healthy? Have a Routine
Secondly, routines are important when you want to put well-balanced meals on the table. It’s something that is obvious, I know, but I really felt how very important this obvious truth was with our three moves this year. Eating well doesn’t happen by accident, and when our lives became too hectic or disruptive, healthy habits were easy to lose. This week as I started cooking in my new (though small) kitchen, we all took a collective breath and enjoyed our simple meals again. Now I am pondering our new flexible routine, for we are in a new place with new needs and older children too.
New habits start at least 21 days to develop, much longer for harder habits, but re-starting old habits come faster, I think. I’m considering forming habits around more free time to give us space to breath as well as habits like making homemade snacks for my kids. Some of the things I’d like to incorporate into our routine make take some time and patience, but others are so rewarding that you want to keep them up. One of the things my doctor had me start was daily smoothies – I’ve always loved homemade smoothies, and so it’s been a fairly easy habit to incorporate each day.
Other parts of our routine may take more time to develop. And that’s okay.
Sometimes it is too Hard
The third thing I learned is that sometimes healthy eating seems too hard because it is too hard when life is very hectic. It does take time and effort, and when all of your time and effort is elsewhere (like moving and working on a new house) healthy eating can take a hit. I think it’s okay to let things slide for a couple weeks, or even a couple months when life is especially busy. But long term, I know my family doesn’t thrive or feel well unless I am feeding them well. And right now, the AIP diet seems to be where I need to stay (or at least, close to it). So for us, that means creating a lifestyle that gives us space and time to put effort into our meals.
It doesn’t mean that I have to spend all day in the kitchen (we’d never eat well if that were the case!), but it does mean that I need to create a flexible routine that gives us the time and stability to keep good food on the table. The goal is not to allow the busyness of life to make eating healthy impossible or unreachable, or simply stressful to maintain.
And so, as I continue to unpack boxes into the cute little house we bought, I daydream about future plans for the yard while I restart our routines.
What routines have helped you keep a healthy diet on the table?
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